Thursday, November 8, 2007


The Beasts of Tarzan By Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Beasts of Tarzan
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
To Joan Burroughs
1 Kidnapped . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2 Marooned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
3 Beasts at Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
4 Sheeta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
5 Mugambi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
6 A Hideous Crew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
7 Betrayed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
8 The Dance of Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
9 Chivalry or Villainy . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
10 The Swede . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
11 Tambudza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
12 A Black Scoundrel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
13 Escape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
14 Alone in the Jungle . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
15 Down the Ugambi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
16 In the Darkness of the Night . . . . . . . . 132
17 On the Deck of the "Kincaid" . . . . . . . . 140
18 Paulvitch Plots Revenge . . . . . . . . . . . 147
19 The Last of the "Kincaid" . . . . . . . . . . 158
20 Jungle Island Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
21 The Law of the Jungle . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Chapter 1
"The entire affair is shrouded in mystery," said D'Arnot. "I have
it on the best of authority that neither the police nor the special
agents of the general staff have the faintest conception of how it
was accomplished. All they know, all that anyone knows, is that
Nikolas Rokoff has escaped."
John Clayton, Lord Greystoke--he who had been "Tarzan of the
Apes"--sat in silence in the apartments of his friend, Lieutenant
Paul D'Arnot, in Paris, gazing meditatively at the toe of his
immaculate boot.
His mind revolved many memories, recalled by the escape of his
arch-enemy from the French military prison to which he had been
sentenced for life upon the testimony of the ape-man.
He thought of the lengths to which Rokoff had once gone to compass
his death, and he realized that what the man had already done would
doubtless be as nothing by comparison with what he would wish and
plot to do now that he was again free.
Tarzan had recently brought his wife and infant son to London to
escape the discomforts and dangers of the rainy season upon their
vast estate in Uziri--the land of the savage Waziri warriors whose
broad African domains the ape-man had once ruled.
He had run across the Channel for a brief visit with his old friend,
but the news of the Russian's escape had already cast a shadow upon
his outing, so that though he had but just arrived he was already
contemplating an immediate return to London.
"It is not that I fear for myself, Paul," he said at last. "Many
times in the past have I thwarted Rokoff's designs upon my life;
but now there are others to consider. Unless I misjudge the man,
he would more quickly strike at me through my wife or son than
directly at me, for he doubtless realizes that in no other way
could he inflict greater anguish upon me. I must go back to them
at once, and remain with them until Rokoff is recaptured--or dead."
As these two talked in Paris, two other men were talking together
in a little cottage upon the outskirts of London. Both were dark,
sinister-looking men.
One was bearded, but the other, whose face wore the pallor of long
confinement within doors, had but a few days' growth of black beard
upon his face. It was he who was speaking.
"You must needs shave off that beard of yours, Alexis," he said
to his companion. "With it he would recognize you on the instant.
We must separate here in the hour, and when we meet again upon the
deck of the Kincaid, let us hope that we shall have with us two
honoured guests who little anticipate the pleasant voyage we have
planned for them.
"In two hours I should be upon my way to Dover with one of them,
and by tomorrow night, if you follow my instructions carefully, you
should arrive with the other, provided, of course, that he returns
to London as quickly as I presume he will.
"There should be both profit and pleasure as well as other good things
to reward our efforts, my dear Alexis. Thanks to the stupidity of
the French, they have gone to such lengths to conceal the fact of
my escape for these many days that I have had ample opportunity
to work out every detail of our little adventure so carefully that
there is little chance of the slightest hitch occurring to mar our
prospects. And now good-bye, and good luck!"
Three hours later a messenger mounted the steps to the apartment
of Lieutenant D'Arnot.
"A telegram for Lord Greystoke," he said to the servant who answered
his summons. "Is he here?"
The man answered in the affirmative, and, signing for the message,
carried it within to Tarzan, who was already preparing to depart
for London.
Tarzan tore open the envelope, and as he read his face went white.
"Read it, Paul," he said, handing the slip of paper to D'Arnot.
"It has come already."
The Frenchman took the telegram and read:
"Jack stolen from the garden through complicity of new servant.
Come at once.--JANE."
As Tarzan leaped from the roadster that had met him at the station
and ran up the steps to his London town house he was met at the
door by a dry-eyed but almost frantic woman.
Quickly Jane Porter Clayton narrated all that she had been able to
learn of the theft of the boy.
The baby's nurse had been wheeling him in the sunshine on the walk
before the house when a closed taxicab drew up at the corner of the
street. The woman had paid but passing attention to the vehicle,
merely noting that it discharged no passenger, but stood at the
kerb with the motor running as though waiting for a fare from the
residence before which it had stopped.
Almost immediately the new houseman, Carl, had come running from
the Greystoke house, saying that the girl's mistress wished to
speak with her for a moment, and that she was to leave little Jack
in his care until she returned.
The woman said that she entertained not the slightest suspicion of
the man's motives until she had reached the doorway of the house,
when it occurred to her to warn him not to turn the carriage so as
to permit the sun to shine in the baby's eyes.
As she turned about to call this to him she was somewhat surprised
to see that he was wheeling the carriage rapidly toward the corner,
and at the same time she saw the door of the taxicab open and a
swarthy face framed for a moment in the aperture.
Intuitively, the danger to the child flashed upon her, and with a
shriek she dashed down the steps and up the walk toward the taxicab,
into which Carl was now handing the baby to the swarthy one within.
Just before she reached the vehicle, Carl leaped in beside his
confederate, slamming the door behind him. At the same time the
chauffeur attempted to start his machine, but it was evident that
something had gone wrong, as though the gears refused to mesh, and
the delay caused by this, while he pushed the lever into reverse
and backed the car a few inches before again attempting to go ahead,
gave the nurse time to reach the side of the taxicab.
Leaping to the running-board, she had attempted to snatch the baby
from the arms of the stranger, and here, screaming and fighting, she
had clung to her position even after the taxicab had got under way;
nor was it until the machine had passed the Greystoke residence at
good speed that Carl, with a heavy blow to her face, had succeeded
in knocking her to the pavement.
Her screams had attracted servants and members of the families
from residences near by, as well as from the Greystoke home. Lady
Greystoke had witnessed the girl's brave battle, and had herself
tried to reach the rapidly passing vehicle, but had been too late.
That was all that anyone knew, nor did Lady Greystoke dream of the
possible identity of the man at the bottom of the plot until her
husband told her of the escape of Nikolas Rokoff from the French
prison where they had hoped he was permanently confined.
As Tarzan and his wife stood planning the wisest course to pursue,
the telephone bell rang in the library at their right. Tarzan
quickly answered the call in person.
"Lord Greystoke?" asked a man's voice at the other end of the line.
"Your son has been stolen," continued the voice, "and I alone may
help you to recover him. I am conversant with the plot of those
who took him. In fact, I was a party to it, and was to share in
the reward, but now they are trying to ditch me, and to be quits
with them I will aid you to recover him on condition that you will
not prosecute me for my part in the crime. What do you say?"
"If you lead me to where my son is hidden," replied the ape-man,
"you need fear nothing from me."
"Good," replied the other. "But you must come alone to meet me,
for it is enough that I must trust you. I cannot take the chance
of permitting others to learn my identity."
"Where and when may I meet you?" asked Tarzan.
The other gave the name and location of a public-house on the
water-front at Dover--a place frequented by sailors.
"Come," he concluded, "about ten o'clock tonight. It would do
no good to arrive earlier. Your son will be safe enough in the
meantime, and I can then lead you secretly to where he is hidden.
But be sure to come alone, and under no circumstances notify Scotland
Yard, for I know you well and shall be watching for you.
"Should any other accompany you, or should I see suspicious characters
who might be agents of the police, I shall not meet you, and your
last chance of recovering your son will be gone."
Without more words the man rang off.
Tarzan repeated the gist of the conversation to his wife. She
begged to be allowed to accompany him, but he insisted that it
might result in the man's carrying out his threat of refusing to
aid them if Tarzan did not come alone, and so they parted, he to
hasten to Dover, and she, ostensibly to wait at home until he should
notify her of the outcome of his mission.
Little did either dream of what both were destined to pass through
before they should meet again, or the far-distant--but why anticipate?
For ten minutes after the ape-man had left her Jane Clayton walked
restlessly back and forth across the silken rugs of the library.
Her mother heart ached, bereft of its firstborn. Her mind was in
an anguish of hopes and fears.
Though her judgment told her that all would be well were her Tarzan
to go alone in accordance with the mysterious stranger's summons,
her intuition would not permit her to lay aside suspicion of the
gravest dangers to both her husband and her son.
The more she thought of the matter, the more convinced she became
that the recent telephone message might be but a ruse to keep them
inactive until the boy was safely hidden away or spirited out of
England. Or it might be that it had been simply a bait to lure
Tarzan into the hands of the implacable Rokoff.
With the lodgment of this thought she stopped in wide-eyed terror.
Instantly it became a conviction. She glanced at the great clock
ticking the minutes in the corner of the library.
It was too late to catch the Dover train that Tarzan was to take.
There was another, later, however, that would bring her to the
Channel port in time to reach the address the stranger had given
her husband before the appointed hour.
Summoning her maid and chauffeur, she issued instructions rapidly.
Ten minutes later she was being whisked through the crowded streets
toward the railway station.
It was nine-forty-five that night that Tarzan entered the squalid
"pub" on the water-front in Dover. As he passed into the evil-smelling
room a muffled figure brushed past him toward the street.
"Come, my lord!" whispered the stranger.
The ape-man wheeled about and followed the other into the ill-lit
alley, which custom had dignified with the title of thoroughfare.
Once outside, the fellow led the way into the darkness, nearer a
wharf, where high-piled bales, boxes, and casks cast dense shadows.
Here he halted.
"Where is the boy?" asked Greystoke.
"On that small steamer whose lights you can just see yonder,"
replied the other.
In the gloom Tarzan was trying to peer into the features of his
companion, but he did not recognize the man as one whom he had ever
before seen. Had he guessed that his guide was Alexis Paulvitch
he would have realized that naught but treachery lay in the man's
heart, and that danger lurked in the path of every move.
"He is unguarded now," continued the Russian. "Those who took
him feel perfectly safe from detection, and with the exception of
a couple of members of the crew, whom I have furnished with enough
gin to silence them effectually for hours, there is none aboard
the Kincaid. We can go aboard, get the child, and return without
the slightest fear."
Tarzan nodded.
"Let's be about it, then," he said.
His guide led him to a small boat moored alongside the wharf. The
two men entered, and Paulvitch pulled rapidly toward the steamer.
The black smoke issuing from her funnel did not at the time make
any suggestion to Tarzan's mind. All his thoughts were occupied
with the hope that in a few moments he would again have his little
son in his arms.
At the steamer's side they found a monkey-ladder dangling close
above them, and up this the two men crept stealthily. Once on
deck they hastened aft to where the Russian pointed to a hatch.
"The boy is hidden there," he said. "You had better go down after
him, as there is less chance that he will cry in fright than should
he find himself in the arms of a stranger. I will stand on guard
So anxious was Tarzan to rescue the child that he gave not the
slightest thought to the strangeness of all the conditions surrounding
the Kincaid. That her deck was deserted, though she had steam up,
and from the volume of smoke pouring from her funnel was all ready
to get under way made no impression upon him.
With the thought that in another instant he would fold that precious
little bundle of humanity in his arms, the ape-man swung down into
the darkness below. Scarcely had he released his hold upon the edge
of the hatch than the heavy covering fell clattering above him.
Instantly he knew that he was the victim of a plot, and that far
from rescuing his son he had himself fallen into the hands of his
enemies. Though he immediately endeavoured to reach the hatch and
lift the cover, he was unable to do so.
Striking a match, he explored his surroundings, finding that a little
compartment had been partitioned off from the main hold, with the
hatch above his head the only means of ingress or egress. It was
evident that the room had been prepared for the very purpose of
serving as a cell for himself.
There was nothing in the compartment, and no other occupant. If
the child was on board the Kincaid he was confined elsewhere.
For over twenty years, from infancy to manhood, the ape-man had
roamed his savage jungle haunts without human companionship of
any nature. He had learned at the most impressionable period of
his life to take his pleasures and his sorrows as the beasts take
So it was that he neither raved nor stormed against fate, but instead
waited patiently for what might next befall him, though not by any
means without an eye to doing the utmost to succour himself. To
this end he examined his prison carefully, tested the heavy planking
that formed its walls, and measured the distance of the hatch above
And while he was thus occupied there came suddenly to him the
vibration of machinery and the throbbing of the propeller.
The ship was moving! Where to and to what fate was it carrying
And even as these thoughts passed through his mind there came to
his ears above the din of the engines that which caused him to go
cold with apprehension.
Clear and shrill from the deck above him rang the scream of a
frightened woman.
Chapter 2
As Tarzan and his guide had disappeared into the shadows upon the
dark wharf the figure of a heavily veiled woman had hurried down
the narrow alley to the entrance of the drinking-place the two men
had just quitted.
Here she paused and looked about, and then as though satisfied that
she had at last reached the place she sought, she pushed bravely
into the interior of the vile den.
A score of half-drunken sailors and wharf-rats looked up at the
unaccustomed sight of a richly gowned woman in their midst. Rapidly
she approached the slovenly barmaid who stared half in envy, half
in hate, at her more fortunate sister.
"Have you seen a tall, well-dressed man here, but a minute since,"
she asked, "who met another and went away with him?"
The girl answered in the affirmative, but could not tell which way
the two had gone. A sailor who had approached to listen to the
conversation vouchsafed the information that a moment before as he
had been about to enter the "pub" he had seen two men leaving it
who walked toward the wharf.
"Show me the direction they went," cried the woman, slipping a coin
into the man's hand.
The fellow led her from the place, and together they walked quickly
toward the wharf and along it until across the water they saw a
small boat just pulling into the shadows of a nearby steamer.
"There they be," whispered the man.
"Ten pounds if you will find a boat and row me to that steamer,"
cried the woman.
"Quick, then," he replied, "for we gotta go it if we're goin' to
catch the Kincaid afore she sails. She's had steam up for three
hours an' jest been a-waitin' fer that one passenger. I was
a-talkin' to one of her crew 'arf an hour ago."
As he spoke he led the way to the end of the wharf where he knew
another boat lay moored, and, lowering the woman into it, he jumped
in after and pushed off. The two were soon scudding over the water.
At the steamer's side the man demanded his pay and, without
waiting to count out the exact amount, the woman thrust a handful
of bank-notes into his outstretched hand. A single glance at them
convinced the fellow that he had been more than well paid. Then he
assisted her up the ladder, holding his skiff close to the ship's
side against the chance that this profitable passenger might wish
to be taken ashore later.
But presently the sound of the donkey engine and the rattle of
a steel cable on the hoisting-drum proclaimed the fact that the
Kincaid's anchor was being raised, and a moment later the waiter
heard the propellers revolving, and slowly the little steamer moved
away from him out into the channel.
As he turned to row back to shore he heard a woman's shriek from
the ship's deck.
"That's wot I calls rotten luck," he soliloquized. "I might jest
as well of 'ad the whole bloomin' wad."
When Jane Clayton climbed to the deck of the Kincaid she found the
ship apparently deserted. There was no sign of those she sought
nor of any other aboard, and so she went about her search for her
husband and the child she hoped against hope to find there without
Quickly she hastened to the cabin, which was half above and half
below deck. As she hurried down the short companion-ladder into
the main cabin, on either side of which were the smaller rooms
occupied by the officers, she failed to note the quick closing of
one of the doors before her. She passed the full length of the
main room, and then retracing her steps stopped before each door
to listen, furtively trying each latch.
All was silence, utter silence there, in which the throbbing of
her own frightened heart seemed to her overwrought imagination to
fill the ship with its thunderous alarm.
One by one the doors opened before her touch, only to reveal empty
interiors. In her absorption she did not note the sudden activity
upon the vessel, the purring of the engines, the throbbing of the
propeller. She had reached the last door upon the right now, and
as she pushed it open she was seized from within by a powerful,
dark-visaged man, and drawn hastily into the stuffy, ill-smelling
The sudden shock of fright which the unexpected attack had upon
her drew a single piercing scream from her throat; then the man
clapped a hand roughly over the mouth.
"Not until we are farther from land, my dear," he said. "Then
you may yell your pretty head off."
Lady Greystoke turned to look into the leering, bearded face so
close to hers. The man relaxed the pressure of his fingers upon
her lips, and with a little moan of terror as she recognized him
the girl shrank away from her captor.
"Nikolas Rokoff! M. Thuran!" she exclaimed.
"Your devoted admirer," replied the Russian, with a low bow.
"My little boy," she said next, ignoring the terms of endearment--"where
is he? Let me have him. How could you be so cruel--even as you--Nikolas
Rokoff--cannot be entirely devoid of mercy and compassion? Tell
me where he is. Is he aboard this ship? Oh, please, if such a
thing as a heart beats within your breast, take me to my baby!"
"If you do as you are bid no harm will befall him," replied Rokoff.
"But remember that it is your own fault that you are here. You
came aboard voluntarily, and you may take the consequences. I
little thought," he added to himself, "that any such good luck as
this would come to me."
He went on deck then, locking the cabin-door upon his prisoner,
and for several days she did not see him. The truth of the matter
being that Nikolas Rokoff was so poor a sailor that the heavy seas
the Kincaid encountered from the very beginning of her voyage sent
the Russian to his berth with a bad attack of sea-sickness.
During this time her only visitor was an uncouth Swede, the Kincaid's
unsavoury cook, who brought her meals to her. His name was Sven
Anderssen, his one pride being that his patronymic was spelt with
a double "s."
The man was tall and raw-boned, with a long yellow moustache, an
unwholesome complexion, and filthy nails. The very sight of him
with one grimy thumb buried deep in the lukewarm stew, that seemed,
from the frequency of its repetition, to constitute the pride of
his culinary art, was sufficient to take away the girl's appetite.
His small, blue, close-set eyes never met hers squarely. There
was a shiftiness of his whole appearance that even found expression
in the cat-like manner of his gait, and to it all a sinister suggestion
was added by the long slim knife that always rested at his waist,
slipped through the greasy cord that supported his soiled apron.
Ostensibly it was but an implement of his calling; but the girl
could never free herself of the conviction that it would require
less provocation to witness it put to other and less harmless uses.
His manner toward her was surly, yet she never failed to meet him
with a pleasant smile and a word of thanks when he brought her
food to her, though more often than not she hurled the bulk of it
through the tiny cabin port the moment that the door closed behind
During the days of anguish that followed Jane Clayton's imprisonment,
but two questions were uppermost in her mind--the whereabouts of her
husband and her son. She fully believed that the baby was aboard
the Kincaid, provided that he still lived, but whether Tarzan had
been permitted to live after having been lured aboard the evil
craft she could not guess.
She knew, of course, the deep hatred that the Russian felt for the
Englishman, and she could think of but one reason for having him
brought aboard the ship--to dispatch him in comparative safety in
revenge for his having thwarted Rokoff's pet schemes, and for having
been at last the means of landing him in a French prison.
Tarzan, on his part, lay in the darkness of his cell, ignorant of
the fact that his wife was a prisoner in the cabin almost above
his head.
The same Swede that served Jane brought his meals to him, but,
though on several occasions Tarzan had tried to draw the man into
conversation, he had been unsuccessful. He had hoped to learn
through this fellow whether his little son was aboard the Kincaid,
but to every question upon this or kindred subjects the fellow
returned but one reply, "Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard."
So after several attempts Tarzan gave it up.
For weeks that seemed months to the two prisoners the little steamer
forged on they knew not where. Once the Kincaid stopped to coal,
only immediately to take up the seemingly interminable voyage.
Rokoff had visited Jane Clayton but once since he had locked her
in the tiny cabin. He had come gaunt and hollow-eyed from a long
siege of sea-sickness. The object of his visit was to obtain from
her her personal cheque for a large sum in return for a guarantee
of her personal safety and return to England.
"When you set me down safely in any civilized port, together with
my son and my husband," she replied, "I will pay you in gold twice
the amount you ask; but until then you shall not have a cent, nor
the promise of a cent under any other conditions."
"You will give me the cheque I ask," he replied with a snarl, "or
neither you nor your child nor your husband will ever again set
foot within any port, civilized or otherwise."
"I would not trust you," she replied. "What guarantee have I that
you would not take my money and then do as you pleased with me and
mine regardless of your promise?"
"I think you will do as I bid," he said, turning to leave the
cabin. "Remember that I have your son--if you chance to hear the
agonized wail of a tortured child it may console you to reflect
that it is because of your stubbornness that the baby suffers--and
that it is your baby."
"You would not do it!" cried the girl. "You would not--could not
be so fiendishly cruel!"
"It is not I that am cruel, but you," he returned, "for you permit
a paltry sum of money to stand between your baby and immunity from
The end of it was that Jane Clayton wrote out a cheque of large
denomination and handed it to Nikolas Rokoff, who left her cabin
with a grin of satisfaction upon his lips.
The following day the hatch was removed from Tarzan's cell, and as
he looked up he saw Paulvitch's head framed in the square of light
above him.
"Come up," commanded the Russian. "But bear in mind that you will
be shot if you make a single move to attack me or any other aboard
the ship."
The ape-man swung himself lightly to the deck. About him, but at
a respectful distance, stood a half-dozen sailors armed with rifles
and revolvers. Facing him was Paulvitch.
Tarzan looked about for Rokoff, who he felt sure must be aboard,
but there was no sign of him.
"Lord Greystoke," commenced the Russian, "by your continued and
wanton interference with M. Rokoff and his plans you have at last
brought yourself and your family to this unfortunate extremity.
You have only yourself to thank. As you may imagine, it has cost
M. Rokoff a large amount of money to finance this expedition,
and, as you are the sole cause of it, he naturally looks to you
for reimbursement.
"Further, I may say that only by meeting M. Rokoff's just demands
may you avert the most unpleasant consequences to your wife and
child, and at the same time retain your own life and regain your
"What is the amount?" asked Tarzan. "And what assurance have I
that you will live up to your end of the agreement? I have little
reason to trust two such scoundrels as you and Rokoff, you know."
The Russian flushed.
"You are in no position to deliver insults," he said. "You have
no assurance that we will live up to our agreement other than my
word, but you have before you the assurance that we can make short
work of you if you do not write out the cheque we demand.
"Unless you are a greater fool than I imagine, you should know
that there is nothing that would give us greater pleasure than to
order these men to fire. That we do not is because we have other
plans for punishing you that would be entirely upset by your death."
"Answer one question," said Tarzan. "Is my son on board this ship?"
"No," replied Alexis Paulvitch, "your son is quite safe elsewhere;
nor will he be killed until you refuse to accede to our fair demands.
If it becomes necessary to kill you, there will be no reason for
not killing the child, since with you gone the one whom we wish to
punish through the boy will be gone, and he will then be to us only
a constant source of danger and embarrassment. You see, therefore,
that you may only save the life of your son by saving your own,
and you can only save your own by giving us the cheque we ask."
"Very well," replied Tarzan, for he knew that he could trust them
to carry out any sinister threat that Paulvitch had made, and there
was a bare chance that by conceding their demands he might save
the boy.
That they would permit him to live after he had appended his name
to the cheque never occurred to him as being within the realms of
probability. But he was determined to give them such a battle as
they would never forget, and possibly to take Paulvitch with him
into eternity. He was only sorry that it was not Rokoff.
He took his pocket cheque-book and fountain-pen from his pocket.
"What is the amount?" he asked.
Paulvitch named an enormous sum. Tarzan could scarce restrain a
Their very cupidity was to prove the means of their undoing, in the
matter of the ransom at least. Purposely he hesitated and haggled
over the amount, but Paulvitch was obdurate. Finally the ape-man
wrote out his cheque for a larger sum than stood to his credit at
the bank.
As he turned to hand the worthless slip of paper to the Russian
his glance chanced to pass across the starboard bow of the Kincaid.
To his surprise he saw that the ship lay within a few hundred yards
of land. Almost down to the water's edge ran a dense tropical
jungle, and behind was higher land clothed in forest.
Paulvitch noted the direction of his gaze.
"You are to be set at liberty here," he said.
Tarzan's plan for immediate physical revenge upon the Russian
vanished. He thought the land before him the mainland of Africa,
and he knew that should they liberate him here he could doubtless
find his way to civilization with comparative ease.
Paulvitch took the cheque.
"Remove your clothing," he said to the ape-man. "Here you will
not need it."
Tarzan demurred.
Paulvitch pointed to the armed sailors. Then the Englishman slowly
divested himself of his clothing.
A boat was lowered, and, still heavily guarded, the ape-man was
rowed ashore. Half an hour later the sailors had returned to the
Kincaid, and the steamer was slowly getting under way.
As Tarzan stood upon the narrow strip of beach watching the departure
of the vessel he saw a figure appear at the rail and call aloud to
attract his attention.
The ape-man had been about to read a note that one of the sailors
had handed him as the small boat that bore him to the shore was
on the point of returning to the steamer, but at the hail from the
vessel's deck he looked up.
He saw a black-bearded man who laughed at him in derision as he
held high above his head the figure of a little child. Tarzan
half started as though to rush through the surf and strike out for
the already moving steamer; but realizing the futility of so rash
an act he halted at the water's edge.
Thus he stood, his gaze riveted upon the Kincaid until it disappeared
beyond a projecting promontory of the coast.
From the jungle at his back fierce bloodshot eyes glared from
beneath shaggy overhanging brows upon him.
Little monkeys in the tree-tops chattered and scolded, and from
the distance of the inland forest came the scream of a leopard.
But still John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, stood deaf and unseeing,
suffering the pangs of keen regret for the opportunity that he had
wasted because he had been so gullible as to place credence in a
single statement of the first lieutenant of his arch-enemy.
"I have at least," he thought, "one consolation--the knowledge that
Jane is safe in London. Thank Heaven she, too, did not fall into
the clutches of those villains."
Behind him the hairy thing whose evil eyes had been watching his
as a cat watches a mouse was creeping stealthily toward him.
Where were the trained senses of the savage ape-man?
Where the acute hearing?
Where the uncanny sense of scent?
Chapter 3
Beasts at Bay
Slowly Tarzan unfolded the note the sailor had thrust into
his hand, and read it. At first it made little impression on his
sorrow-numbed senses, but finally the full purport of the hideous
plot of revenge unfolded itself before his imagination.
"This will explain to you" [the note read] "the exact nature of my
intentions relative to your offspring and to you.
"You were born an ape. You lived naked in the jungles--to your
own we have returned you; but your son shall rise a step above his
sire. It is the immutable law of evolution.
"The father was a beast, but the son shall be a man--he shall take
the next ascending step in the scale of progress. He shall be no
naked beast of the jungle, but shall wear a loincloth and copper
anklets, and, perchance, a ring in his nose, for he is to be reared
by men--a tribe of savage cannibals.
"I might have killed you, but that would have curtailed the full
measure of the punishment you have earned at my hands.
"Dead, you could not have suffered in the knowledge of your son's
plight; but living and in a place from which you may not escape to
seek or succour your child, you shall suffer worse than death for
all the years of your life in contemplation of the horrors of your
son's existence.
"This, then, is to be a part of your punishment for having dared
to pit yourself against
N. R.
"P.S.--The balance of your punishment has to do with what shall
presently befall your wife--that I shall leave to your imagination."
As he finished reading, a slight sound behind him brought him back
with a start to the world of present realities.
Instantly his senses awoke, and he was again Tarzan of the Apes.
As he wheeled about, it was a beast at bay, vibrant with the instinct
of self-preservation, that faced a huge bull-ape that was already
charging down upon him.
The two years that had elapsed since Tarzan had come out of the
savage forest with his rescued mate had witnessed slight diminution
of the mighty powers that had made him the invincible lord of the
jungle. His great estates in Uziri had claimed much of his time
and attention, and there he had found ample field for the practical
use and retention of his almost superhuman powers; but naked and
unarmed to do battle with the shaggy, bull-necked beast that now
confronted him was a test that the ape-man would scarce have welcomed
at any period of his wild existence.
But there was no alternative other than to meet the rage-maddened
creature with the weapons with which nature had endowed him.
Over the bull's shoulder Tarzan could see now the heads and shoulders
of perhaps a dozen more of these mighty fore-runners of primitive
He knew, however, that there was little chance that they would attack
him, since it is not within the reasoning powers of the anthropoid
to be able to weigh or appreciate the value of concentrated action
against an enemy--otherwise they would long since have become
the dominant creatures of their haunts, so tremendous a power of
destruction lies in their mighty thews and savage fangs.
With a low snarl the beast now hurled himself at Tarzan, but the
ape-man had found, among other things in the haunts of civilized
man, certain methods of scientific warfare that are unknown to the
jungle folk.
Whereas, a few years since, he would have met the brute rush with
brute force, he now sidestepped his antagonist's headlong charge,
and as the brute hurtled past him swung a mighty right to the pit
of the ape's stomach.
With a howl of mingled rage and anguish the great anthropoid bent
double and sank to the ground, though almost instantly he was again
struggling to his feet.
Before he could regain them, however, his white-skinned foe had
wheeled and pounced upon him, and in the act there dropped from
the shoulders of the English lord the last shred of his superficial
mantle of civilization.
Once again he was the jungle beast revelling in bloody conflict
with his kind. Once again he was Tarzan, son of Kala the she-ape.
His strong, white teeth sank into the hairy throat of his enemy as
he sought the pulsing jugular.
Powerful fingers held the mighty fangs from his own flesh, or
clenched and beat with the power of a steam-hammer upon the snarling,
foam-flecked face of his adversary.
In a circle about them the balance of the tribe of apes stood
watching and enjoying the struggle. They muttered low gutturals
of approval as bits of white hide or hairy bloodstained skin were
torn from one contestant or the other. But they were silent in
amazement and expectation when they saw the mighty white ape wriggle
upon the back of their king, and, with steel muscles tensed beneath
the armpits of his antagonist, bear down mightily with his open
palms upon the back of the thick bullneck, so that the king ape
could but shriek in agony and flounder helplessly about upon the
thick mat of jungle grass.
As Tarzan had overcome the huge Terkoz that time years before when
he had been about to set out upon his quest for human beings of his
own kind and colour, so now he overcame this other great ape with
the same wrestling hold upon which he had stumbled by accident
during that other combat. The little audience of fierce anthropoids
heard the creaking of their king's neck mingling with his agonized
shrieks and hideous roaring.
Then there came a sudden crack, like the breaking of a stout limb
before the fury of the wind. The bullet-head crumpled forward
upon its flaccid neck against the great hairy chest--the roaring
and the shrieking ceased.
The little pig-eyes of the onlookers wandered from the still form
of their leader to that of the white ape that was rising to its
feet beside the vanquished, then back to their king as though in
wonder that he did not arise and slay this presumptuous stranger.
They saw the new-comer place a foot upon the neck of the quiet
figure at his feet and, throwing back his head, give vent to the
wild, uncanny challenge of the bull-ape that has made a kill. Then
they knew that their king was dead.
Across the jungle rolled the horrid notes of the victory cry.
The little monkeys in the tree-tops ceased their chattering. The
harsh-voiced, brilliant-plumed birds were still. From afar came
the answering wail of a leopard and the deep roar of a lion.
It was the old Tarzan who turned questioning eyes upon the little
knot of apes before him. It was the old Tarzan who shook his head
as though to toss back a heavy mane that had fallen before his
face--an old habit dating from the days that his great shock of
thick, black hair had fallen about his shoulders, and often tumbled
before his eyes when it had meant life or death to him to have his
vision unobstructed.
The ape-man knew that he might expect an immediate attack on the
part of that particular surviving bull-ape who felt himself best
fitted to contend for the kingship of the tribe. Among his own
apes he knew that it was not unusual for an entire stranger to
enter a community and, after having dispatched the king, assume the
leadership of the tribe himself, together with the fallen monarch's
On the other hand, if he made no attempt to follow them, they might
move slowly away from him, later to fight among themselves for the
supremacy. That he could be king of them, if he so chose, he was
confident; but he was not sure he cared to assume the sometimes
irksome duties of that position, for he could see no particular
advantage to be gained thereby.
One of the younger apes, a huge, splendidly muscled brute, was edging
threateningly closer to the ape-man. Through his bared fighting
fangs there issued a low, sullen growl.
Tarzan watched his every move, standing rigid as a statue. To
have fallen back a step would have been to precipitate an immediate
charge; to have rushed forward to meet the other might have had the
same result, or it might have put the bellicose one to flight--it
all depended upon the young bull's stock of courage.
To stand perfectly still, waiting, was the middle course. In this
event the bull would, according to custom, approach quite close to
the object of his attention, growling hideously and baring slavering
fangs. Slowly he would circle about the other, as though with a
chip upon his shoulder; and this he did, even as Tarzan had foreseen.
It might be a bluff royal, or, on the other hand, so unstable is
the mind of an ape, a passing impulse might hurl the hairy mass,
tearing and rending, upon the man without an instant's warning.
As the brute circled him Tarzan turned slowly, keeping his eyes
ever upon the eyes of his antagonist. He had appraised the young
bull as one who had never quite felt equal to the task of overthrowing
his former king, but who one day would have done so. Tarzan saw
that the beast was of wondrous proportions, standing over seven
feet upon his short, bowed legs.
His great, hairy arms reached almost to the ground even when he
stood erect, and his fighting fangs, now quite close to Tarzan's
face, were exceptionally long and sharp. Like the others of his
tribe, he differed in several minor essentials from the apes of
Tarzan's boyhood.
At first the ape-man had experienced a thrill of hope at sight of
the shaggy bodies of the anthropoids--a hope that by some strange
freak of fate he had been again returned to his own tribe; but a
closer inspection had convinced him that these were another species.
As the threatening bull continued his stiff and jerky circling of
the ape-man, much after the manner that you have noted among dogs
when a strange canine comes among them, it occurred to Tarzan to
discover if the language of his own tribe was identical with that
of this other family, and so he addressed the brute in the language
of the tribe of Kerchak.
"Who are you," he asked, "who threatens Tarzan of the Apes?"
The hairy brute looked his surprise.
"I am Akut," replied the other in the same simple, primal tongue
which is so low in the scale of spoken languages that, as Tarzan
had surmised, it was identical with that of the tribe in which the
first twenty years of his life had been spent.
"I am Akut," said the ape. "Molak is dead. I am king. Go away
or I shall kill you!"
"You saw how easily I killed Molak," replied Tarzan. "So I could
kill you if I cared to be king. But Tarzan of the Apes would not
be king of the tribe of Akut. All he wishes is to live in peace
in this country. Let us be friends. Tarzan of the Apes can help
you, and you can help Tarzan of the Apes."
"You cannot kill Akut," replied the other. "None is so great as
Akut. Had you not killed Molak, Akut would have done so, for Akut
was ready to be king."
For answer the ape-man hurled himself upon the great brute who
during the conversation had slightly relaxed his vigilance.
In the twinkling of an eye the man had seized the wrist of the
great ape, and before the other could grapple with him had whirled
him about and leaped upon his broad back.
Down they went together, but so well had Tarzan's plan worked out
that before ever they touched the ground he had gained the same
hold upon Akut that had broken Molak's neck.
Slowly he brought the pressure to bear, and then as in days gone
by he had given Kerchak the chance to surrender and live, so now
he gave to Akut--in whom he saw a possible ally of great strength
and resource--the option of living in amity with him or dying as
he had just seen his savage and heretofore invincible king die.
"Ka-Goda?" whispered Tarzan to the ape beneath him.
It was the same question that he had whispered to Kerchak, and in
the language of the apes it means, broadly, "Do you surrender?"
Akut thought of the creaking sound he had heard just before Molak's
thick neck had snapped, and he shuddered.
He hated to give up the kingship, though, so again he struggled
to free himself; but a sudden torturing pressure upon his vertebra
brought an agonized "ka-goda!" from his lips.
Tarzan relaxed his grip a trifle.
"You may still be king, Akut," he said. "Tarzan told you that he
did not wish to be king. If any question your right, Tarzan of
the Apes will help you in your battles."
The ape-man rose, and Akut came slowly to his feet. Shaking his
bullet head and growling angrily, he waddled toward his tribe,
looking first at one and then at another of the larger bulls who
might be expected to challenge his leadership.
But none did so; instead, they drew away as he approached, and
presently the whole pack moved off into the jungle, and Tarzan was
left alone once more upon the beach.
The ape-man was sore from the wounds that Molak had inflicted upon
him, but he was inured to physical suffering and endured it with
the calm and fortitude of the wild beasts that had taught him to
lead the jungle life after the manner of all those that are born
to it.
His first need, he realized, was for weapons of offence and defence,
for his encounter with the apes, and the distant notes of the savage
voices of Numa the lion, and Sheeta, the panther, warned him that
his was to be no life of indolent ease and security.
It was but a return to the old existence of constant bloodshed and
danger--to the hunting and the being hunted. Grim beasts would
stalk him, as they had stalked him in the past, and never would
there be a moment, by savage day or by cruel night, that he might
not have instant need of such crude weapons as he could fashion
from the materials at hand.
Upon the shore he found an out-cropping of brittle, igneous rock.
By dint of much labour he managed to chip off a narrow sliver some
twelve inches long by a quarter of an inch thick. One edge was
quite thin for a few inches near the tip. It was the rudiment of
a knife.
With it he went into the jungle, searching until he found a fallen
tree of a certain species of hardwood with which he was familiar.
From this he cut a small straight branch, which he pointed at one
Then he scooped a small, round hole in the surface of the prostrate
trunk. Into this he crumbled a few bits of dry bark, minutely
shredded, after which he inserted the tip of his pointed stick,
and, sitting astride the bole of the tree, spun the slender rod
rapidly between his palms.
After a time a thin smoke rose from the little mass of tinder, and
a moment later the whole broke into flame. Heaping some larger
twigs and sticks upon the tiny fire, Tarzan soon had quite a
respectable blaze roaring in the enlarging cavity of the dead tree.
Into this he thrust the blade of his stone knife, and as it became
superheated he would withdraw it, touching a spot near the thin
edge with a drop of moisture. Beneath the wetted area a little
flake of the glassy material would crack and scale away.
Thus, very slowly, the ape-man commenced the tedious operation of
putting a thin edge upon his primitive hunting-knife.
He did not attempt to accomplish the feat all in one sitting.
At first he was content to achieve a cutting edge of a couple of
inches, with which he cut a long, pliable bow, a handle for his
knife, a stout cudgel, and a goodly supply of arrows.
These he cached in a tall tree beside a little stream, and here also
he constructed a platform with a roof of palm-leaves above it.
When all these things had been finished it was growing dusk, and
Tarzan felt a strong desire to eat.
He had noted during the brief incursion he had made into the forest
that a short distance up-stream from his tree there was a much-used
watering place, where, from the trampled mud of either bank, it
was evident beasts of all sorts and in great numbers came to drink.
To this spot the hungry ape-man made his silent way.
Through the upper terrace of the tree-tops he swung with the grace
and ease of a monkey. But for the heavy burden upon his heart he
would have been happy in this return to the old free life of his
Yet even with that burden he fell into the little habits and
manners of his early life that were in reality more a part of him
than the thin veneer of civilization that the past three years of
his association with the white men of the outer world had spread
lightly over him--a veneer that only hid the crudities of the beast
that Tarzan of the Apes had been.
Could his fellow-peers of the House of Lords have seen him then
they would have held up their noble hands in holy horror.
Silently he crouched in the lower branches of a great forest giant
that overhung the trail, his keen eyes and sensitive ears strained
into the distant jungle, from which he knew his dinner would
presently emerge.
Nor had he long to wait.
Scarce had he settled himself to a comfortable position, his lithe,
muscular legs drawn well up beneath him as the panther draws his
hindquarters in preparation for the spring, than Bara, the deer,
came daintily down to drink.
But more than Bara was coming. Behind the graceful buck came another
which the deer could neither see nor scent, but whose movements were
apparent to Tarzan of the Apes because of the elevated position of
the ape-man's ambush.
He knew not yet exactly the nature of the thing that moved so
stealthily through the jungle a few hundred yards behind the deer;
but he was convinced that it was some great beast of prey stalking
Bara for the selfsame purpose as that which prompted him to await
the fleet animal. Numa, perhaps, or Sheeta, the panther.
In any event, Tarzan could see his repast slipping from his grasp
unless Bara moved more rapidly toward the ford than at present.
Even as these thoughts passed through his mind some noise of the
stalker in his rear must have come to the buck, for with a sudden
start he paused for an instant, trembling, in his tracks, and then
with a swift bound dashed straight for the river and Tarzan. It
was his intention to flee through the shallow ford and escape upon
the opposite side of the river.
Not a hundred yards behind him came Numa.
Tarzan could see him quite plainly now. Below the ape-man Bara
was about to pass. Could he do it? But even as he asked himself
the question the hungry man launched himself from his perch full
upon the back of the startled buck.
In another instant Numa would be upon them both, so if the ape-man
were to dine that night, or ever again, he must act quickly.
Scarcely had he touched the sleek hide of the deer with a momentum
that sent the animal to its knees than he had grasped a horn in
either hand, and with a single quick wrench twisted the animal's
neck completely round, until he felt the vertebrae snap beneath
his grip.
The lion was roaring in rage close behind him as he swung the deer
across his shoulder, and, grasping a foreleg between his strong
teeth, leaped for the nearest of the lower branches that swung
above his head.
With both hands he grasped the limb, and, at the instant that Numa
sprang, drew himself and his prey out of reach of the animal's
cruel talons.
There was a thud below him as the baffled cat fell back to earth,
and then Tarzan of the Apes, drawing his dinner farther up to the
safety of a higher limb, looked down with grinning face into the
gleaming yellow eyes of the other wild beast that glared up at him
from beneath, and with taunting insults flaunted the tender carcass
of his kill in the face of him whom he had cheated of it.
With his crude stone knife he cut a juicy steak from the hindquarters,
and while the great lion paced, growling, back and forth below him,
Lord Greystoke filled his savage belly, nor ever in the choicest
of his exclusive London clubs had a meal tasted more palatable.
The warm blood of his kill smeared his hands and face and filled
his nostrils with the scent that the savage carnivora love best.
And when he had finished he left the balance of the carcass in
a high fork of the tree where he had dined, and with Numa trailing
below him, still keen for revenge, he made his way back to his tree-top
shelter, where he slept until the sun was high the following morning.
Chapter 4
The next few days were occupied by Tarzan in completing his weapons
and exploring the jungle. He strung his bow with tendons from the
buck upon which he had dined his first evening upon the new shore,
and though he would have preferred the gut of Sheeta for the purpose,
he was content to wait until opportunity permitted him to kill one
of the great cats.
He also braided a long grass rope--such a rope as he had used so
many years before to tantalize the ill-natured Tublat, and which
later had developed into a wondrous effective weapon in the practised
hands of the little ape-boy.
A sheath and handle for his hunting-knife he fashioned, and a quiver
for arrows, and from the hide of Bara a belt and loin-cloth. Then
he set out to learn something of the strange land in which he found
himself. That it was not his old familiar west coast of the African
continent he knew from the fact that it faced east--the rising sun
came up out of the sea before the threshold of the jungle.
But that it was not the east coast of Africa he was equally positive,
for he felt satisfied that the Kincaid had not passed through the
Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and the Red Sea, nor had she had
time to round the Cape of Good Hope. So he was quite at a loss to
know where he might be.
Sometimes he wondered if the ship had crossed the broad Atlantic to
deposit him upon some wild South American shore; but the presence
of Numa, the lion, decided him that such could not be the case.
As Tarzan made his lonely way through the jungle paralleling the
shore, he felt strong upon him a desire for companionship, so that
gradually he commenced to regret that he had not cast his lot with
the apes. He had seen nothing of them since that first day, when
the influences of civilization were still paramount within him.
Now he was more nearly returned to the Tarzan of old, and though he
appreciated the fact that there could be little in common between
himself and the great anthropoids, still they were better than no
company at all.
Moving leisurely, sometimes upon the ground and again among
the lower branches of the trees, gathering an occasional fruit or
turning over a fallen log in search of the larger bugs, which he
still found as palatable as of old, Tarzan had covered a mile or
more when his attention was attracted by the scent of Sheeta up-wind
ahead of him.
Now Sheeta, the panther, was one of whom Tarzan was exceptionally
glad to fall in with, for he had it in mind not only to utilize
the great cat's strong gut for his bow, but also to fashion a new
quiver and loin-cloth from pieces of his hide. So, whereas the
ape-man had gone carelessly before, he now became the personification
of noiseless stealth.
Swiftly and silently he glided through the forest in the wake of
the savage cat, nor was the pursuer, for all his noble birth, one
whit less savage than the wild, fierce thing he stalked.
As he came closer to Sheeta he became aware that the panther on his
part was stalking game of his own, and even as he realized this
fact there came to his nostrils, wafted from his right by a vagrant
breeze, the strong odour of a company of great apes.
The panther had taken to a large tree as Tarzan came within sight
of him, and beyond and below him Tarzan saw the tribe of Akut
lolling in a little, natural clearing. Some of them were dozing
against the boles of trees, while others roamed about turning over
bits of bark from beneath which they transferred the luscious grubs
and beetles to their mouths.
Akut was the closest to Sheeta.
The great cat lay crouched upon a thick limb, hidden from the ape's
view by dense foliage, waiting patiently until the anthropoid should
come within range of his spring.
Tarzan cautiously gained a position in the same tree with the
panther and a little above him. In his left hand he grasped his
slim stone blade. He would have preferred to use his noose, but
the foliage surrounding the huge cat precluded the possibility of
an accurate throw with the rope.
Akut had now wandered quite close beneath the tree wherein lay the
waiting death. Sheeta slowly edged his hind paws along the branch
still further beneath him, and then with a hideous shriek he
launched himself toward the great ape. The barest fraction of a
second before his spring another beast of prey above him leaped,
its weird and savage cry mingling with his.
As the startled Akut looked up he saw the panther almost above him,
and already upon the panther's back the white ape that had bested
him that day near the great water.
The teeth of the ape-man were buried in the back of Sheeta's neck
and his right arm was round the fierce throat, while the left hand,
grasping a slender piece of stone, rose and fell in mighty blows
upon the panther's side behind the left shoulder.
Akut had just time to leap to one side to avoid being pinioned
beneath these battling monsters of the jungle.
With a crash they came to earth at his feet. Sheeta was screaming,
snarling, and roaring horribly; but the white ape clung tenaciously
and in silence to the thrashing body of his quarry.
Steadily and remorselessly the stone knife was driven home through
the glossy hide--time and again it drank deep, until with a final
agonized lunge and shriek the great feline rolled over upon its
side and, save for the spasmodic jerking of its muscles, lay quiet
and still in death.
Then the ape-man raised his head, as he stood over the carcass of
his kill, and once again through the jungle rang his wild and savage
victory challenge.
Akut and the apes of Akut stood looking in startled wonder at the
dead body of Sheeta and the lithe, straight figure of the man who
had slain him.
Tarzan was the first to speak.
He had saved Akut's life for a purpose, and, knowing the limitations
of the ape intellect, he also knew that he must make this purpose
plain to the anthropoid if it were to serve him in the way he hoped.
"I am Tarzan of the Apes," he said, "Mighty hunter. Mighty fighter.
By the great water I spared Akut's life when I might have taken it
and become king of the tribe of Akut. Now I have saved Akut from
death beneath the rending fangs of Sheeta.
"When Akut or the tribe of Akut is in danger, let them call to
Tarzan thus"--and the ape-man raised the hideous cry with which
the tribe of Kerchak had been wont to summon its absent members in
times of peril.
"And," he continued, "when they hear Tarzan call to them, let them
remember what he has done for Akut and come to him with great speed.
Shall it be as Tarzan says?"
"Huh!" assented Akut, and from the members of his tribe there rose
a unanimous "Huh."
Then, presently, they went to feeding again as though nothing had
happened, and with them fed John Clayton, Lord Greystoke.
He noticed, however, that Akut kept always close to him, and was
often looking at him with a strange wonder in his little bloodshot
eyes, and once he did a thing that Tarzan during all his long
years among the apes had never before seen an ape do--he found a
particularly tender morsel and handed it to Tarzan.
As the tribe hunted, the glistening body of the ape-man mingled
with the brown, shaggy hides of his companions. Oftentimes they
brushed together in passing, but the apes had already taken his
presence for granted, so that he was as much one of them as Akut
If he came too close to a she with a young baby, the former would
bare her great fighting fangs and growl ominously, and occasionally
a truculent young bull would snarl a warning if Tarzan approached
while the former was eating. But in those things the treatment
was no different from that which they accorded any other member of
the tribe.
Tarzan on his part felt very much at home with these fierce, hairy
progenitors of primitive man. He skipped nimbly out of reach of
each threatening female--for such is the way of apes, if they be
not in one of their occasional fits of bestial rage--and he growled
back at the truculent young bulls, baring his canine teeth even
as they. Thus easily he fell back into the way of his early life,
nor did it seem that he had ever tasted association with creatures
of his own kind.
For the better part of a week he roamed the jungle with his new
friends, partly because of a desire for companionship and partially
through a well-laid plan to impress himself indelibly upon their
memories, which at best are none too long; for Tarzan from past
experience knew that it might serve him in good stead to have a
tribe of these powerful and terrible beasts at his call.
When he was convinced that he had succeeded to some extent in fixing
his identity upon them he decided to again take up his exploration.
To this end he set out toward the north early one day, and, keeping
parallel with the shore, travelled rapidly until almost nightfall.
When the sun rose the next morning he saw that it lay almost directly
to his right as he stood upon the beach instead of straight out
across the water as heretofore, and so he reasoned that the shore
line had trended toward the west. All the second day he continued
his rapid course, and when Tarzan of the Apes sought speed, he
passed through the middle terrace of the forest with the rapidity
of a squirrel.
That night the sun set straight out across the water opposite the
land, and then the ape-man guessed at last the truth that he had
been suspecting.
Rokoff had set him ashore upon an island.
He might have known it! If there was any plan that would render
his position more harrowing he should have known that such would
be the one adopted by the Russian, and what could be more terrible
than to leave him to a lifetime of suspense upon an uninhabited
Rokoff doubtless had sailed directly to the mainland, where it
would be a comparatively easy thing for him to find the means of
delivering the infant Jack into the hands of the cruel and savage
foster-parents, who, as his note had threatened, would have the
upbringing of the child.
Tarzan shuddered as he thought of the cruel suffering the little
one must endure in such a life, even though he might fall into
the hands of individuals whose intentions toward him were of the
kindest. The ape-man had had sufficient experience with the lower
savages of Africa to know that even there may be found the cruder
virtues of charity and humanity; but their lives were at best but
a series of terrible privations, dangers, and sufferings.
Then there was the horrid after-fate that awaited the child as he
grew to manhood. The horrible practices that would form a part
of his life-training would alone be sufficient to bar him forever
from association with those of his own race and station in life.
A cannibal! His little boy a savage man-eater! It was too horrible
to contemplate.
The filed teeth, the slit nose, the little face painted hideously.
Tarzan groaned. Could he but feel the throat of the Russ fiend
beneath his steel fingers!
And Jane!
What tortures of doubt and fear and uncertainty she must be suffering.
He felt that his position was infinitely less terrible than hers,
for he at least knew that one of his loved ones was safe at home,
while she had no idea of the whereabouts of either her husband or
her son.
It is well for Tarzan that he did not guess the truth, for the
knowledge would have but added a hundredfold to his suffering.
As he moved slowly through the jungle his mind absorbed by his gloomy
thoughts, there presently came to his ears a strange scratching
sound which he could not translate.
Cautiously he moved in the direction from which it emanated,
presently coming upon a huge panther pinned beneath a fallen tree.
As Tarzan approached, the beast turned, snarling, toward him,
struggling to extricate itself; but one great limb across its back
and the smaller entangling branches pinioning its legs prevented
it from moving but a few inches in any direction.
The ape-man stood before the helpless cat fitting an arrow to his
bow that he might dispatch the beast that otherwise must die of
starvation; but even as he drew back the shaft a sudden whim stayed
his hand.
Why rob the poor creature of life and liberty, when it would be
so easy a thing to restore both to it! He was sure from the fact
that the panther moved all its limbs in its futile struggle for
freedom that its spine was uninjured, and for the same reason he
knew that none of its limbs were broken.
Relaxing his bowstring, he returned the arrow to the quiver and,
throwing the bow about his shoulder, stepped closer to the pinioned
On his lips was the soothing, purring sound that the great cats
themselves made when contented and happy. It was the nearest approach
to a friendly advance that Tarzan could make in the language of
The panther ceased his snarling and eyed the ape-man closely. To
lift the tree's great weight from the animal it was necessary to
come within reach of those long, strong talons, and when the tree
had been removed the man would be totally at the mercy of the savage
beast; but to Tarzan of the Apes fear was a thing unknown.
Having decided, he acted promptly.
Unhesitatingly, he stepped into the tangle of branches close to the
panther's side, still voicing his friendly and conciliatory purr.
The cat turned his head toward the man, eyeing him steadily--questioningly.
The long fangs were bared, but more in preparedness than threat.
Tarzan put a broad shoulder beneath the bole of the tree, and as
he did so his bare leg pressed against the cat's silken side, so
close was the man to the great beast.
Slowly Tarzan extended his giant thews.
The great tree with its entangling branches rose gradually from
the panther, who, feeling the encumbering weight diminish, quickly
crawled from beneath. Tarzan let the tree fall back to earth, and
the two beasts turned to look upon one another.
A grim smile lay upon the ape-man's lips, for he knew that he had
taken his life in his hands to free this savage jungle fellow; nor
would it have surprised him had the cat sprung upon him the instant
that it had been released.
But it did not do so. Instead, it stood a few paces from the tree
watching the ape-man clamber out of the maze of fallen branches.
Once outside, Tarzan was not three paces from the panther. He might
have taken to the higher branches of the trees upon the opposite
side, for Sheeta cannot climb to the heights to which the ape-man
can go; but something, a spirit of bravado perhaps, prompted him
to approach the panther as though to discover if any feeling of
gratitude would prompt the beast to friendliness.
As he approached the mighty cat the creature stepped warily to one
side, and the ape-man brushed past him within a foot of the dripping
jaws, and as he continued on through the forest the panther followed
on behind him, as a hound follows at heel.
For a long time Tarzan could not tell whether the beast was following
out of friendly feelings or merely stalking him against the time
he should be hungry; but finally he was forced to believe that the
former incentive it was that prompted the animal's action.
Later in the day the scent of a deer sent Tarzan into the trees,
and when he had dropped his noose about the animal's neck he called
to Sheeta, using a purr similar to that which he had utilized
to pacify the brute's suspicions earlier in the day, but a trifle
louder and more shrill.
It was similar to that which he had heard panthers use after a kill
when they had been hunting in pairs.
Almost immediately there was a crashing of the underbrush close at
hand, and the long, lithe body of his strange companion broke into
At sight of the body of Bara and the smell of blood the panther gave
forth a shrill scream, and a moment later two beasts were feeding
side by side upon the tender meat of the deer.
For several days this strangely assorted pair roamed the jungle
When one made a kill he called the other, and thus they fed well
and often.
On one occasion as they were dining upon the carcass of a boar that
Sheeta had dispatched, Numa, the lion, grim and terrible, broke
through the tangled grasses close beside them.
With an angry, warning roar he sprang forward to chase them from
their kill. Sheeta bounded into a near-by thicket, while Tarzan
took to the low branches of an overhanging tree.
Here the ape-man unloosed his grass rope from about his neck, and
as Numa stood above the body of the boar, challenging head erect,
he dropped the sinuous noose about the maned neck, drawing the
stout strands taut with a sudden jerk. At the same time he called
shrilly to Sheeta, as he drew the struggling lion upward until only
his hind feet touched the ground.
Quickly he made the rope fast to a stout branch, and as the panther,
in answer to his summons, leaped into sight, Tarzan dropped to the
earth beside the struggling and infuriated Numa, and with a long
sharp knife sprang upon him at one side even as Sheeta did upon
the other.
The panther tore and rent Numa upon the right, while the ape-man
struck home with his stone knife upon the other, so that before
the mighty clawing of the king of beasts had succeeded in parting
the rope he hung quite dead and harmless in the noose.
And then upon the jungle air there rose in unison from two savage
throats the victory cry of the bull-ape and the panther, blended
into one frightful and uncanny scream.
As the last notes died away in a long-drawn, fearsome wail, a score
of painted warriors, drawing their long war-canoe upon the beach,
halted to stare in the direction of the jungle and to listen.
Chapter 5
By the time that Tarzan had travelled entirely about the coast of
the island, and made several trips inland from various points, he
was sure that he was the only human being upon it.
Nowhere had he found any sign that men had stopped even temporarily
upon this shore, though, of course, he knew that so quickly does
the rank vegetation of the tropics erase all but the most permanent
of human monuments that he might be in error in his deductions.
The day following the killing of Numa, Tarzan and Sheeta came upon
the tribe of Akut. At sight of the panther the great apes took to
flight, but after a time Tarzan succeeded in recalling them.
It had occurred to him that it would be at least an interesting
experiment to attempt to reconcile these hereditary enemies. He
welcomed anything that would occupy his time and his mind beyond
the filling of his belly and the gloomy thoughts to which he fell
prey the moment that he became idle.
To communicate his plan to the apes was not a particularly difficult
matter, though their narrow and limited vocabulary was strained in
the effort; but to impress upon the little, wicked brain of Sheeta
that he was to hunt with and not for his legitimate prey proved a
task almost beyond the powers of the ape-man.
Tarzan, among his other weapons, possessed a long, stout cudgel,
and after fastening his rope about the panther's neck he used this
instrument freely upon the snarling beast, endeavouring in this
way to impress upon its memory that it must not attack the great,
shaggy manlike creatures that had approached more closely once they
had seen the purpose of the rope about Sheeta's neck.
That the cat did not turn and rend Tarzan is something of a miracle
which may possibly be accounted for by the fact that twice when
it turned growling upon the ape-man he had rapped it sharply upon
its sensitive nose, inculcating in its mind thereby a most wholesome
fear of the cudgel and the ape-beasts behind it.
It is a question if the original cause of his attachment for Tarzan
was still at all clear in the mind of the panther, though doubtless
some subconscious suggestion, superinduced by this primary reason
and aided and abetted by the habit of the past few days, did much
to compel the beast to tolerate treatment at his hands that would
have sent it at the throat of any other creature.
Then, too, there was the compelling force of the manmind exerting
its powerful influence over this creature of a lower order, and,
after all, it may have been this that proved the most potent factor
in Tarzan's supremacy over Sheeta and the other beasts of the jungle
that had from time to time fallen under his domination.
Be that as it may, for days the man, the panther, and the great
apes roamed their savage haunts side by side, making their kills
together and sharing them with one another, and of all the fierce
and savage band none was more terrible than the smooth-skinned,
powerful beast that had been but a few short months before a familiar
figure in many a London drawing room.
Sometimes the beasts separated to follow their own inclinations
for an hour or a day, and it was upon one of these occasions when
the ape-man had wandered through the tree-tops toward the beach,
and was stretched in the hot sun upon the sand, that from the low
summit of a near-by promontory a pair of keen eyes discovered him.
For a moment the owner of the eyes looked in astonishment at the
figure of the savage white man basking in the rays of that hot,
tropic sun; then he turned, making a sign to some one behind him.
Presently another pair of eyes were looking down upon the ape-man,
and then another and another, until a full score of hideously
trapped, savage warriors were lying upon their bellies along the
crest of the ridge watching the white-skinned stranger.
They were down wind from Tarzan, and so their scent was not carried
to him, and as his back was turned half toward them he did not see
their cautious advance over the edge of the promontory and down
through the rank grass toward the sandy beach where he lay.
Big fellows they were, all of them, their barbaric headdresses and
grotesquely painted faces, together with their many metal ornaments
and gorgeously coloured feathers, adding to their wild, fierce
Once at the foot of the ridge, they came cautiously to their feet,
and, bent half-double, advanced silently upon the unconscious white
man, their heavy war-clubs swinging menacingly in their brawny
The mental suffering that Tarzan's sorrowful thoughts induced had
the effect of numbing his keen, perceptive faculties, so that the
advancing savages were almost upon him before he became aware that
he was no longer alone upon the beach.
So quickly, though, were his mind and muscles wont to react in
unison to the slightest alarm that he was upon his feet and facing
his enemies, even as he realized that something was behind him. As
he sprang to his feet the warriors leaped toward him with raised
clubs and savage yells, but the foremost went down to sudden death
beneath the long, stout stick of the ape-man, and then the lithe,
sinewy figure was among them, striking right and left with a fury,
power, and precision that brought panic to the ranks of the blacks.
For a moment they withdrew, those that were left of them, and
consulted together at a short distance from the ape-man, who stood
with folded arms, a half-smile upon his handsome face, watching
them. Presently they advanced upon him once more, this time wielding
their heavy war-spears. They were between Tarzan and the jungle,
in a little semicircle that closed in upon him as they advanced.
There seemed to the ape-man but slight chance to escape the final
charge when all the great spears should be hurled simultaneously
at him; but if he had desired to escape there was no way other than
through the ranks of the savages except the open sea behind him.
His predicament was indeed most serious when an idea occurred to
him that altered his smile to a broad grin. The warriors were
still some little distance away, advancing slowly, making, after
the manner of their kind, a frightful din with their savage yells
and the pounding of their naked feet upon the ground as they leaped
up and down in a fantastic war dance.
Then it was that the ape-man lifted his voice in a series of wild,
weird screams that brought the blacks to a sudden, perplexed halt.
They looked at one another questioningly, for here was a sound
so hideous that their own frightful din faded into insignificance
beside it. No human throat could have formed those bestial notes,
they were sure, and yet with their own eyes they had seen this
white man open his mouth to pour forth his awful cry.
But only for a moment they hesitated, and then with one accord they
again took up their fantastic advance upon their prey; but even
then a sudden crashing in the jungle behind them brought them once
more to a halt, and as they turned to look in the direction of this
new noise there broke upon their startled visions a sight that may
well have frozen the blood of braver men than the Wagambi.
Leaping from the tangled vegetation of the jungle's rim came a
huge panther, with blazing eyes and bared fangs, and in his wake
a score of mighty, shaggy apes lumbering rapidly toward them,
half erect upon their short, bowed legs, and with their long arms
reaching to the ground, where their horny knuckles bore the weight
of their ponderous bodies as they lurched from side to side in
their grotesque advance.
The beasts of Tarzan had come in answer to his call.
Before the Wagambi could recover from their astonishment the frightful
horde was upon them from one side and Tarzan of the Apes from the
other. Heavy spears were hurled and mighty war-clubs wielded, and
though apes went down never to rise, so, too, went down the men of
Sheeta's cruel fangs and tearing talons ripped and tore at the black
hides. Akut's mighty yellow tusks found the jugular of more than
one sleek-skinned savage, and Tarzan of the Apes was here and there
and everywhere, urging on his fierce allies and taking a heavy toll
with his long, slim knife.
In a moment the blacks had scattered for their lives, but of the
score that had crept down the grassy sides of the promontory only
a single warrior managed to escape the horde that had overwhelmed
his people.
This one was Mugambi, chief of the Wagambi of Ugambi, and as he
disappeared in the tangled luxuriousness of the rank growth upon the
ridge's summit only the keen eyes of the ape-man saw the direction
of his flight.
Leaving his pack to eat their fill upon the flesh of their
victims--flesh that he could not touch--Tarzan of the Apes pursued
the single survivor of the bloody fray. Just beyond the ridge he
came within sight of the fleeing black, making with headlong leaps
for a long war-canoe that was drawn well up upon the beach above
the high tide surf.
Noiseless as the fellow's shadow, the ape-man raced after the
terror-stricken black. In the white man's mind was a new plan,
awakened by sight of the war-canoe. If these men had come to his
island from another, or from the mainland, why not utilize their
craft to make his way to the country from which they had come?
Evidently it was an inhabited country, and no doubt had occasional
intercourse with the mainland, if it were not itself upon the
continent of Africa.
A heavy hand fell upon the shoulder of the escaping Mugambi before
he was aware that he was being pursued, and as he turned to do
battle with his assailant giant fingers closed about his wrists
and he was hurled to earth with a giant astride him before he could
strike a blow in his own defence.
In the language of the West Coast, Tarzan spoke to the prostrate
man beneath him.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"Mugambi, chief of the Wagambi," replied the black.
"I will spare your life," said Tarzan, "if you will promise to help
me to leave this island. What do you answer?"
"I will help you," replied Mugambi. "But now that you have killed
all my warriors, I do not know that even I can leave your country,
for there will be none to wield the paddles, and without paddlers
we cannot cross the water."
Tarzan rose and allowed his prisoner to come to his feet. The
fellow was a magnificent specimen of manhood--a black counterpart
in physique of the splendid white man whom he faced.
"Come!" said the ape-man, and started back in the direction from
which they could hear the snarling and growling of the feasting
pack. Mugambi drew back.
"They will kill us," he said.
"I think not," replied Tarzan. "They are mine."
Still the black hesitated, fearful of the consequences of approaching
the terrible creatures that were dining upon the bodies of his
warriors; but Tarzan forced him to accompany him, and presently the
two emerged from the jungle in full view of the grisly spectacle
upon the beach. At sight of the men the beasts looked up with
menacing growls, but Tarzan strode in among them, dragging the
trembling Wagambi with him.
As he had taught the apes to accept Sheeta, so he taught them
to adopt Mugambi as well, and much more easily; but Sheeta seemed
quite unable to understand that though he had been called upon to
devour Mugambi's warriors he was not to be allowed to proceed after
the same fashion with Mugambi. However, being well filled, he
contented himself with walking round the terror-stricken savage,
emitting low, menacing growls the while he kept his flaming, baleful
eyes riveted upon the black.
Mugambi, on his part, clung closely to Tarzan, so that the ape-man
could scarce control his laughter at the pitiable condition to which
the chief's fear had reduced him; but at length the white took the
great cat by the scruff of the neck and, dragging it quite close
to the Wagambi, slapped it sharply upon the nose each time that it
growled at the stranger.
At the sight of the thing--a man mauling with his bare hands one of
the most relentless and fierce of the jungle carnivora--Mugambi's
eyes bulged from their sockets, and from entertaining a sullen respect
for the giant white man who had made him prisoner, the black felt
an almost worshipping awe of Tarzan.
The education of Sheeta progressed so well that in a short time
Mugambi ceased to be the object of his hungry attention, and the
black felt a degree more of safety in his society.
To say that Mugambi was entirely happy or at ease in his new
environment would not be to adhere strictly to the truth. His
eyes were constantly rolling apprehensively from side to side as
now one and now another of the fierce pack chanced to wander near
him, so that for the most of the time it was principally the whites
that showed.
Together Tarzan and Mugambi, with Sheeta and Akut, lay in wait at
the ford for a deer, and when at a word from the ape-man the four
of them leaped out upon the affrighted animal the black was sure
that the poor creature died of fright before ever one of the great
beasts touched it.
Mugambi built a fire and cooked his portion of the kill; but Tarzan,
Sheeta, and Akut tore theirs, raw, with their sharp teeth, growling
among themselves when one ventured to encroach upon the share of
It was not, after all, strange that the white man's ways should
have been so much more nearly related to those of the beasts than
were the savage blacks. We are, all of us, creatures of habit,
and when the seeming necessity for schooling ourselves in new ways
ceases to exist, we fall naturally and easily into the manners and
customs which long usage has implanted ineradicably within us.
Mugambi from childhood had eaten no meat until it had been cooked,
while Tarzan, on the other hand, had never tasted cooked food of
any sort until he had grown almost to manhood, and only within the
past three or four years had he eaten cooked meat. Not only did
the habit of a lifetime prompt him to eat it raw, but the craving
of his palate as well; for to him cooked flesh was spoiled flesh
when compared with the rich and juicy meat of a fresh, hot kill.
That he could, with relish, eat raw meat that had been buried by
himself weeks before, and enjoy small rodents and disgusting grubs,
seems to us who have been always "civilized" a revolting fact; but
had we learned in childhood to eat these things, and had we seen
all those about us eat them, they would seem no more sickening to
us now than do many of our greatest dainties, at which a savage
African cannibal would look with repugnance and turn up his nose.
For instance, there is a tribe in the vicinity of Lake Rudolph that
will eat no sheep or cattle, though its next neighbors do so. Near
by is another tribe that eats donkey-meat--a custom most revolting
to the surrounding tribes that do not eat donkey. So who may say
that it is nice to eat snails and frogs' legs and oysters, but
disgusting to feed upon grubs and beetles, or that a raw oyster,
hoof, horns, and tail, is less revolting than the sweet, clean meat
of a fresh-killed buck?
The next few days Tarzan devoted to the weaving of a barkcloth sail
with which to equip the canoe, for he despaired of being able to
teach the apes to wield the paddles, though he did manage to get
several of them to embark in the frail craft which he and Mugambi
paddled about inside the reef where the water was quite smooth.
During these trips he had placed paddles in their hands, when
they attempted to imitate the movements of him and Mugambi, but so
difficult is it for them long to concentrate upon a thing that he
soon saw that it would require weeks of patient training before they
would be able to make any effective use of these new implements,
if, in fact, they should ever do so.
There was one exception, however, and he was Akut. Almost from
the first he showed an interest in this new sport that revealed a
much higher plane of intelligence than that attained by any of his
tribe. He seemed to grasp the purpose of the paddles, and when
Tarzan saw that this was so he took much pains to explain in the
meagre language of the anthropoid how they might be used to the
best advantage.
From Mugambi Tarzan learned that the mainland lay but a short distance
from the island. It seemed that the Wagambi warriors had ventured
too far out in their frail craft, and when caught by a heavy tide
and a high wind from offshore they had been driven out of sight of
land. After paddling for a whole night, thinking that they were
headed for home, they had seen this land at sunrise, and, still
taking it for the mainland, had hailed it with joy, nor had Mugambi
been aware that it was an island until Tarzan had told him that
this was the fact.
The Wagambi chief was quite dubious as to the sail, for he had
never seen such a contrivance used. His country lay far up the
broad Ugambi River, and this was the first occasion that any of
his people had found their way to the ocean.
Tarzan, however, was confident that with a good west wind he
could navigate the little craft to the mainland. At any rate, he
decided, it would be preferable to perish on the way than to remain
indefinitely upon this evidently uncharted island to which no ships
might ever be expected to come.
And so it was that when the first fair wind rose he embarked upon
his cruise, and with him he took as strange and fearsome a crew as
ever sailed under a savage master.
Mugambi and Akut went with him, and Sheeta, the panther, and a
dozen great males of the tribe of Akut.
Chapter 6
A Hideous Crew
The war-canoe with its savage load moved slowly toward the break in
the reef through which it must pass to gain the open sea. Tarzan,
Mugambi, and Akut wielded the paddles, for the shore kept the west
wind from the little sail.
Sheeta crouched in the bow at the ape-man's feet, for it had
seemed best to Tarzan always to keep the wicked beast as far from
the other members of the party as possible, since it would require
little or no provocation to send him at the throat of any than the
white man, whom he evidently now looked upon as his master.
In the stern was Mugambi, and just in front of him squatted Akut,
while between Akut and Tarzan the twelve hairy apes sat upon their
haunches, blinking dubiously this way and that, and now and then
turning their eyes longingly back toward shore.
All went well until the canoe had passed beyond the reef. Here
the breeze struck the sail, sending the rude craft lunging among
the waves that ran higher and higher as they drew away from the
With the tossing of the boat the apes became panic-stricken.
They first moved uneasily about, and then commenced grumbling and
whining. With difficulty Akut kept them in hand for a time; but
when a particularly large wave struck the dugout simultaneously
with a little squall of wind their terror broke all bounds, and,
leaping to their feet, they all but overturned the boat before Akut
and Tarzan together could quiet them. At last calm was restored,
and eventually the apes became accustomed to the strange antics of
their craft, after which no more trouble was experienced with them.
The trip was uneventful, the wind held, and after ten hours'
steady sailing the black shadows of the coast loomed close before
the straining eyes of the ape-man in the bow. It was far too dark
to distinguish whether they had approached close to the mouth of
the Ugambi or not, so Tarzan ran in through the surf at the closest
point to await the dawn.
The dugout turned broadside the instant that its nose touched the
sand, and immediately it rolled over, with all its crew scrambling
madly for the shore. The next breaker rolled them over and over,
but eventually they all succeeded in crawling to safety, and in a
moment more their ungainly craft had been washed up beside them.
The balance of the night the apes sat huddled close to one another
for warmth; while Mugambi built a fire close to them over which he
crouched. Tarzan and Sheeta, however, were of a different mind,
for neither of them feared the jungle night, and the insistent
craving of their hunger sent them off into the Stygian blackness
of the forest in search of prey.
Side by side they walked when there was room for two abreast.
At other times in single file, first one and then the other in
advance. It was Tarzan who first caught the scent of meat--a bull
buffalo--and presently the two came stealthily upon the sleeping
beast in the midst of a dense jungle of reeds close to a river.
Closer and closer they crept toward the unsuspecting beast, Sheeta
upon his right side and Tarzan upon his left nearest the great
heart. They had hunted together now for some time, so that they
worked in unison, with only low, purring sounds as signals.
For a moment they lay quite silent near their prey, and then at a
sign from the ape-man Sheeta sprang upon the great back, burying
his strong teeth in the bull's neck. Instantly the brute sprang
to his feet with a bellow of pain and rage, and at the same instant
Tarzan rushed in upon his left side with the stone knife, striking
repeatedly behind the shoulder.
One of the ape-man's hands clutched the thick mane, and as the
bull raced madly through the reeds the thing striking at his life
was dragged beside him. Sheeta but clung tenaciously to his hold
upon the neck and back, biting deep in an effort to reach the spine.
For several hundred yards the bellowing bull carried his two savage
antagonists, until at last the blade found his heart, when with a
final bellow that was half-scream he plunged headlong to the earth.
Then Tarzan and Sheeta feasted to repletion.
After the meal the two curled up together in a thicket, the man's
black head pillowed upon the tawny side of the panther. Shortly
after dawn they awoke and ate again, and then returned to the beach
that Tarzan might lead the balance of the pack to the kill.
When the meal was done the brutes were for curling up to sleep, so
Tarzan and Mugambi set off in search of the Ugambi River. They had
proceeded scarce a hundred yards when they came suddenly upon a
broad stream, which the Negro instantly recognized as that down which
he and his warriors had paddled to the sea upon their ill-starred
The two now followed the stream down to the ocean, finding that it
emptied into a bay not over a mile from the point upon the beach
at which the canoe had been thrown the night before.
Tarzan was much elated by the discovery, as he knew that in the
vicinity of a large watercourse he should find natives, and from
some of these he had little doubt but that he should obtain news
of Rokoff and the child, for he felt reasonably certain that the
Russian would rid himself of the baby as quickly as possible after
having disposed of Tarzan.
He and Mugambi now righted and launched the dugout, though it was a
most difficult feat in the face of the surf which rolled continuously
in upon the beach; but at last they were successful, and soon after
were paddling up the coast toward the mouth of the Ugambi. Here
they experienced considerable difficulty in making an entrance
against the combined current and ebb tide, but by taking advantage
of eddies close in to shore they came about dusk to a point nearly
opposite the spot where they had left the pack asleep.
Making the craft fast to an overhanging bough, the two made their
way into the jungle, presently coming upon some of the apes feeding
upon fruit a little beyond the reeds where the buffalo had fallen.
Sheeta was not anywhere to be seen, nor did he return that night,
so that Tarzan came to believe that he had wandered away in search
of his own kind.
Early the next morning the ape-man led his band down to the
river, and as he walked he gave vent to a series of shrill cries.
Presently from a great distance and faintly there came an answering
scream, and a half-hour later the lithe form of Sheeta bounded into
view where the others of the pack were clambering gingerly into
the canoe.
The great beast, with arched back and purring like a contented tabby,
rubbed his sides against the ape-man, and then at a word from the
latter sprang lightly to his former place in the bow of the dugout.
When all were in place it was discovered that two of the apes of
Akut were missing, and though both the king ape and Tarzan called
to them for the better part of an hour, there was no response, and
finally the boat put off without them. As it happened that the
two missing ones were the very same who had evinced the least desire
to accompany the expedition from the island, and had suffered the
most from fright during the voyage, Tarzan was quite sure that they
had absented themselves purposely rather than again enter the canoe.
As the party were putting in for the shore shortly after noon to
search for food a slender, naked savage watched them for a moment
from behind the dense screen of verdure which lined the river's
bank, then he melted away up-stream before any of those in the
canoe discovered him.
Like a deer he bounded along the narrow trail until, filled with
the excitement of his news, he burst into a native village several
miles above the point at which Tarzan and his pack had stopped to
"Another white man is coming!" he cried to the chief who squatted
before the entrance to his circular hut. "Another white man, and
with him are many warriors. They come in a great war-canoe to
kill and rob as did the black-bearded one who has just left us."
Kaviri leaped to his feet. He had but recently had a taste of the
white man's medicine, and his savage heart was filled with bitterness
and hate. In another moment the rumble of the war-drums rose from
the village, calling in the hunters from the forest and the tillers
from the fields.
Seven war-canoes were launched and manned by paint-daubed, befeathered
warriors. Long spears bristled from the rude battle-ships, as they
slid noiselessly over the bosom of the water, propelled by giant
muscles rolling beneath glistening, ebony hides.
There was no beating of tom-toms now, nor blare of native horn,
for Kaviri was a crafty warrior, and it was in his mind to take
no chances, if they could be avoided. He would swoop noiselessly
down with his seven canoes upon the single one of the white man,
and before the guns of the latter could inflict much damage upon
his people he would have overwhelmed the enemy by force of numbers.
Kaviri's own canoe went in advance of the others a short distance,
and as it rounded a sharp bend in the river where the swift current
bore it rapidly on its way it came suddenly upon the thing that
Kaviri sought.
So close were the two canoes to one another that the black had only
an opportunity to note the white face in the bow of the oncoming
craft before the two touched and his own men were upon their feet,
yelling like mad devils and thrusting their long spears at the
occupants of the other canoe.
But a moment later, when Kaviri was able to realize the nature of
the crew that manned the white man's dugout, he would have given
all the beads and iron wire that he possessed to have been safely
within his distant village. Scarcely had the two craft come together
than the frightful apes of Akut rose, growling and barking, from the
bottom of the canoe, and, with long, hairy arms far outstretched,
grasped the menacing spears from the hands of Kaviri's warriors.
The blacks were overcome with terror, but there was nothing to do
other than to fight. Now came the other war-canoes rapidly down
upon the two craft. Their occupants were eager to join the battle,
for they thought that their foes were white men and their native
They swarmed about Tarzan's craft; but when they saw the nature of
the enemy all but one turned and paddled swiftly upriver. That
one came too close to the ape-man's craft before its occupants
realized that their fellows were pitted against demons instead
of men. As it touched Tarzan spoke a few low words to Sheeta and
Akut, so that before the attacking warriors could draw away there
sprang upon them with a blood-freezing scream a huge panther, and
into the other end of their canoe clambered a great ape.
At one end the panther wrought fearful havoc with his mighty talons
and long, sharp fangs, while Akut at the other buried his yellow
canines in the necks of those that came within his reach, hurling
the terror-stricken blacks overboard as he made his way toward the
centre of the canoe.
Kaviri was so busily engaged with the demons that had entered his
own craft that he could offer no assistance to his warriors in the
other. A giant of a white devil had wrested his spear from him as
though he, the mighty Kaviri, had been but a new-born babe. Hairy
monsters were overcoming his fighting men, and a black chieftain
like himself was fighting shoulder to shoulder with the hideous
pack that opposed him.
Kaviri battled bravely against his antagonist, for he felt that
death had already claimed him, and so the least that he could do
would be to sell his life as dearly as possible; but it was soon
evident that his best was quite futile when pitted against the
superhuman brawn and agility of the creature that at last found
his throat and bent him back into the bottom of the canoe.
Presently Kaviri's head began to whirl--objects became confused
and dim before his eyes--there was a great pain in his chest as
he struggled for the breath of life that the thing upon him was
shutting off for ever. Then he lost consciousness.
When he opened his eyes once more he found, much to his surprise,
that he was not dead. He lay, securely bound, in the bottom of
his own canoe. A great panther sat upon its haunches, looking down
upon him.
Kaviri shuddered and closed his eyes again, waiting for the ferocious
creature to spring upon him and put him out of his misery of terror.
After a moment, no rending fangs having buried themselves in his
trembling body, he again ventured to open his eyes. Beyond the
panther kneeled the white giant who had overcome him.
The man was wielding a paddle, while directly behind him Kaviri saw
some of his own warriors similarly engaged. Back of them again
squatted several of the hairy apes.
Tarzan, seeing that the chief had regained consciousness, addressed
"Your warriors tell me that you are the chief of a numerous people,
and that your name is Kaviri," he said.
"Yes," replied the black.
"Why did you attack me? I came in peace."
"Another white man `came in peace' three moons ago," replied Kaviri;
"and after we had brought him presents of a goat and cassava and
milk, he set upon us with his guns and killed many of my people,
and then went on his way, taking all of our goats and many of our
young men and women."
"I am not as this other white man," replied Tarzan. "I should
not have harmed you had you not set upon me. Tell me, what was
the face of this bad white man like? I am searching for one who
has wronged me. Possibly this may be the very one."
"He was a man with a bad face, covered with a great, black beard,
and he was very, very wicked--yes, very wicked indeed."
"Was there a little white child with him?" asked Tarzan, his heart
almost stopped as he awaited the black's answer.
"No, bwana," replied Kaviri, "the white child was not with this
man's party--it was with the other party."
"Other party!" exclaimed Tarzan. "What other party?"
"With the party that the very bad white man was pursuing. There
was a white man, woman, and the child, with six Mosula porters.
They passed up the river three days ahead of the very bad white
man. I think that they were running away from him."
A white man, woman, and child! Tarzan was puzzled. The child must
be his little Jack; but who could the woman be--and the man? Was
it possible that one of Rokoff's confederates had conspired with
some woman--who had accompanied the Russian--to steal the baby from
If this was the case, they had doubtless purposed returning the
child to civilization and there either claiming a reward or holding
the little prisoner for ransom.
But now that Rokoff had succeeded in chasing them far inland, up
the savage river, there could be little doubt but that he would
eventually overhaul them, unless, as was still more probable, they
should be captured and killed by the very cannibals farther up the
Ugambi, to whom, Tarzan was now convinced, it had been Rokoff's
intention to deliver the baby.
As he talked to Kaviri the canoes had been moving steadily up-river
toward the chief's village. Kaviri's warriors plied the paddles
in the three canoes, casting sidelong, terrified glances at their
hideous passengers. Three of the apes of Akut had been killed in
the encounter, but there were, with Akut, eight of the frightful
beasts remaining, and there was Sheeta, the panther, and Tarzan
and Mugambi.
Kaviri's warriors thought that they had never seen so terrible a
crew in all their lives. Momentarily they expected to be pounced
upon and torn asunder by some of their captors; and, in fact,
it was all that Tarzan and Mugambi and Akut could do to keep the
snarling, ill-natured brutes from snapping at the glistening, naked
bodies that brushed against them now and then with the movements
of the paddlers, whose very fear added incitement to the beasts.
At Kaviri's camp Tarzan paused only long enough to eat the food
that the blacks furnished, and arrange with the chief for a dozen
men to man the paddles of his canoe.
Kaviri was only too glad to comply with any demands that the ape-man
might make if only such compliance would hasten the departure of
the horrid pack; but it was easier, he discovered, to promise men
than to furnish them, for when his people learned his intentions
those that had not already fled into the jungle proceeded to do
so without loss of time, so that when Kaviri turned to point out
those who were to accompany Tarzan, he discovered that he was the
only member of his tribe left within the village.
Tarzan could not repress a smile.
"They do not seem anxious to accompany us," he said; "but just
remain quietly here, Kaviri, and presently you shall see your people
flocking to your side."
Then the ape-man rose, and, calling his pack about him, commanded
that Mugambi remain with Kaviri, and disappeared in the jungle with
Sheeta and the apes at his heels.
For half an hour the silence of the grim forest was broken only
by the ordinary sounds of the teeming life that but adds to its
lowering loneliness. Kaviri and Mugambi sat alone in the palisaded
village, waiting.
Presently from a great distance came a hideous sound. Mugambi
recognized the weird challenge of the ape-man. Immediately from
different points of the compass rose a horrid semicircle of similar
shrieks and screams, punctuated now and again by the blood-curdling
cry of a hungry panther.
Chapter 7
The two savages, Kaviri and Mugambi, squatting before the entrance
to Kaviri's hut, looked at one another--Kaviri with ill-concealed
"What is it?" he whispered.
"It is Bwana Tarzan and his people," replied Mugambi. "But what
they are doing I know not, unless it be that they are devouring
your people who ran away."
Kaviri shuddered and rolled his eyes fearfully toward the jungle.
In all his long life in the savage forest he had never heard such
an awful, fearsome din.
Closer and closer came the sounds, and now with them were mingled
the terrified shrieks of women and children and of men. For twenty
long minutes the blood-curdling cries continued, until they seemed
but a stone's throw from the palisade. Kaviri rose to flee,
but Mugambi seized and held him, for such had been the command of
A moment later a horde of terrified natives burst from the jungle,
racing toward the shelter of their huts. Like frightened sheep
they ran, and behind them, driving them as sheep might be driven,
came Tarzan and Sheeta and the hideous apes of Akut.
Presently Tarzan stood before Kaviri, the old quiet smile upon his
"Your people have returned, my brother," he said, "and now you may
select those who are to accompany me and paddle my canoe."
Tremblingly Kaviri tottered to his feet, calling to his people to
come from their huts; but none responded to his summons.
"Tell them," suggested Tarzan, "that if they do not come I shall
send my people in after them."
Kaviri did as he was bid, and in an instant the entire population
of the village came forth, their wide and frightened eyes rolling
from one to another of the savage creatures that wandered about
the village street.
Quickly Kaviri designated a dozen warriors to accompany Tarzan.
The poor fellows went almost white with terror at the prospect of
close contact with the panther and the apes in the narrow confines
of the canoes; but when Kaviri explained to them that there was
no escape--that Bwana Tarzan would pursue them with his grim horde
should they attempt to run away from the duty--they finally went
gloomily down to the river and took their places in the canoe.
It was with a sigh of relief that their chieftain saw the party
disappear about a headland a short distance up-river.
For three days the strange company continued farther and farther
into the heart of the savage country that lies on either side of
the almost unexplored Ugambi. Three of the twelve warriors deserted
during that time; but as several of the apes had finally learned
the secret of the paddles, Tarzan felt no dismay because of the
As a matter of fact, he could have travelled much more rapidly on
shore, but he believed that he could hold his own wild crew together
to better advantage by keeping them to the boat as much as possible.
Twice a day they landed to hunt and feed, and at night they slept
upon the bank of the mainland or on one of the numerous little
islands that dotted the river.
Before them the natives fled in alarm, so that they found only
deserted villages in their path as they proceeded. Tarzan was
anxious to get in touch with some of the savages who dwelt upon
the river's banks, but so far he had been unable to do so.
Finally he decided to take to the land himself, leaving his company
to follow after him by boat. He explained to Mugambi the thing
that he had in mind, and told Akut to follow the directions of the
"I will join you again in a few days," he said. "Now I go ahead
to learn what has become of the very bad white man whom I seek."
At the next halt Tarzan took to the shore, and was soon lost to
the view of his people.
The first few villages he came to were deserted, showing that news
of the coming of his pack had travelled rapidly; but toward evening
he came upon a distant cluster of thatched huts surrounded by a
rude palisade, within which were a couple of hundred natives.
The women were preparing the evening meal as Tarzan of the Apes
poised above them in the branches of a giant tree which overhung
the palisade at one point.
The ape-man was at a loss as to how he might enter into communication
with these people without either frightening them or arousing their
savage love of battle. He had no desire to fight now, for he was
upon a much more important mission than that of battling with every
chance tribe that he should happen to meet with.
At last he hit upon a plan, and after seeing that he was concealed
from the view of those below, he gave a few hoarse grunts in
imitation of a panther. All eyes immediately turned upward toward
the foliage above.
It was growing dark, and they could not penetrate the leafy screen
which shielded the ape-man from their view. The moment that he had
won their attention he raised his voice to the shriller and more
hideous scream of the beast he personated, and then, scarce stirring
a leaf in his descent, dropped to the ground once again outside
the palisade, and, with the speed of a deer, ran quickly round to
the village gate.
Here he beat upon the fibre-bound saplings of which the barrier
was constructed, shouting to the natives in their own tongue that
he was a friend who wished food and shelter for the night.
Tarzan knew well the nature of the black man. He was aware that
the grunting and screaming of Sheeta in the tree above them would
set their nerves on edge, and that his pounding upon their gate
after dark would still further add to their terror.
That they did not reply to his hail was no surprise, for natives
are fearful of any voice that comes out of the night from beyond
their palisades, attributing it always to some demon or other
ghostly visitor; but still he continued to call.
"Let me in, my friends!" he cried. "I am a white man pursuing the
very bad white man who passed this way a few days ago. I follow
to punish him for the sins he has committed against you and me.
"If you doubt my friendship, I will prove it to you by going into
the tree above your village and driving Sheeta back into the jungle
before he leaps among you. If you will not promise to take me in
and treat me as a friend I shall let Sheeta stay and devour you."
For a moment there was silence. Then the voice of an old man came
out of the quiet of the village street.
"If you are indeed a white man and a friend, we will let you come
in; but first you must drive Sheeta away."
"Very well," replied Tarzan. "Listen, and you shall hear Sheeta
fleeing before me."
The ape-man returned quickly to the tree, and this time he made a
great noise as he entered the branches, at the same time growling
ominously after the manner of the panther, so that those below
would believe that the great beast was still there.
When he reached a point well above the village street he made a
great commotion, shaking the tree violently, crying aloud to the
panther to flee or be killed, and punctuating his own voice with
the screams and mouthings of an angry beast.
Presently he raced toward the opposite side of the tree and off into
the jungle, pounding loudly against the boles of trees as he went,
and voicing the panther's diminishing growls as he drew farther
and farther away from the village.
A few minutes later he returned to the village gate, calling to
the natives within.
"I have driven Sheeta away," he said. "Now come and admit me as
you promised."
For a time there was the sound of excited discussion within the
palisade, but at length a half-dozen warriors came and opened the
gates, peering anxiously out in evident trepidation as to the nature
of the creature which they should find waiting there. They were
not much relieved at sight of an almost naked white man; but when
Tarzan had reassured them in quiet tones, protesting his friendship
for them, they opened the barrier a trifle farther and admitted
When the gates had been once more secured the self-confidence of
the savages returned, and as Tarzan walked up the village street
toward the chief's hut he was surrounded by a host of curious men,
women, and children.
From the chief he learned that Rokoff had passed up the river
a week previous, and that he had horns growing from his forehead,
and was accompanied by a thousand devils. Later the chief said
that the very bad white man had remained a month in his village.
Though none of these statements agreed with Kaviri's, that the
Russian was but three days gone from the chieftain's village and
that his following was much smaller than now stated, Tarzan was in
no manner surprised at the discrepancies, for he was quite familiar
with the savage mind's strange manner of functioning.
What he was most interested in knowing was that he was upon the right
trail, and that it led toward the interior. In this circumstance
he knew that Rokoff could never escape him.
After several hours of questioning and cross-questioning the ape-man
learned that another party had preceded the Russian by several
days--three whites--a man, a woman, and a little man-child, with
several Mosulas.
Tarzan explained to the chief that his people would follow him
in a canoe, probably the next day, and that though he might go on
ahead of them the chief was to receive them kindly and have no fear
of them, for Mugambi would see that they did not harm the chief's
people, if they were accorded a friendly reception.
"And now," he concluded, "I shall lie down beneath this tree and
sleep. I am very tired. Permit no one to disturb me."
The chief offered him a hut, but Tarzan, from past experience
of native dwellings, preferred the open air, and, further, he had
plans of his own that could be better carried out if he remained
beneath the tree. He gave as his reason a desire to be close at
hand should Sheeta return, and after this explanation the chief
was very glad to permit him to sleep beneath the tree.
Tarzan had always found that it stood him in good stead to leave
with natives the impression that he was to some extent possessed
of more or less miraculous powers. He might easily have entered
their village without recourse to the gates, but he believed that
a sudden and unaccountable disappearance when he was ready to leave
them would result in a more lasting impression upon their childlike
minds, and so as soon as the village was quiet in sleep he rose,
and, leaping into the branches of the tree above him, faded silently
into the black mystery of the jungle night.
All the balance of that night the ape-man swung rapidly through the
upper and middle terraces of the forest. When the going was good
there he preferred the upper branches of the giant trees, for then
his way was better lighted by the moon; but so accustomed were
all his senses to the grim world of his birth that it was possible
for him, even in the dense, black shadows near the ground, to move
with ease and rapidity. You or I walking beneath the arcs of Main
Street, or Broadway, or State Street, could not have moved more
surely or with a tenth the speed of the agile ape-man through the
gloomy mazes that would have baffled us entirely.
At dawn he stopped to feed, and then he slept for several hours,
taking up the pursuit again toward noon.
Twice he came upon natives, and, though he had considerable
difficulty in approaching them, he succeeded in each instance in
quieting both their fears and bellicose intentions toward him, and
learned from them that he was upon the trail of the Russian.
Two days later, still following up the Ugambi, he came upon a large
village. The chief, a wicked-looking fellow with the sharp-filed
teeth that often denote the cannibal, received him with apparent
The ape-man was now thoroughly fatigued, and had determined to
rest for eight or ten hours that he might be fresh and strong when
he caught up with Rokoff, as he was sure he must do within a very
short time.
The chief told him that the bearded white man had left his village
only the morning before, and that doubtless he would be able to
overtake him in a short time. The other party the chief had not
seen or heard of, so he said.
Tarzan did not like the appearance or manner of the fellow, who
seemed, though friendly enough, to harbour a certain contempt for
this half-naked white man who came with no followers and offered
no presents; but he needed the rest and food that the village would
afford him with less effort than the jungle, and so, as he knew no
fear of man, beast, or devil, he curled himself up in the shadow
of a hut and was soon asleep.
Scarcely had he left the chief than the latter called two of his
warriors, to whom he whispered a few instructions. A moment later
the sleek, black bodies were racing along the river path, up-stream,
toward the east.
In the village the chief maintained perfect quiet. He would permit
no one to approach the sleeping visitor, nor any singing, nor loud
talking. He was remarkably solicitous lest his guest be disturbed.
Three hours later several canoes came silently into view from up
the Ugambi. They were being pushed ahead rapidly by the brawny
muscles of their black crews. Upon the bank before the river
stood the chief, his spear raised in a horizontal position above
his head, as though in some manner of predetermined signal to those
within the boats.
And such indeed was the purpose of his attitude--which meant that
the white stranger within his village still slept peacefully.
In the bows of two of the canoes were the runners that the chief
had sent forth three hours earlier. It was evident that they had
been dispatched to follow and bring back this party, and that the
signal from the bank was one that had been determined upon before
they left the village.
In a few moments the dugouts drew up to the verdure-clad bank. The
native warriors filed out, and with them a half-dozen white men.
Sullen, ugly-looking customers they were, and none more so than
the evil-faced, black-bearded man who commanded them.
"Where is the white man your messengers report to be with you?" he
asked of the chief.
"This way, bwana," replied the native. "Carefully have I kept
silence in the village that he might be still asleep when you
returned. I do not know that he is one who seeks you to do you
harm, but he questioned me closely about your coming and your going,
and his appearance is as that of the one you described, but whom
you believed safe in the country which you called Jungle Island.
"Had you not told me this tale I should not have recognized him,
and then he might have gone after and slain you. If he is a friend
and no enemy, then no harm has been done, bwana; but if he proves
to be an enemy, I should like very much to have a rifle and some
"You have done well," replied the white man, "and you shall have
the rifle and ammunition whether he be a friend or enemy, provided
that you stand with me."
"I shall stand with you, bwana," said the chief, "and now come and
look upon the stranger, who sleeps within my village."
So saying, he turned and led the way toward the hut, in the shadow
of which the unconscious Tarzan slept peacefully.
Behind the two men came the remaining whites and a score of warriors;
but the raised forefingers of the chief and his companion held them
all to perfect silence.
As they turned the corner of the hut, cautiously and upon tiptoe,
an ugly smile touched the lips of the white as his eyes fell upon
the giant figure of the sleeping ape-man.
The chief looked at the other inquiringly. The latter nodded his
head, to signify that the chief had made no mistake in his suspicions.
Then he turned to those behind him and, pointing to the sleeping
man, motioned for them to seize and bind him.
A moment later a dozen brutes had leaped upon the surprised Tarzan,
and so quickly did they work that he was securely bound before he
could make half an effort to escape.
Then they threw him down upon his back, and as his eyes turned
toward the crowd that stood near, they fell upon the malign face
of Nikolas Rokoff.
A sneer curled the Russian's lips. He stepped quite close to
"Pig!" he cried. "Have you not learned sufficient wisdom to keep
away from Nikolas Rokoff?"
Then he kicked the prostrate man full in the face.
"That for your welcome," he said.
"Tonight, before my Ethiop friends eat you, I shall tell you what
has already befallen your wife and child, and what further plans
I have for their futures."
Chapter 8
The Dance of Death
Through the luxuriant, tangled vegetation of the Stygian jungle
night a great lithe body made its way sinuously and in utter silence
upon its soft padded feet. Only two blazing points of yellow-green
flame shone occasionally with the reflected light of the equatorial
moon that now and again pierced the softly sighing roof rustling
in the night wind.
Occasionally the beast would stop with high-held nose, sniffing
searchingly. At other times a quick, brief incursion into the
branches above delayed it momentarily in its steady journey toward
the east. To its sensitive nostrils came the subtle unseen spoor
of many a tender four-footed creature, bringing the slaver of hunger
to the cruel, drooping jowl.
But steadfastly it kept on its way, strangely ignoring the cravings
of appetite that at another time would have sent the rolling,
fur-clad muscles flying at some soft throat.
All that night the creature pursued its lonely way, and the next
day it halted only to make a single kill, which it tore to fragments
and devoured with sullen, grumbling rumbles as though half famished
for lack of food.
It was dusk when it approached the palisade that surrounded a large
native village. Like the shadow of a swift and silent death it
circled the village, nose to ground, halting at last close to the
palisade, where it almost touched the backs of several huts. Here
the beast sniffed for a moment, and then, turning its head upon
one side, listened with up-pricked ears.
What it heard was no sound by the standards of human ears, yet
to the highly attuned and delicate organs of the beast a message
seemed to be borne to the savage brain. A wondrous transformation
was wrought in the motionless mass of statuesque bone and muscle
that had an instant before stood as though carved out of the living
As if it had been poised upon steel springs, suddenly released, it
rose quickly and silently to the top of the palisade, disappearing,
stealthily and catlike, into the dark space between the wall and
the back of an adjacent hut.
In the village street beyond women were preparing many little fires
and fetching cooking-pots filled with water, for a great feast
was to be celebrated ere the night was many hours older. About
a stout stake near the centre of the circling fires a little knot
of black warriors stood conversing, their bodies smeared with white
and blue and ochre in broad and grotesque bands. Great circles
of colour were drawn about their eyes and lips, their breasts and
abdomens, and from their clay-plastered coiffures rose gay feathers
and bits of long, straight wire.
The village was preparing for the feast, while in a hut at one side
of the scene of the coming orgy the bound victim of their bestial
appetites lay waiting for the end. And such an end!
Tarzan of the Apes, tensing his mighty muscles, strained at the
bonds that pinioned him; but they had been re-enforced many times
at the instigation of the Russian, so that not even the ape-man's
giant brawn could budge them.
Tarzan had looked the Hideous Hunter in the face many a time, and
smiled. And he would smile again tonight when he knew the end was
coming quickly; but now his thoughts were not of himself, but of
those others--the dear ones who must suffer most because of his
Jane would never know the manner of it. For that he thanked Heaven;
and he was thankful also that she at least was safe in the heart
of the world's greatest city. Safe among kind and loving friends
who would do their best to lighten her misery.
But the boy!
Tarzan writhed at the thought of him. His son! And now he--the
mighty Lord of the Jungle--he, Tarzan, King of the Apes, the only
one in all the world fitted to find and save the child from the
horrors that Rokoff's evil mind had planned--had been trapped like
a silly, dumb creature. He was to die in a few hours, and with
him would go the child's last chance of succour.
Rokoff had been in to see and revile and abuse him several times
during the afternoon; but he had been able to wring no word of
remonstrance or murmur of pain from the lips of the giant captive.
So at last he had given up, reserving his particular bit of exquisite
mental torture for the last moment, when, just before the savage
spears of the cannibals should for ever make the object of his
hatred immune to further suffering, the Russian planned to reveal
to his enemy the true whereabouts of his wife whom he thought safe
in England.
Dusk had fallen upon the village, and the ape-men could hear the
preparations going forward for the torture and the feast. The
dance of death he could picture in his mind's eye--for he had seen
the thing many times in the past. Now he was to be the central
figure, bound to the stake.
The torture of the slow death as the circling warriors cut him
to bits with the fiendish skill, that mutilated without bringing
unconsciousness, had no terrors for him. He was inured to suffering
and to the sight of blood and to cruel death; but the desire to
live was no less strong within him, and until the last spark of
life should flicker and go out, his whole being would remain quick
with hope and determination. Let them relax their watchfulness
but for an instant, he knew that his cunning mind and giant muscles
would find a way to escape--escape and revenge.
As he lay, thinking furiously on every possibility of self-salvation,
there came to his sensitive nostrils a faint and a familiar scent.
Instantly every faculty of his mind was upon the alert. Presently
his trained ears caught the sound of the soundless presence
without--behind the hut wherein he lay. His lips moved, and
though no sound came forth that might have been appreciable to a
human ear beyond the walls of his prison, yet he realized that the
one beyond would hear. Already he knew who that one was, for his
nostrils had told him as plainly as your eyes or mine tell us of
the identity of an old friend whom we come upon in broad daylight.
An instant later he heard the soft sound of a fur-clad body and
padded feet scaling the outer wall behind the hut and then a tearing
at the poles which formed the wall. Presently through the hole
thus made slunk a great beast, pressing its cold muzzle close to
his neck.
It was Sheeta, the panther.
The beast snuffed round the prostrate man, whining a little.
There was a limit to the interchange of ideas which could take
place between these two, and so Tarzan could not be sure that Sheeta
understood all that he attempted to communicate to him. That the
man was tied and helpless Sheeta could, of course, see; but that
to the mind of the panther this would carry any suggestion of harm
in so far as his master was concerned, Tarzan could not guess.
What had brought the beast to him? The fact that he had come
augured well for what he might accomplish; but when Tarzan tried
to get Sheeta to gnaw his bonds asunder the great animal could
not seem to understand what was expected of him, and, instead, but
licked the wrists and arms of the prisoner.
Presently there came an interruption. Some one was approaching
the hut. Sheeta gave a low growl and slunk into the blackness of
a far corner. Evidently the visitor did not hear the warning sound,
for almost immediately he entered the hut--a tall, naked, savage
He came to Tarzan's side and pricked him with a spear. From the
lips of the ape-man came a weird, uncanny sound, and in answer to
it there leaped from the blackness of the hut's farthermost corner
a bolt of fur-clad death. Full upon the breast of the painted
savage the great beast struck, burying sharp talons in the black
flesh and sinking great yellow fangs in the ebon throat.
There was a fearful scream of anguish and terror from the black, and
mingled with it was the hideous challenge of the killing panther.
Then came silence--silence except for the rending of bloody flesh
and the crunching of human bones between mighty jaws.
The noise had brought sudden quiet to the village without. Then
there came the sound of voices in consultation.
High-pitched, fear-filled voices, and deep, low tones of authority,
as the chief spoke. Tarzan and the panther heard the approaching
footsteps of many men, and then, to Tarzan's surprise, the great
cat rose from across the body of its kill, and slunk noiselessly
from the hut through the aperture through which it had entered.
The man heard the soft scraping of the body as it passed over the
top of the palisade, and then silence. From the opposite side of
the hut he heard the savages approaching to investigate.
He had little hope that Sheeta would return, for had the great cat
intended to defend him against all comers it would have remained
by his side as it heard the approaching savages without.
Tarzan knew how strange were the workings of the brains of the mighty
carnivora of the jungle--how fiendishly fearless they might be in
the face of certain death, and again how timid upon the slightest
provocation. There was doubt in his mind that some note of the
approaching blacks vibrating with fear had struck an answering
chord in the nervous system of the panther, sending him slinking
through the jungle, his tail between his legs.
The man shrugged. Well, what of it? He had expected to die, and,
after all, what might Sheeta have done for him other than to maul
a couple of his enemies before a rifle in the hands of one of the
whites should have dispatched him!
If the cat could have released him! Ah! that would have resulted
in a very different story; but it had proved beyond the understanding
of Sheeta, and now the beast was gone and Tarzan must definitely
abandon hope.
The natives were at the entrance to the hut now, peering fearfully
into the dark interior. Two in advance held lighted torches in
their left hands and ready spears in their right. They held back
timorously against those behind, who were pushing them forward.
The shrieks of the panther's victim, mingled with those of the
great cat, had wrought mightily upon their poor nerves, and now
the awful silence of the dark interior seemed even more terribly
ominous than had the frightful screaming.
Presently one of those who was being forced unwillingly within hit
upon a happy scheme for learning first the precise nature of the
danger which menaced him from the silent interior. With a quick
movement he flung his lighted torch into the centre of the hut.
Instantly all within was illuminated for a brief second before the
burning brand was dashed out against the earth floor.
There was the figure of the white prisoner still securely bound as
they had last seen him, and in the centre of the hut another figure
equally as motionless, its throat and breasts horribly torn and
The sight that met the eyes of the foremost savages inspired more
terror within their superstitious breasts than would the presence
of Sheeta, for they saw only the result of a ferocious attack upon
one of their fellows.
Not seeing the cause, their fear-ridden minds were free to attribute
the ghastly work to supernatural causes, and with the thought
they turned, screaming, from the hut, bowling over those who stood
directly behind them in the exuberance of their terror.
For an hour Tarzan heard only the murmur of excited voices from
the far end of the village. Evidently the savages were once more
attempting to work up their flickering courage to a point that would
permit them to make another invasion of the hut, for now and then
came a savage yell, such as the warriors give to bolster up their
bravery upon the field of battle.
But in the end it was two of the whites who first entered, carrying
torches and guns. Tarzan was not surprised to discover that neither
of them was Rokoff. He would have wagered his soul that no power
on earth could have tempted that great coward to face the unknown
menace of the hut.
When the natives saw that the white men were not attacked they,
too, crowded into the interior, their voices hushed with terror
as they looked upon the mutilated corpse of their comrade. The
whites tried in vain to elicit an explanation from Tarzan; but to
all their queries he but shook his head, a grim and knowing smile
curving his lips.
At last Rokoff came.
His face grew very white as his eyes rested upon the bloody thing
grinning up at him from the floor, the face set in a death mask of
excruciating horror.
"Come!" he said to the chief. "Let us get to work and finish this
demon before he has an opportunity to repeat this thing upon more
of your people."
The chief gave orders that Tarzan should be lifted and carried to
the stake; but it was several minutes before he could prevail upon
any of his men to touch the prisoner.
At last, however, four of the younger warriors dragged Tarzan
roughly from the hut, and once outside the pall of terror seemed
lifted from the savage hearts.
A score of howling blacks pushed and buffeted the prisoner down
the village street and bound him to the post in the centre of the
circle of little fires and boiling cooking-pots.
When at last he was made fast and seemed quite helpless and beyond
the faintest hope of succour, Rokoff's shrivelled wart of courage
swelled to its usual proportions when danger was not present.
He stepped close to the ape-man, and, seizing a spear from the hands
of one of the savages, was the first to prod the helpless victim.
A little stream of blood trickled down the giant's smooth skin from
the wound in his side; but no murmur of pain passed his lips.
The smile of contempt upon his face seemed to infuriate the Russian.
With a volley of oaths he leaped at the helpless captive, beating
him upon the face with his clenched fists and kicking him mercilessly
about the legs.
Then he raised the heavy spear to drive it through the mighty heart,
and still Tarzan of the Apes smiled contemptuously upon him.
Before Rokoff could drive the weapon home the chief sprang upon
him and dragged him away from his intended victim.
"Stop, white man!" he cried. "Rob us of this prisoner and our
death-dance, and you yourself may have to take his place."
The threat proved most effective in keeping the Russian from further
assaults upon the prisoner, though he continued to stand a little
apart and hurl taunts at his enemy. He told Tarzan that he
himself was going to eat the ape-man's heart. He enlarged upon
the horrors of the future life of Tarzan's son, and intimated that
his vengeance would reach as well to Jane Clayton.
"You think your wife safe in England," said Rokoff. "Poor fool!
She is even now in the hands of one not even of decent birth, and
far from the safety of London and the protection of her friends.
I had not meant to tell you this until I could bring to you upon
Jungle Island proof of her fate.
"Now that you are about to die the most unthinkably horrid death
that it is given a white man to die--let this word of the plight
of your wife add to the torments that you must suffer before the
last savage spear-thrust releases you from your torture."
The dance had commenced now, and the yells of the circling warriors
drowned Rokoff's further attempts to distress his victim.
The leaping savages, the flickering firelight playing upon their
painted bodies, circled about the victim at the stake.
To Tarzan's memory came a similar scene, when he had rescued
D'Arnot from a like predicament at the last moment before the final
spear-thrust should have ended his sufferings. Who was there now
to rescue him? In all the world there was none able to save him
from the torture and the death.
The thought that these human fiends would devour him when the
dance was done caused him not a single qualm of horror or disgust.
It did not add to his sufferings as it would have to those of an
ordinary white man, for all his life Tarzan had seen the beasts of
the jungle devour the flesh of their kills.
Had he not himself battled for the grisly forearm of a great ape
at that long-gone Dum-Dum, when he had slain the fierce Tublat and
won his niche in the respect of the Apes of Kerchak?
The dancers were leaping more closely to him now. The spears were
commencing to find his body in the first torturing pricks that
prefaced the more serious thrusts.
It would not be long now. The ape-man longed for the last savage
lunge that would end his misery.
And then, far out in the mazes of the weird jungle, rose a shrill
For an instant the dancers paused, and in the silence of the interval
there rose from the lips of the fast-bound white man an answering
shriek, more fearsome and more terrible than that of the jungle-beast
that had roused it.
For several minutes the blacks hesitated; then, at the urging of
Rokoff and their chief, they leaped in to finish the dance and the
victim; but ere ever another spear touched the brown hide a tawny
streak of green-eyed hate and ferocity bounded from the door of the
hut in which Tarzan had been imprisoned, and Sheeta, the panther,
stood snarling beside his master.
For an instant the blacks and the whites stood transfixed with
terror. Their eyes were riveted upon the bared fangs of the jungle
Only Tarzan of the Apes saw what else there was emerging from the
dark interior of the hut.
Chapter 9
Chivalry or Villainy
From her cabin port upon the Kincaid, Jane Clayton had seen her
husband rowed to the verdure-clad shore of Jungle Island, and then
the ship once more proceeded upon its way.
For several days she saw no one other than Sven Anderssen, the
Kincaid's taciturn and repellent cook. She asked him the name of
the shore upon which her husband had been set.
"Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard," replied the Swede, and
that was all that she could get out of him.
She had come to the conclusion that he spoke no other English, and
so she ceased to importune him for information; but never did she
forget to greet him pleasantly or to thank him for the hideous,
nauseating meals he brought her.
Three days from the spot where Tarzan had been marooned the Kincaid
came to anchor in the mouth of a great river, and presently Rokoff
came to Jane Clayton's cabin.
"We have arrived, my dear," he said, with a sickening leer. "I
have come to offer you safety, liberty, and ease. My heart has been
softened toward you in your suffering, and I would make amends as
best I may.
"Your husband was a brute--you know that best who found him naked
in his native jungle, roaming wild with the savage beasts that were
his fellows. Now I am a gentleman, not only born of noble blood,
but raised gently as befits a man of quality.
"To you, dear Jane, I offer the love of a cultured man and association
with one of culture and refinement, which you must have sorely
missed in your relations with the poor ape that through your
girlish infatuation you married so thoughtlessly. I love you,
Jane. You have but to say the word and no further sorrows shall
afflict you--even your baby shall be returned to you unharmed."
Outside the door Sven Anderssen paused with the noonday meal he
had been carrying to Lady Greystoke. Upon the end of his long,
stringy neck his little head was cocked to one side, his close-set
eyes were half closed, his ears, so expressive was his whole attitude
of stealthy eavesdropping, seemed truly to be cocked forward--even
his long, yellow, straggly moustache appeared to assume a sly droop.
As Rokoff closed his appeal, awaiting the reply he invited, the
look of surprise upon Jane Clayton's face turned to one of disgust.
She fairly shuddered in the fellow's face.
"I would not have been surprised, M. Rokoff," she said, "had you
attempted to force me to submit to your evil desires, but that you
should be so fatuous as to believe that I, wife of John Clayton,
would come to you willingly, even to save my life, I should never
have imagined. I have known you for a scoundrel, M. Rokoff; but
until now I had not taken you for a fool."
Rokoff's eyes narrowed, and the red of mortification flushed out
the pallor of his face. He took a step toward the girl, threateningly.
"We shall see who is the fool at last," he hissed, "when I have
broken you to my will and your plebeian Yankee stubbornness has
cost you all that you hold dear--even the life of your baby--for,
by the bones of St. Peter, I'll forego all that I had planned
for the brat and cut its heart out before your very eyes. You'll
learn what it means to insult Nikolas Rokoff."
Jane Clayton turned wearily away.
"What is the use," she said, "of expatiating upon the depths to
which your vengeful nature can sink? You cannot move me either by
threats or deeds. My baby cannot judge yet for himself, but I, his
mother, can foresee that should it have been given him to survive
to man's estate he would willingly sacrifice his life for the honour
of his mother. Love him as I do, I would not purchase his life
at such a price. Did I, he would execrate my memory to the day
of his death."
Rokoff was now thoroughly angered because of his failure to reduce
the girl to terror. He felt only hate for her, but it had come
to his diseased mind that if he could force her to accede to his
demands as the price of her life and her child's, the cup of his
revenge would be filled to brimming when he could flaunt the wife
of Lord Greystoke in the capitals of Europe as his mistress.
Again he stepped closer to her. His evil face was convulsed with
rage and desire. Like a wild beast he sprang upon her, and with
his strong fingers at her throat forced her backward upon the berth.
At the same instant the door of the cabin opened noisily. Rokoff
leaped to his feet, and, turning, faced the Swede cook.
Into the fellow's usually foxy eyes had come an expression of utter
stupidity. His lower jaw drooped in vacuous harmony. He busied
himself in arranging Lady Greystoke's meal upon the tiny table at
one side of her cabin.
The Russian glared at him.
"What do you mean," he cried, "by entering here without permission?
Get out!"
The cook turned his watery blue eyes upon Rokoff and smiled vacuously.
"Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard," he said, and then he began
rearranging the few dishes upon the little table.
"Get out of here, or I'll throw you out, you miserable blockhead!"
roared Rokoff, taking a threatening step toward the Swede.
Anderssen continued to smile foolishly in his direction, but one
ham-like paw slid stealthily to the handle of the long, slim knife
that protruded from the greasy cord supporting his soiled apron.
Rokoff saw the move and stopped short in his advance. Then he
turned toward Jane Clayton.
"I will give you until tomorrow," he said, "to reconsider your answer
to my offer. All will be sent ashore upon one pretext or another
except you and the child, Paulvitch and myself. Then without
interruption you will be able to witness the death of the baby."
He spoke in French that the cook might not understand the sinister
portent of his words. When he had done he banged out of the cabin
without another look at the man who had interrupted him in his
sorry work.
When he had gone, Sven Anderssen turned toward Lady Greystoke--the
idiotic expression that had masked his thoughts had fallen away,
and in its place was one of craft and cunning.
"Hay tank Ay ban a fool," he said. "Hay ben the fool. Ay savvy
Jane Clayton looked at him in surprise.
"You understood all that he said, then?"
Anderssen grinned.
"You bat," he said.
"And you heard what was going on in here and came to protect me?"
"You bane good to me," explained the Swede. "Hay treat me like
darty dog. Ay help you, lady. You yust vait--Ay help you. Ay
ban Vast Coast lots times."
"But how can you help me, Sven," she asked, "when all these men
will be against us?"
"Ay tank," said Sven Anderssen, "it blow purty soon purty hard,"
and then he turned and left the cabin.
Though Jane Clayton doubted the cook's ability to be of any material
service to her, she was nevertheless deeply grateful to him for
what he already had done. The feeling that among these enemies
she had one friend brought the first ray of comfort that had come
to lighten the burden of her miserable apprehensions throughout
the long voyage of the Kincaid.
She saw no more of Rokoff that day, nor of any other until Sven
came with her evening meal. She tried to draw him into conversation
relative to his plans to aid her, but all that she could get from
him was his stereotyped prophecy as to the future state of the
wind. He seemed suddenly to have relapsed into his wonted state
of dense stupidity.
However, when he was leaving her cabin a little later with the empty
dishes he whispered very low, "Leave on your clothes an' roll up
your blankets. Ay come back after you purty soon."
He would have slipped from the room at once, but Jane laid her hand
upon his sleeve.
"My baby?" she asked. "I cannot go without him."
"You do wot Ay tal you," said Anderssen, scowling. "Ay ban halpin'
you, so don't you gat too fonny."
When he had gone Jane Clayton sank down upon her berth in utter
bewilderment. What was she to do? Suspicions as to the intentions
of the Swede swarmed her brain. Might she not be infinitely worse
off if she gave herself into his power than she already was?
No, she could be no worse off in company with the devil himself than
with Nikolas Rokoff, for the devil at least bore the reputation of
being a gentleman.
She swore a dozen times that she would not leave the Kincaid without
her baby, and yet she remained clothed long past her usual hour
for retiring, and her blankets were neatly rolled and bound with
stout cord, when about midnight there came a stealthy scratching
upon the panels of her door.
Swiftly she crossed the room and drew the bolt. Softly the door
swung open to admit the muffled figure of the Swede. On one arm
he carried a bundle, evidently his blankets. His other hand was
raised in a gesture commanding silence, a grimy forefinger upon
his lips.
He came quite close to her.
"Carry this," he said. "Do not make some noise when you see it.
It ban you kid."
Quick hands snatched the bundle from the cook, and hungry mother
arms folded the sleeping infant to her breast, while hot tears of
joy ran down her cheeks and her whole frame shook with the emotion
of the moment.
"Come!" said Anderssen. "We got no time to vaste."
He snatched up her bundle of blankets, and outside the cabin door
his own as well. Then he led her to the ship's side, steadied
her descent of the monkey-ladder, holding the child for her as she
climbed to the waiting boat below. A moment later he had cut the
rope that held the small boat to the steamer's side, and, bending
silently to the muffled oars, was pulling toward the black shadows
up the Ugambi River.
Anderssen rowed on as though quite sure of his ground, and when after
half an hour the moon broke through the clouds there was revealed
upon their left the mouth of a tributary running into the Ugambi.
Up this narrow channel the Swede turned the prow of the small boat.
Jane Clayton wondered if the man knew where he was bound. She did
not know that in his capacity as cook he had that day been rowed
up this very stream to a little village where he had bartered with
the natives for such provisions as they had for sale, and that he
had there arranged the details of his plan for the adventure upon
which they were now setting forth.
Even though the moon was full, the surface of the small river was
quite dark. The giant trees overhung its narrow banks, meeting in
a great arch above the centre of the river. Spanish moss dropped
from the gracefully bending limbs, and enormous creepers clambered
in riotous profusion from the ground to the loftiest branch, falling
in curving loops almost to the water's placid breast.
Now and then the river's surface would be suddenly broken ahead of
them by a huge crocodile, startled by the splashing of the oars,
or, snorting and blowing, a family of hippos would dive from a
sandy bar to the cool, safe depths of the bottom.
From the dense jungles upon either side came the weird night cries
of the carnivora--the maniacal voice of the hyena, the coughing
grunt of the panther, the deep and awful roar of the lion. And
with them strange, uncanny notes that the girl could not ascribe to
any particular night prowler--more terrible because of their mystery.
Huddled in the stern of the boat she sat with her baby strained
close to her bosom, and because of that little tender, helpless thing
she was happier tonight than she had been for many a sorrow-ridden
Even though she knew not to what fate she was going, or how soon
that fate might overtake her, still was she happy and thankful for
the moment, however brief, that she might press her baby tightly
in her arms. She could scarce wait for the coming of the day that
she might look again upon the bright face of her little, black-eyed
Again and again she tried to strain her eyes through the blackness
of the jungle night to have but a tiny peep at those beloved
features, but only the dim outline of the baby face rewarded her
efforts. Then once more she would cuddle the warm, little bundle
close to her throbbing heart.
It must have been close to three o'clock in the morning that
Anderssen brought the boat's nose to the shore before a clearing
where could be dimly seen in the waning moonlight a cluster of
native huts encircled by a thorn boma.
At the village gate they were admitted by a native woman, the wife
of the chief whom Anderssen had paid to assist him. She took
them to the chief's hut, but Anderssen said that they would sleep
without upon the ground, and so, her duty having been completed,
she left them to their own devices.
The Swede, after explaining in his gruff way that the huts were
doubtless filthy and vermin-ridden, spread Jane's blankets on the
ground for her, and at a little distance unrolled his own and lay
down to sleep.
It was some time before the girl could find a comfortable position
upon the hard ground, but at last, the baby in the hollow of her
arm, she dropped asleep from utter exhaustion. When she awoke it
was broad daylight.
About her were clustered a score of curious natives--mostly men,
for among the aborigines it is the male who owns this characteristic
in its most exaggerated form. Instinctively Jane Clayton drew
the baby more closely to her, though she soon saw that the blacks
were far from intending her or the child any harm.
In fact, one of them offered her a gourd of milk--a filthy,
smoke-begrimed gourd, with the ancient rind of long-curdled milk
caked in layers within its neck; but the spirit of the giver touched
her deeply, and her face lightened for a moment with one of those
almost forgotten smiles of radiance that had helped to make her
beauty famous both in Baltimore and London.
She took the gourd in one hand, and rather than cause the giver
pain raised it to her lips, though for the life of her she could
scarce restrain the qualm of nausea that surged through her as the
malodorous thing approached her nostrils.
It was Anderssen who came to her rescue, and taking the gourd from
her, drank a portion himself, and then returned it to the native
with a gift of blue beads.
The sun was shining brightly now, and though the baby still slept,
Jane could scarce restrain her impatient desire to have at least
a brief glance at the beloved face. The natives had withdrawn at
a command from their chief, who now stood talking with Anderssen,
a little apart from her.
As she debated the wisdom of risking disturbing the child's slumber
by lifting the blanket that now protected its face from the sun,
she noted that the cook conversed with the chief in the language
of the Negro.
What a remarkable man the fellow was, indeed! She had thought him
ignorant and stupid but a short day before, and now, within the past
twenty-four hours, she had learned that he spoke not only English
but French as well, and the primitive dialect of the West Coast.
She had thought him shifty, cruel, and untrustworthy, yet in so
far as she had reason to believe he had proved himself in every
way the contrary since the day before. It scarce seemed credible
that he could be serving her from motives purely chivalrous. There
must be something deeper in his intentions and plans than he had
yet disclosed.
She wondered, and when she looked at him--at his close-set, shifty
eyes and repulsive features, she shuddered, for she was convinced
that no lofty characteristics could be hid behind so foul an
As she was thinking of these things the while she debated the wisdom
of uncovering the baby's face, there came a little grunt from the
wee bundle in her lap, and then a gurgling coo that set her heart
in raptures.
The baby was awake! Now she might feast her eyes upon him.
Quickly she snatched the blanket from before the infant's face;
Anderssen was looking at her as she did so.
He saw her stagger to her feet, holding the baby at arm's length
from her, her eyes glued in horror upon the little chubby face and
twinkling eyes.
Then he heard her piteous cry as her knees gave beneath her, and
she sank to the ground in a swoon.
Chapter 10
The Swede
As the warriors, clustered thick about Tarzan and Sheeta, realized
that it was a flesh-and-blood panther that had interrupted their
dance of death, they took heart a trifle, for in the face of all
those circling spears even the mighty Sheeta would be doomed.
Rokoff was urging the chief to have his spearmen launch their
missiles, and the black was upon the instant of issuing the command,
when his eyes strayed beyond Tarzan, following the gaze of the
With a yell of terror the chief turned and fled toward the village
gate, and as his people looked to see the cause of his fright,
they too took to their heels--for there, lumbering down upon them,
their huge forms exaggerated by the play of moonlight and camp
fire, came the hideous apes of Akut.
The instant the natives turned to flee the ape-man's savage cry rang
out above the shrieks of the blacks, and in answer to it Sheeta and
the apes leaped growling after the fugitives. Some of the warriors
turned to battle with their enraged antagonists, but before the
fiendish ferocity of the fierce beasts they went down to bloody
Others were dragged down in their flight, and it was not until the
village was empty and the last of the blacks had disappeared into
the bush that Tarzan was able to recall his savage pack to his
side. Then it was that he discovered to his chagrin that he could
not make one of them, not even the comparatively intelligent Akut,
understand that he wished to be freed from the bonds that held him
to the stake.
In time, of course, the idea would filter through their thick
skulls, but in the meanwhile many things might happen--the blacks
might return in force to regain their village; the whites might
readily pick them all off with their rifles from the surrounding
trees; he might even starve to death before the dull-witted apes
realized that he wished them to gnaw through his bonds.
As for Sheeta--the great cat understood even less than the apes; but
yet Tarzan could not but marvel at the remarkable characteristics
this beast had evidenced. That it felt real affection for him there
seemed little doubt, for now that the blacks were disposed of it
walked slowly back and forth about the stake, rubbing its sides
against the ape-man's legs and purring like a contented tabby.
That it had gone of its own volition to bring the balance of the
pack to his rescue, Tarzan could not doubt. His Sheeta was indeed
a jewel among beasts.
Mugambi's absence worried the ape-man not a little. He attempted
to learn from Akut what had become of the black, fearing that the
beasts, freed from the restraint of Tarzan's presence, might have
fallen upon the man and devoured him; but to all his questions the
great ape but pointed back in the direction from which they had
come out of the jungle.
The night passed with Tarzan still fast bound to the stake, and
shortly after dawn his fears were realized in the discovery of
naked black figures moving stealthily just within the edge of the
jungle about the village. The blacks were returning.
With daylight their courage would be equal to the demands of a
charge upon the handful of beasts that had routed them from their
rightful abodes. The result of the encounter seemed foregone
if the savages could curb their superstitious terror, for against
their overwhelming numbers, their long spears and poisoned arrows,
the panther and the apes could not be expected to survive a really
determined attack.
That the blacks were preparing for a charge became apparent a few
moments later, when they commenced to show themselves in force upon
the edge of the clearing, dancing and jumping about as they waved
their spears and shouted taunts and fierce warcries toward the
These manoeuvres Tarzan knew would continue until the blacks had
worked themselves into a state of hysterical courage sufficient
to sustain them for a short charge toward the village, and even
though he doubted that they would reach it at the first attempt, he
believed that at the second or the third they would swarm through
the gateway, when the outcome could not be aught than the extermination
of Tarzan's bold, but unarmed and undisciplined, defenders.
Even as he had guessed, the first charge carried the howling warriors
but a short distance into the open--a shrill, weird challenge from
the ape-man being all that was necessary to send them scurrying
back to the bush. For half an hour they pranced and yelled their
courage to the sticking-point, and again essayed a charge.
This time they came quite to the village gate, but when Sheeta and
the hideous apes leaped among them they turned screaming in terror,
and again fled to the jungle.
Again was the dancing and shouting repeated. This time Tarzan felt
no doubt they would enter the village and complete the work that a
handful of determined white men would have carried to a successful
conclusion at the first attempt.
To have rescue come so close only to be thwarted because he could
not make his poor, savage friends understand precisely what he
wanted of them was most irritating, but he could not find it in
his heart to place blame upon them. They had done their best,
and now he was sure they would doubtless remain to die with him in
a fruitless effort to defend him.
The blacks were already preparing for the charge. A few individuals
had advanced a short distance toward the village and were exhorting
the others to follow them. In a moment the whole savage horde
would be racing across the clearing.
Tarzan thought only of the little child somewhere in this cruel,
relentless wilderness. His heart ached for the son that he might
no longer seek to save--that and the realization of Jane's suffering
were all that weighed upon his brave spirit in these that he thought
his last moments of life. Succour, all that he could hope for,
had come to him in the instant of his extremity--and failed. There
was nothing further for which to hope.
The blacks were half-way across the clearing when Tarzan's attention
was attracted by the actions of one of the apes. The beast was
glaring toward one of the huts. Tarzan followed his gaze. To his
infinite relief and delight he saw the stalwart form of Mugambi
racing toward him.
The huge black was panting heavily as though from strenuous physical
exertion and nervous excitement. He rushed to Tarzan's side, and
as the first of the savages reached the village gate the native's
knife severed the last of the cords that bound Tarzan to the stake.
In the street lay the corpses of the savages that had fallen before
the pack the night before. From one of these Tarzan seized a spear
and knob stick, and with Mugambi at his side and the snarling pack
about him, he met the natives as they poured through the gate.
Fierce and terrible was the battle that ensued, but at last the
savages were routed, more by terror, perhaps, at sight of a black
man and a white fighting in company with a panther and the huge
fierce apes of Akut, than because of their inability to overcome
the relatively small force that opposed them.
One prisoner fell into the hands of Tarzan, and him the ape-man
questioned in an effort to learn what had become of Rokoff and his
party. Promised his liberty in return for the information, the
black told all he knew concerning the movements of the Russian.
It seemed that early in the morning their chief had attempted to
prevail upon the whites to return with him to the village and with
their guns destroy the ferocious pack that had taken possession of
it, but Rokoff appeared to entertain even more fears of the giant
white man and his strange companions than even the blacks themselves.
Upon no conditions would he consent to returning even within sight
of the village. Instead, he took his party hurriedly to the river,
where they stole a number of canoes the blacks had hidden there.
The last that had been seen of them they had been paddling strongly
up-stream, their porters from Kaviri's village wielding the blades.
So once more Tarzan of the Apes with his hideous pack took up his
search for the ape-man's son and the pursuit of his abductor.
For weary days they followed through an almost uninhabited country,
only to learn at last that they were upon the wrong trail. The
little band had been reduced by three, for three of Akut's apes
had fallen in the fighting at the village. Now, with Akut, there
were five great apes, and Sheeta was there--and Mugambi and Tarzan.
The ape-man no longer heard rumors even of the three who had
preceded Rokoff--the white man and woman and the child. Who the
man and woman were he could not guess, but that the child was his
was enough to keep him hot upon the trail. He was sure that Rokoff
would be following this trio, and so he felt confident that so long
as he could keep upon the Russian's trail he would be winning so
much nearer to the time he might snatch his son from the dangers
and horrors that menaced him.
In retracing their way after losing Rokoff's trail Tarzan picked
it up again at a point where the Russian had left the river and
taken to the brush in a northerly direction. He could only account
for this change on the ground that the child had been carried away
from the river by the two who now had possession of it.
Nowhere along the way, however, could he gain definite information
that might assure him positively that the child was ahead of him.
Not a single native they questioned had seen or heard of this
other party, though nearly all had had direct experience with the
Russian or had talked with others who had.
It was with difficulty that Tarzan could find means to communicate
with the natives, as the moment their eyes fell upon his companions
they fled precipitately into the bush. His only alternative was
to go ahead of his pack and waylay an occasional warrior whom he
found alone in the jungle.
One day as he was thus engaged, tracking an unsuspecting savage,
he came upon the fellow in the act of hurling a spear at a wounded
white man who crouched in a clump of bush at the trail's side. The
white was one whom Tarzan had often seen, and whom he recognized
at once.
Deep in his memory was implanted those repulsive features--the
close-set eyes, the shifty expression, the drooping yellow moustache.
Instantly it occurred to the ape-man that this fellow had not been
among those who had accompanied Rokoff at the village where Tarzan
had been a prisoner. He had seen them all, and this fellow had
not been there. There could be but one explanation--he it was who
had fled ahead of the Russian with the woman and the child--and
the woman had been Jane Clayton. He was sure now of the meaning
of Rokoff's words.
The ape-man's face went white as he looked upon the pasty, vice-marked
countenance of the Swede. Across Tarzan's forehead stood out the
broad band of scarlet that marked the scar where, years before,
Terkoz had torn a great strip of the ape-man's scalp from his skull
in the fierce battle in which Tarzan had sustained his fitness to
the kingship of the apes of Kerchak.
The man was his prey--the black should not have him, and with the
thought he leaped upon the warrior, striking down the spear before
it could reach its mark. The black, whipping out his knife, turned
to do battle with this new enemy, while the Swede, lying in the
bush, witnessed a duel, the like of which he had never dreamed to
see--a half-naked white man battling with a half-naked black, hand
to hand with the crude weapons of primeval man at first, and then
with hands and teeth like the primordial brutes from whose loins
their forebears sprung.
For a time Anderssen did not recognize the white, and when at last
it dawned upon him that he had seen this giant before, his eyes
went wide in surprise that this growling, rending beast could ever
have been the well-groomed English gentleman who had been a prisoner
aboard the Kincaid.
An English nobleman! He had learned the identity of the Kincaid's
prisoners from Lady Greystoke during their flight up the Ugambi.
Before, in common with the other members of the crew of the steamer,
he had not known who the two might be.
The fight was over. Tarzan had been compelled to kill his antagonist,
as the fellow would not surrender.
The Swede saw the white man leap to his feet beside the corpse of
his foe, and placing one foot upon the broken neck lift his voice
in the hideous challenge of the victorious bull-ape.
Anderssen shuddered. Then Tarzan turned toward him. His face was
cold and cruel, and in the grey eyes the Swede read murder.
"Where is my wife?" growled the ape-man. "Where is the child?"
Anderssen tried to reply, but a sudden fit of coughing choked him.
There was an arrow entirely through his chest, and as he coughed
the blood from his wounded lung poured suddenly from his mouth and
Tarzan stood waiting for the paroxysm to pass. Like a bronze
image--cold, hard, and relentless--he stood over the helpless man,
waiting to wring such information from him as he needed, and then
to kill.
Presently the coughing and haemorrhage ceased, and again the wounded
man tried to speak. Tarzan knelt near the faintly moving lips.
"The wife and child!" he repeated. "Where are they?"
Anderssen pointed up the trail.
"The Russian--he got them," he whispered.
"How did you come here?" continued Tarzan. "Why are you not with
"They catch us," replied Anderssen, in a voice so low that the
ape-man could just distinguish the words. "They catch us. Ay
fight, but my men they all run away. Then they get me when Ay
ban vounded. Rokoff he say leave me here for the hyenas. That
vas vorse than to kill. He tak your vife and kid."
"What were you doing with them--where were you taking them?" asked
Tarzan, and then fiercely, leaping close to the fellow with fierce
eyes blazing with the passion of hate and vengeance that he had with
difficulty controlled, "What harm did you do to my wife or child?
Speak quick before I kill you! Make your peace with God! Tell me
the worst, or I will tear you to pieces with my hands and teeth.
You have seen that I can do it!"
A look of wide-eyed surprise overspread Anderssen's face.
"Why," he whispered, "Ay did not hurt them. Ay tried to save them
from that Russian. Your vife was kind to me on the Kincaid, and
Ay hear that little baby cry sometimes. Ay got a vife an' kid
for my own by Christiania an' Ay couldn't bear for to see them
separated an' in Rokoff's hands any more. That vas all. Do Ay
look like Ay ban here to hurt them?" he continued after a pause,
pointing to the arrow protruding from his breast.
There was something in the man's tone and expression that convinced
Tarzan of the truth of his assertions. More weighty than anything
else was the fact that Anderssen evidently seemed more hurt than
frightened. He knew he was going to die, so Tarzan's threats had
little effect upon him; but it was quite apparent that he wished
the Englishman to know the truth and not to wrong him by harbouring
the belief that his words and manner indicated that he had entertained.
The ape-man instantly dropped to his knees beside the Swede.
"I am sorry," he said very simply. "I had looked for none but
knaves in company with Rokoff. I see that I was wrong. That
is past now, and we will drop it for the more important matter of
getting you to a place of comfort and looking after your wounds.
We must have you on your feet again as soon as possible."
The Swede, smiling, shook his head.
"You go on an' look for the vife an' kid," he said. "Ay ban as
gude as dead already; but"--he hesitated--"Ay hate to think of the
hyenas. Von't you finish up this job?"
Tarzan shuddered. A moment ago he had been upon the point of killing
this man. Now he could no more have taken his life than he could
have taken the life of any of his best friends.
He lifted the Swede's head in his arms to change and ease his
Again came a fit of coughing and the terrible haemorrhage. After
it was over Anderssen lay with closed eyes.
Tarzan thought that he was dead, until he suddenly raised his eyes
to those of the ape-man, sighed, and spoke--in a very low, weak
"Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard!" he said, and died.
Chapter 11
Tarzan scooped a shallow grave for the Kincaid's cook, beneath whose
repulsive exterior had beaten the heart of a chivalrous gentleman.
That was all he could do in the cruel jungle for the man who had
given his life in the service of his little son and his wife.
Then Tarzan took up again the pursuit of Rokoff. Now that he was
positive that the woman ahead of him was indeed Jane, and that she
had again fallen into the hands of the Russian, it seemed that with
all the incredible speed of his fleet and agile muscles he moved
at but a snail's pace.
It was with difficulty that he kept the trail, for there were many
paths through the jungle at this point--crossing and crisscrossing,
forking and branching in all directions, and over them all had
passed natives innumerable, coming and going. The spoor of the
white men was obliterated by that of the native carriers who had
followed them, and over all was the spoor of other natives and of
wild beasts.
It was most perplexing; yet Tarzan kept on assiduously, checking
his sense of sight against his sense of smell, that he might more
surely keep to the right trail. But, with all his care, night
found him at a point where he was positive that he was on the wrong
trail entirely.
He knew that the pack would follow his spoor, and so he had been
careful to make it as distinct as possible, brushing often against
the vines and creepers that walled the jungle-path, and in other
ways leaving his scent-spoor plainly discernible.
As darkness settled a heavy rain set in, and there was nothing for
the baffled ape-man to do but wait in the partial shelter of a huge
tree until morning; but the coming of dawn brought no cessation of
the torrential downpour.
For a week the sun was obscured by heavy clouds, while violent rain
and wind storms obliterated the last remnants of the spoor Tarzan
constantly though vainly sought.
During all this time he saw no signs of natives, nor of his own
pack, the members of which he feared had lost his trail during the
terrific storm. As the country was strange to him, he had been
unable to judge his course accurately, since he had had neither
sun by day nor moon nor stars by night to guide him.
When the sun at last broke through the clouds in the fore-noon of
the seventh day, it looked down upon an almost frantic ape-man.
For the first time in his life, Tarzan of the Apes had been lost in
the jungle. That the experience should have befallen him at such
a time seemed cruel beyond expression. Somewhere in this savage
land his wife and son lay in the clutches of the arch-fiend Rokoff.
What hideous trials might they not have undergone during those
seven awful days that nature had thwarted him in his endeavours to
locate them? Tarzan knew the Russian, in whose power they were,
so well that he could not doubt but that the man, filled with
rage that Jane had once escaped him, and knowing that Tarzan might
be close upon his trail, would wreak without further loss of time
whatever vengeance his polluted mind might be able to conceive.
But now that the sun shone once more, the ape-man was still at a
loss as to what direction to take. He knew that Rokoff had left
the river in pursuit of Anderssen, but whether he would continue
inland or return to the Ugambi was a question.
The ape-man had seen that the river at the point he had left it
was growing narrow and swift, so that he judged that it could not
be navigable even for canoes to any great distance farther toward
its source. However, if Rokoff had not returned to the river, in
what direction had he proceeded?
From the direction of Anderssen's flight with Jane and the child
Tarzan was convinced that the man had purposed attempting the
tremendous feat of crossing the continent to Zanzibar; but whether
Rokoff would dare so dangerous a journey or not was a question.
Fear might drive him to the attempt now that he knew the manner of
horrible pack that was upon his trail, and that Tarzan of the Apes
was following him to wreak upon him the vengeance that he deserved.
At last the ape-man determined to continue toward the northeast
in the general direction of German East Africa until he came upon
natives from whom he might gain information as to Rokoff's whereabouts.
The second day following the cessation of the rain Tarzan came
upon a native village the inhabitants of which fled into the bush
the instant their eyes fell upon him. Tarzan, not to be thwarted
in any such manner as this, pursued them, and after a brief chase
caught up with a young warrior. The fellow was so badly frightened
that he was unable to defend himself, dropping his weapons and
falling upon the ground, wide-eyed and screaming as he gazed on
his captor.
It was with considerable difficulty that the ape-man quieted the
fellow's fears sufficiently to obtain a coherent statement from
him as to the cause of his uncalled-for terror.
From him Tarzan learned, by dint of much coaxing, that a party of
whites had passed through the village several days before. These
men had told them of a terrible white devil that pursued them,
warning the natives against it and the frightful pack of demons
that accompanied it.
The black had recognized Tarzan as the white devil from the descriptions
given by the whites and their black servants. Behind him he had
expected to see a horde of demons disguised as apes and panthers.
In this Tarzan saw the cunning hand of Rokoff. The Russian
was attempting to make travel as difficult as possible for him by
turning the natives against him in superstitious fear.
The native further told Tarzan that the white man who had led the
recent expedition had promised them a fabulous reward if they would
kill the white devil. This they had fully intended doing should
the opportunity present itself; but the moment they had seen Tarzan
their blood had turned to water, as the porters of the white men
had told them would be the case.
Finding the ape-man made no attempt to harm him, the native at last
recovered his grasp upon his courage, and, at Tarzan's suggestion,
accompanied the white devil back to the village, calling as he went
for his fellows to return also, as "the white devil has promised to
do you no harm if you come back right away and answer his questions."
One by one the blacks straggled into the village, but that their
fears were not entirely allayed was evident from the amount of
white that showed about the eyes of the majority of them as they
cast constant and apprehensive sidelong glances at the ape-man.
The chief was among the first to return to the village, and as it
was he that Tarzan was most anxious to interview, he lost no time
in entering into a palaver with the black.
The fellow was short and stout, with an unusually low and degraded
countenance and apelike arms. His whole expression denoted
Only the superstitious terror engendered in him by the stories poured
into his ears by the whites and blacks of the Russian's party kept
him from leaping upon Tarzan with his warriors and slaying him
forthwith, for he and his people were inveterate maneaters. But
the fear that he might indeed be a devil, and that out there in
the jungle behind him his fierce demons waited to do his bidding,
kept M'ganwazam from putting his desires into action.
Tarzan questioned the fellow closely, and by comparing his statements
with those of the young warrior he had first talked with he learned
that Rokoff and his safari were in terror-stricken retreat in the
direction of the far East Coast.
Many of the Russian's porters had already deserted him. In that
very village he had hanged five for theft and attempted desertion.
Judging, however, from what the Waganwazam had learned from those
of the Russian's blacks who were not too far gone in terror of the
brutal Rokoff to fear even to speak of their plans, it was apparent
that he would not travel any great distance before the last of
his porters, cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, askari, and even his
headman, would have turned back into the bush, leaving him to the
mercy of the merciless jungle.
M'ganwazam denied that there had been any white woman or child with
the party of whites; but even as he spoke Tarzan was convinced that
he lied. Several times the ape-man approached the subject from
different angles, but never was he successful in surprising the
wily cannibal into a direct contradiction of his original statement
that there had been no women or children with the party.
Tarzan demanded food of the chief, and after considerable haggling
on the part of the monarch succeeded in obtaining a meal. He then
tried to draw out others of the tribe, especially the young man
whom he had captured in the bush, but M'ganwazam's presence sealed
their lips.
At last, convinced that these people knew a great deal more than
they had told him concerning the whereabouts of the Russian and the
fate of Jane and the child, Tarzan determined to remain overnight
among them in the hope of discovering something further of importance.
When he had stated his decision to the chief he was rather surprised
to note the sudden change in the fellow's attitude toward him. From
apparent dislike and suspicion M'ganwazam became a most eager and
solicitous host.
Nothing would do but that the ape-man should occupy the best hut
in the village, from which M'ganwazam's oldest wife was forthwith
summarily ejected, while the chief took up his temporary abode in
the hut of one of his younger consorts.
Had Tarzan chanced to recall the fact that a princely reward had
been offered the blacks if they should succeed in killing him, he
might have more quickly interpreted M'ganwazam's sudden change in
To have the white giant sleeping peacefully in one of his own huts
would greatly facilitate the matter of earning the reward, and
so the chief was urgent in his suggestions that Tarzan, doubtless
being very much fatigued after his travels, should retire early to
the comforts of the anything but inviting palace.
As much as the ape-man detested the thought of sleeping within a
native hut, he had determined to do so this night, on the chance
that he might be able to induce one of the younger men to sit and
chat with him before the fire that burned in the centre of the
smoke-filled dwelling, and from him draw the truths he sought.
So Tarzan accepted the invitation of old M'ganwazam, insisting,
however, that he much preferred sharing a hut with some of the
younger men rather than driving the chief's old wife out in the
The toothless old hag grinned her appreciation of this suggestion,
and as the plan still better suited the chief's scheme, in that it
would permit him to surround Tarzan with a gang of picked assassins,
he readily assented, so that presently Tarzan had been installed
in a hut close to the village gate.
As there was to be a dance that night in honour of a band of recently
returned hunters, Tarzan was left alone in the hut, the young men,
as M'ganwazam explained, having to take part in the festivities.
As soon as the ape-man was safely installed in the trap, M'Ganwazam
called about him the young warriors whom he had selected to spend
the night with the white devil!
None of them was overly enthusiastic about the plan, since deep in
their superstitious hearts lay an exaggerated fear of the strange
white giant; but the word of M'ganwazam was law among his people,
so not one dared refuse the duty he was called upon to perform.
As M'ganwazam unfolded his plan in whispers to the savages squatting
about him the old, toothless hag, to whom Tarzan had saved her hut
for the night, hovered about the conspirators ostensibly to replenish
the supply of firewood for the blaze about which the men sat, but
really to drink in as much of their conversation as possible.
Tarzan had slept for perhaps an hour or two despite the savage
din of the revellers when his keen senses came suddenly alert to
a suspiciously stealthy movement in the hut in which he lay. The
fire had died down to a little heap of glowing embers, which
accentuated rather than relieved the darkness that shrouded the
interior of the evil-smelling dwelling, yet the trained senses of
the ape-man warned him of another presence creeping almost silently
toward him through the gloom.
He doubted that it was one of his hut mates returning from the
festivities, for he still heard the wild cries of the dancers and
the din of the tom-toms in the village street without. Who could
it be that took such pains to conceal his approach?
As the presence came within reach of him the ape-man bounded
lightly to the opposite side of the hut, his spear poised ready at
his side.
"Who is it," he asked, "that creeps upon Tarzan of the Apes, like
a hungry lion out of the darkness?"
"Silence, bwana!" replied an old cracked voice. "It is Tambudza--she
whose hut you would not take, and thus drive an old woman out into
the cold night."
"What does Tambudza want of Tarzan of the Apes?" asked the ape-man.
"You were kind to me to whom none is now kind, and I have come to
warn you in payment of your kindness," answered the old hag.
"Warn me of what?"
"M'ganwazam has chosen the young men who are to sleep in the hut
with you," replied Tambudza. "I was near as he talked with them,
and heard him issuing his instructions to them. When the dance
is run well into the morning they are to come to the hut.
"If you are awake they are to pretend that they have come to sleep,
but if you sleep it is M'ganwazam's command that you be killed.
If you are not then asleep they will wait quietly beside you until
you do sleep, and then they will all fall upon you together and
slay you. M'ganwazam is determined to win the reward the white
man has offered."
"I had forgotten the reward," said Tarzan, half to himself, and
then he added, "How may M'ganwazam hope to collect the reward now
that the white men who are my enemies have left his country and
gone he knows not where?"
"Oh, they have not gone far," replied Tambudza. "M'ganwazam knows
where they camp. His runners could quickly overtake them--they
move slowly."
"Where are they?" asked Tarzan.
"Do you wish to come to them?" asked Tambudza in way of reply.
Tarzan nodded.
"I cannot tell you where they lie so that you could come to the
place yourself, but I could lead you to them, bwana."
In their interest in the conversation neither of the speakers had
noticed the little figure which crept into the darkness of the
hut behind them, nor did they see it when it slunk noiselessly out
It was little Buulaoo, the chief's son by one of his younger
wives--a vindictive, degenerate little rascal who hated Tambudza,
and was ever seeking opportunities to spy upon her and report her
slightest breach of custom to his father.
"Come, then," said Tarzan quickly, "let us be on our way."
This Buulaoo did not hear, for he was already legging it up the
village street to where his hideous sire guzzled native beer, and
watched the evolutions of the frantic dancers leaping high in the
air and cavorting wildly in their hysterical capers.
So it happened that as Tarzan and Tambudza sneaked warily from the
village and melted into the Stygian darkness of the jungle two lithe
runners took their way in the same direction, though by another
When they had come sufficiently far from the village to make it
safe for them to speak above a whisper, Tarzan asked the old woman
if she had seen aught of a white woman and a little child.
"Yes, bwana," replied Tambudza, "there was a woman with them and
a little child--a little white piccaninny. It died here in our
village of the fever and they buried it!"
Chapter 12
A Black Scoundrel
When Jane Clayton regained consciousness she saw Anderssen standing
over her, holding the baby in his arms. As her eyes rested upon
them an expression of misery and horror overspread her countenance.
"What is the matter?" he asked. "You ban sick?"
"Where is my baby?" she cried, ignoring his questions.
Anderssen held out the chubby infant, but she shook her head.
"It is not mine," she said. "You knew that it was not mine. You
are a devil like the Russian."
Anderssen's blue eyes stretched in surprise.
"Not yours!" he exclaimed. "You tole me the kid aboard the Kincaid
ban your kid."
"Not this one," replied Jane dully. "The other. Where is the
other? There must have been two. I did not know about this one."
"There vasn't no other kid. Ay tank this ban yours. Ay am very
Anderssen fidgeted about, standing first on one foot and then upon
the other. It was perfectly evident to Jane that he was honest in
his protestations of ignorance of the true identity of the child.
Presently the baby commenced to crow, and bounce up and down in the
Swede's arms, at the same time leaning forward with little hands
out-reaching toward the young woman.
She could not withstand the appeal, and with a low cry she sprang
to her feet and gathered the baby to her breast.
For a few minutes she wept silently, her face buried in the baby's
soiled little dress. The first shock of disappointment that the
tiny thing had not been her beloved Jack was giving way to a great
hope that after all some miracle had occurred to snatch her baby
from Rokoff's hands at the last instant before the Kincaid sailed
from England.
Then, too, there was the mute appeal of this wee waif alone and
unloved in the midst of the horrors of the savage jungle. It was
this thought more than any other that had sent her mother's heart
out to the innocent babe, while still she suffered from disappointment
that she had been deceived in its identity.
"Have you no idea whose child this is?" she asked Anderssen.
The man shook his head.
"Not now," he said. "If he ain't ban your kid, Ay don' know whose
kid he do ban. Rokoff said it was yours. Ay tank he tank so, too.
"What do we do with it now? Ay can't go back to the Kincaid. Rokoff
would have me shot; but you can go back. Ay take you to the sea,
and then some of these black men they take you to the ship--eh?"
"No! no!" cried Jane. "Not for the world. I would rather die than
fall into the hands of that man again. No, let us go on and take
this poor little creature with us. If God is willing we shall be
saved in one way or another."
So they again took up their flight through the wilderness, taking
with them a half-dozen of the Mosulas to carry provisions and the
tents that Anderssen had smuggled aboard the small boat in preparation
for the attempted escape.
The days and nights of torture that the young woman suffered were
so merged into one long, unbroken nightmare of hideousness that
she soon lost all track of time. Whether they had been wandering
for days or years she could not tell. The one bright spot in
that eternity of fear and suffering was the little child whose tiny
hands had long since fastened their softly groping fingers firmly
about her heart.
In a way the little thing took the place and filled the aching
void that the theft of her own baby had left. It could never be
the same, of course, but yet, day by day, she found her mother-love,
enveloping the waif more closely until she sometimes sat with
closed eyes lost in the sweet imagining that the little bundle of
humanity at her breast was truly her own.
For some time their progress inland was extremely slow. Word came
to them from time to time through natives passing from the coast
on hunting excursions that Rokoff had not yet guessed the direction
of their flight. This, and the desire to make the journey as light
as possible for the gently bred woman, kept Anderssen to a slow
advance of short and easy marches with many rests.
The Swede insisted upon carrying the child while they travelled,
and in countless other ways did what he could to help Jane Clayton
conserve her strength. He had been terribly chagrined on discovering
the mistake he had made in the identity of the baby, but once the
young woman became convinced that his motives were truly chivalrous
she would not permit him longer to upbraid himself for the error
that he could not by any means have avoided.
At the close of each day's march Anderssen saw to the erection of
a comfortable shelter for Jane and the child. Her tent was always
pitched in the most favourable location. The thorn boma round
it was the strongest and most impregnable that the Mosula could
Her food was the best that their limited stores and the rifle of
the Swede could provide, but the thing that touched her heart the
closest was the gentle consideration and courtesy which the man
always accorded her.
That such nobility of character could lie beneath so repulsive an
exterior never ceased to be a source of wonder and amazement to
her, until at last the innate chivalry of the man, and his unfailing
kindliness and sympathy transformed his appearance in so far as
Jane was concerned until she saw only the sweetness of his character
mirrored in his countenance.
They had commenced to make a little better progress when word
reached them that Rokoff was but a few marches behind them, and
that he had at last discovered the direction of their flight. It
was then that Anderssen took to the river, purchasing a canoe from
a chief whose village lay a short distance from the Ugambi upon
the bank of a tributary.
Thereafter the little party of fugitives fled up the broad Ugambi,
and so rapid had their flight become that they no longer received
word of their pursuers. At the end of canoe navigation upon the
river, they abandoned their canoe and took to the jungle. Here
progress became at once arduous, slow, and dangerous.
The second day after leaving the Ugambi the baby fell ill with fever.
Anderssen knew what the outcome must be, but he had not the heart
to tell Jane Clayton the truth, for he had seen that the young
woman had come to love the child almost as passionately as though
it had been her own flesh and blood.
As the baby's condition precluded farther advance, Anderssen withdrew
a little from the main trail he had been following and built a camp
in a natural clearing on the bank of a little river.
Here Jane devoted her every moment to caring for the tiny sufferer,
and as though her sorrow and anxiety were not all that she could
bear, a further blow came with the sudden announcement of one of
the Mosula porters who had been foraging in the jungle adjacent
that Rokoff and his party were camped quite close to them, and
were evidently upon their trail to this little nook which all had
thought so excellent a hiding-place.
This information could mean but one thing, and that they must break
camp and fly onward regardless of the baby's condition. Jane
Clayton knew the traits of the Russian well enough to be positive
that he would separate her from the child the moment that he recaptured
them, and she knew that separation would mean the immediate death
of the baby.
As they stumbled forward through the tangled vegetation along an
old and almost overgrown game trail the Mosula porters deserted
them one by one.
The men had been staunch enough in their devotion and loyalty as
long as they were in no danger of being overtaken by the Russian
and his party. They had heard, however, so much of the atrocious
disposition of Rokoff that they had grown to hold him in mortal
terror, and now that they knew he was close upon them their timid
hearts would fortify them no longer, and as quickly as possible
they deserted the three whites.
Yet on and on went Anderssen and the girl. The Swede went ahead,
to hew a way through the brush where the path was entirely overgrown,
so that on this march it was necessary that the young woman carry
the child.
All day they marched. Late in the afternoon they realized that
they had failed. Close behind them they heard the noise of a large
safari advancing along the trail which they had cleared for their
When it became quite evident that they must be overtaken in a short
time Anderssen hid Jane behind a large tree, covering her and the
child with brush.
"There is a village about a mile farther on," he said to her. "The
Mosula told me its location before they deserted us. Ay try to
lead the Russian off your trail, then you go on to the village.
Ay tank the chief ban friendly to white men--the Mosula tal me he
ban. Anyhow, that was all we can do.
"After while you get chief to tak you down by the Mosula village
at the sea again, an' after a while a ship is sure to put into the
mouth of the Ugambi. Then you be all right. Gude-by an' gude luck
to you, lady!"
"But where are you going, Sven?" asked Jane. "Why can't you hide
here and go back to the sea with me?"
"Ay gotta tal the Russian you ban dead, so that he don't luke for
you no more," and Anderssen grinned.
"Why can't you join me then after you have told him that?" insisted
the girl.
Anderssen shook his head.
"Ay don't tank Ay join anybody any more after Ay tal the Russian
you ban dead," he said.
"You don't mean that you think he will kill you?" asked Jane, and
yet in her heart she knew that that was exactly what the great
scoundrel would do in revenge for his having been thwarted by the
Swede. Anderssen did not reply, other than to warn her to silence
and point toward the path along which they had just come.
"I don't care," whispered Jane Clayton. "I shall not let you die
to save me if I can prevent it in any way. Give me your revolver.
I can use that, and together we may be able to hold them off until
we can find some means of escape."
"It won't work, lady," replied Anderssen. "They would only get us
both, and then Ay couldn't do you no good at all. Think of the
kid, lady, and what it would be for you both to fall into Rokoff's
hands again. For his sake you must do what Ay say. Here, take my
rifle and ammunition; you may need them."
He shoved the gun and bandoleer into the shelter beside Jane. Then
he was gone.
She watched him as he returned along the path to meet the oncoming
safari of the Russian. Soon a turn in the trail hid him from view.
Her first impulse was to follow. With the rifle she might be of
assistance to him, and, further, she could not bear the terrible
thought of being left alone at the mercy of the fearful jungle
without a single friend to aid her.
She started to crawl from her shelter with the intention of running
after Anderssen as fast as she could. As she drew the baby close
to her she glanced down into its little face.
How red it was! How unnatural the little thing looked. She raised
the cheek to hers. It was fiery hot with fever!
With a little gasp of terror Jane Clayton rose to her feet in the
jungle path. The rifle and bandoleer lay forgotten in the shelter
beside her. Anderssen was forgotten, and Rokoff, and her great
All that rioted through her fear-mad brain was the fearful fact
that this little, helpless child was stricken with the terrible
jungle-fever, and that she was helpless to do aught to allay its
sufferings--sufferings that were sure to coming during ensuing
intervals of partial consciousness.
Her one thought was to find some one who could help her--some
woman who had had children of her own--and with the thought came
recollection of the friendly village of which Anderssen had spoken.
If she could but reach it--in time!
There was no time to be lost. Like a startled antelope she turned
and fled up the trail in the direction Anderssen had indicated.
From far behind came the sudden shouting of men, the sound of shots,
and then silence. She knew that Anderssen had met the Russian.
A half-hour later she stumbled, exhausted, into a little thatched
village. Instantly she was surrounded by men, women, and children.
Eager, curious, excited natives plied her with a hundred questions,
no one of which she could understand or answer.
All that she could do was to point tearfully at the baby, now wailing
piteously in her arms, and repeat over and over, "Fever--fever--fever."
The blacks did not understand her words, but they saw the cause of
her trouble, and soon a young woman had pulled her into a hut and
with several others was doing her poor best to quiet the child and
allay its agony.
The witch doctor came and built a little fire before the infant,
upon which he boiled some strange concoction in a small earthen
pot, making weird passes above it and mumbling strange, monotonous
chants. Presently he dipped a zebra's tail into the brew, and
with further mutterings and incantations sprinkled a few drops of
the liquid over the baby's face.
After he had gone the women sat about and moaned and wailed until
Jane thought that she should go mad; but, knowing that they were
doing it all out of the kindness of their hearts, she endured the
frightful waking nightmare of those awful hours in dumb and patient
It must have been well toward midnight that she became conscious
of a sudden commotion in the village. She heard the voices of the
natives raised in controversy, but she could not understand the
Presently she heard footsteps approaching the hut in which she
squatted before a bright fire with the baby on her lap. The little
thing lay very still now, its lids, half-raised, showed the pupils
horribly upturned.
Jane Clayton looked into the little face with fear-haunted eyes.
It was not her baby--not her flesh and blood--but how close, how
dear the tiny, helpless thing had become to her. Her heart, bereft
of its own, had gone out to this poor, little, nameless waif, and
lavished upon it all the love that had been denied her during the
long, bitter weeks of her captivity aboard the Kincaid.
She saw that the end was near, and though she was terrified
at contemplation of her loss, still she hoped that it would come
quickly now and end the sufferings of the little victim.
The footsteps she had heard without the hut now halted before the
door. There was a whispered colloquy, and a moment later M'ganwazam,
chief of the tribe, entered. She had seen but little of him, as
the women had taken her in hand almost as soon as she had entered
the village.
M'ganwazam, she now saw, was an evil-appearing savage with every
mark of brutal degeneracy writ large upon his bestial countenance.
To Jane Clayton he looked more gorilla than human. He tried to
converse with her, but without success, and finally he called to
some one without.
In answer to his summons another Negro entered--a man of very
different appearance from M'ganwazam--so different, in fact, that
Jane Clayton immediately decided that he was of another tribe.
This man acted as interpreter, and almost from the first question
that M'ganwazam put to her, Jane felt an intuitive conviction that
the savage was attempting to draw information from her for some
ulterior motive.
She thought it strange that the fellow should so suddenly have
become interested in her plans, and especially in her intended
destination when her journey had been interrupted at his village.
Seeing no reason for withholding the information, she told him the
truth; but when he asked if she expected to meet her husband at
the end of the trip, she shook her head negatively.
Then he told her the purpose of his visit, talking through the
"I have just learned," he said, "from some men who live by the side
of the great water, that your husband followed you up the Ugambi
for several marches, when he was at last set upon by natives and
killed. Therefore I have told you this that you might not waste
your time in a long journey if you expected to meet your husband
at the end of it; but instead could turn and retrace your steps to
the coast."
Jane thanked M'ganwazam for his kindness, though her heart was
numb with suffering at this new blow. She who had suffered so much
was at last beyond reach of the keenest of misery's pangs, for her
senses were numbed and calloused.
With bowed head she sat staring with unseeing eyes upon the face
of the baby in her lap. M'ganwazam had left the hut. Sometime
later she heard a noise at the entrance--another had entered. One
of the women sitting opposite her threw a faggot upon the dying
embers of the fire between them.
With a sudden flare it burst into renewed flame, lighting up the
hut's interior as though by magic.
The flame disclosed to Jane Clayton's horrified gaze that the baby
was quite dead. How long it had been so she could not guess.
A choking lump rose to her throat, her head drooped in silent misery
upon the little bundle that she had caught suddenly to her breast.
For a moment the silence of the hut was unbroken. Then the native
woman broke into a hideous wail.
A man coughed close before Jane Clayton and spoke her name.
With a start she raised her eyes to look into the sardonic countenance
of Nikolas Rokoff.
Chapter 13
For a moment Rokoff stood sneering down upon Jane Clayton, then
his eyes fell to the little bundle in her lap. Jane had drawn one
corner of the blanket over the child's face, so that to one who
did not know the truth it seemed but to be sleeping.
"You have gone to a great deal of unnecessary trouble," said Rokoff,
"to bring the child to this village. If you had attended to your
own affairs I should have brought it here myself.
"You would have been spared the dangers and fatigue of the journey.
But I suppose I must thank you for relieving me of the inconvenience
of having to care for a young infant on the march.
"This is the village to which the child was destined from the first.
M'ganwazam will rear him carefully, making a good cannibal of him,
and if you ever chance to return to civilization it will doubtless
afford you much food for thought as you compare the luxuries and
comforts of your life with the details of the life your son is
living in the village of the Waganwazam.
"Again I thank you for bringing him here for me, and now I must ask
you to surrender him to me, that I may turn him over to his foster
parents." As he concluded Rokoff held out his hands for the child,
a nasty grin of vindictiveness upon his lips.
To his surprise Jane Clayton rose and, without a word of protest,
laid the little bundle in his arms.
"Here is the child," she said. "Thank God he is beyond your power
to harm."
Grasping the import of her words, Rokoff snatched the blanket from
the child's face to seek confirmation of his fears. Jane Clayton
watched his expression closely.
She had been puzzled for days for an answer to the question of
Rokoff's knowledge of the child's identity. If she had been in
doubt before the last shred of that doubt was wiped away as she
witnessed the terrible anger of the Russian as he looked upon the
dead face of the baby and realized that at the last moment his
dearest wish for vengeance had been thwarted by a higher power.
Almost throwing the body of the child back into Jane Clayton's
arms, Rokoff stamped up and down the hut, pounding the air with his
clenched fists and cursing terribly. At last he halted in front
of the young woman, bringing his face down close to hers.
"You are laughing at me," he shrieked. "You think that you have
beaten me--eh? I'll show you, as I have shown the miserable ape
you call `husband,' what it means to interfere with the plans of
Nikolas Rokoff.
"You have robbed me of the child. I cannot make him the son of
a cannibal chief, but"--and he paused as though to let the full
meaning of his threat sink deep--"I can make the mother the wife
of a cannibal, and that I shall do--after I have finished with her
If he had thought to wring from Jane Clayton any sign of terror he
failed miserably. She was beyond that. Her brain and nerves were
numb to suffering and shock.
To his surprise a faint, almost happy smile touched her lips. She
was thinking with thankful heart that this poor little corpse was
not that of her own wee Jack, and that--best of all--Rokoff evidently
did not know the truth.
She would have liked to have flaunted the fact in his face, but
she dared not. If he continued to believe that the child had been
hers, so much safer would be the real Jack wherever he might be.
She had, of course, no knowledge of the whereabouts of her little
son--she did not know, even, that he still lived, and yet there
was the chance that he might.
It was more than possible that without Rokoff's knowledge this child
had been substituted for hers by one of the Russian's confederates,
and that even now her son might be safe with friends in London,
where there were many, both able and willing, to have paid any
ransom which the traitorous conspirator might have asked for the
safe release of Lord Greystoke's son.
She had thought it all out a hundred times since she had discovered
that the baby which Anderssen had placed in her arms that night upon
the Kincaid was not her own, and it had been a constant and gnawing
source of happiness to her to dream the whole fantasy through in
its every detail.
No, the Russian must never know that this was not her baby. She
realized that her position was hopeless--with Anderssen and her
husband dead there was no one in all the world with a desire to
succour her who knew where she might be found.
Rokoff's threat, she realized, was no idle one. That he would
do, or attempt to do, all that he had promised, she was perfectly
sure; but at the worst it meant but a little earlier release from
the hideous anguish that she had been enduring. She must find some
way to take her own life before the Russian could harm her further.
Just now she wanted time--time to think and prepare herself for the
end. She felt that she could not take the last, awful step until
she had exhausted every possibility of escape. She did not care
to live unless she might find her way back to her own child, but
slight as such a hope appeared she would not admit its impossibility
until the last moment had come, and she faced the fearful reality
of choosing between the final alternatives--Nikolas Rokoff on one
hand and self-destruction upon the other.
"Go away!" she said to the Russian. "Go away and leave me in peace
with my dead. Have you not brought sufficient misery and anguish
upon me without attempting to harm me further? What wrong have I
ever done you that you should persist in persecuting me?"
"You are suffering for the sins of the monkey you chose when you
might have had the love of a gentleman--of Nikolas Rokoff," he
replied. "But where is the use in discussing the matter? We shall
bury the child here, and you will return with me at once to my own
camp. Tomorrow I shall bring you back and turn you over to your
new husband--the lovely M'ganwazam. Come!"
He reached out for the child. Jane, who was on her feet now, turned
away from him.
"I shall bury the body," she said. "Send some men to dig a grave
outside the village."
Rokoff was anxious to have the thing over and get back to his camp
with his victim. He thought he saw in her apathy a resignation
to her fate. Stepping outside the hut, he motioned her to follow
him, and a moment later, with his men, he escorted Jane beyond the
village, where beneath a great tree the blacks scooped a shallow
Wrapping the tiny body in a blanket, Jane laid it tenderly in the
black hole, and, turning her head that she might not see the mouldy
earth falling upon the pitiful little bundle, she breathed a prayer
beside the grave of the nameless waif that had won its way to the
innermost recesses of her heart.
Then, dry-eyed but suffering, she rose and followed the Russian
through the Stygian blackness of the jungle, along the winding,
leafy corridor that led from the village of M'ganwazam, the black
cannibal, to the camp of Nikolas Rokoff, the white fiend.
Beside them, in the impenetrable thickets that fringed the path,
rising to arch above it and shut out the moon, the girl could hear
the stealthy, muffled footfalls of great beasts, and ever round
about them rose the deafening roars of hunting lions, until the
earth trembled to the mighty sound.
The porters lighted torches now and waved them upon either hand
to frighten off the beasts of prey. Rokoff urged them to greater
speed, and from the quavering note in his voice Jane Clayton knew
that he was weak from terror.
The sounds of the jungle night recalled most vividly the days
and nights that she had spent in a similar jungle with her forest
god--with the fearless and unconquerable Tarzan of the Apes. Then
there had been no thoughts of terror, though the jungle noises were
new to her, and the roar of a lion had seemed the most awe-inspiring
sound upon the great earth.
How different would it be now if she knew that he was somewhere
there in the wilderness, seeking her! Then, indeed, would there
be that for which to live, and every reason to believe that succour
was close at hand--but he was dead! It was incredible that it
should be so.
There seemed no place in death for that great body and those mighty
thews. Had Rokoff been the one to tell her of her lord's passing
she would have known that he lied. There could be no reason, she
thought, why M'ganwazam should have deceived her. She did not know
that the Russian had talked with the savage a few minutes before
the chief had come to her with his tale.
At last they reached the rude boma that Rokoff's porters had thrown
up round the Russian's camp. Here they found all in turmoil. She
did not know what it was all about, but she saw that Rokoff was
very angry, and from bits of conversation which she could translate
she gleaned that there had been further desertions while he had
been absent, and that the deserters had taken the bulk of his food
and ammunition.
When he had done venting his rage upon those who remained he returned
to where Jane stood under guard of a couple of his white sailors.
He grasped her roughly by the arm and started to drag her toward
his tent. The girl struggled and fought to free herself, while
the two sailors stood by, laughing at the rare treat.
Rokoff did not hesitate to use rough methods when he found that he
was to have difficulty in carrying out his designs. Repeatedly
he struck Jane Clayton in the face, until at last, half-conscious,
she was dragged within his tent.
Rokoff's boy had lighted the Russian's lamp, and now at a word from
his master he made himself scarce. Jane had sunk to the floor in
the middle of the enclosure. Slowly her numbed senses were returning
to her and she was commencing to think very fast indeed. Quickly
her eyes ran round the interior of the tent, taking in every detail
of its equipment and contents.
Now the Russian was lifting her to her feet and attempting to drag
her to the camp cot that stood at one side of the tent. At his
belt hung a heavy revolver. Jane Clayton's eyes riveted themselves
upon it. Her palm itched to grasp the huge butt. She feigned
again to swoon, but through her half-closed lids she waited her
It came just as Rokoff was lifting her upon the cot. A noise at
the tent door behind him brought his head quickly about and away
from the girl. The butt of the gun was not an inch from her hand.
With a single, lightning-like move she snatched the weapon from
its holster, and at the same instant Rokoff turned back toward her,
realizing his peril.
She did not dare fire for fear the shot would bring his people about
him, and with Rokoff dead she would fall into hands no better than
his and to a fate probably even worse than he alone could have
imagined. The memory of the two brutes who stood and laughed as
Rokoff struck her was still vivid.
As the rage and fear-filled countenance of the Slav turned toward
her Jane Clayton raised the heavy revolver high above the pasty
face and with all her strength dealt the man a terrific blow between
the eyes.
Without a sound he sank, limp and unconscious, to the ground. A
moment later the girl stood beside him--for a moment at least free
from the menace of his lust.
Outside the tent she again heard the noise that had distracted
Rokoff's attention. What it was she did not know, but, fearing the
return of the servant and the discovery of her deed, she stepped
quickly to the camp table upon which burned the oil lamp and
extinguished the smudgy, evil-smelling flame.
In the total darkness of the interior she paused for a moment
to collect her wits and plan for the next step in her venture for
About her was a camp of enemies. Beyond these foes a black wilderness
of savage jungle peopled by hideous beasts of prey and still more
hideous human beasts.
There was little or no chance that she could survive even a few
days of the constant dangers that would confront her there; but
the knowledge that she had already passed through so many perils
unscathed, and that somewhere out in the faraway world a little
child was doubtless at that very moment crying for her, filled her
with determination to make the effort to accomplish the seemingly
impossible and cross that awful land of horror in search of the
sea and the remote chance of succour she might find there.
Rokoff's tent stood almost exactly in the centre of the boma.
Surrounding it were the tents and shelters of his white companions
and the natives of his safari. To pass through these and find
egress through the boma seemed a task too fraught with insurmountable
obstacles to warrant even the slightest consideration, and yet
there was no other way.
To remain in the tent until she should be discovered would be to
set at naught all that she had risked to gain her freedom, and so
with stealthy step and every sense alert she approached the back
of the tent to set out upon the first stage of her adventure.
Groping along the rear of the canvas wall, she found that there
was no opening there. Quickly she returned to the side of the
unconscious Russian. In his belt her groping fingers came upon
the hilt of a long hunting-knife, and with this she cut a hole in
the back wall of the tent.
Silently she stepped without. To her immense relief she saw that
the camp was apparently asleep. In the dim and flickering light
of the dying fires she saw but a single sentry, and he was dozing
upon his haunches at the opposite side of the enclosure.
Keeping the tent between him and herself, she crossed between the
small shelters of the native porters to the boma wall beyond.
Outside, in the darkness of the tangled jungle, she could hear
the roaring of lions, the laughing of hyenas, and the countless,
nameless noises of the midnight jungle.
For a moment she hesitated, trembling. The thought of the prowling
beasts out there in the darkness was appalling. Then, with a
sudden brave toss of her head, she attacked the thorny boma wall
with her delicate hands. Torn and bleeding though they were, she
worked on breathlessly until she had made an opening through which
she could worm her body, and at last she stood outside the enclosure.
Behind her lay a fate worse than death, at the hands of human
Before her lay an almost certain fate--but it was only death--sudden,
merciful, and honourable death.
Without a tremor and without regret she darted away from the camp,
and a moment later the mysterious jungle had closed about her.
Chapter 14
Alone in the Jungle
Tambudza, leading Tarzan of the Apes toward the camp of the Russian,
moved very slowly along the winding jungle path, for she was old
and her legs stiff with rheumatism.
So it was that the runners dispatched by M'ganwazam to warn Rokoff
that the white giant was in his village and that he would be slain
that night reached the Russian's camp before Tarzan and his ancient
guide had covered half the distance.
The guides found the white man's camp in a turmoil. Rokoff had
that morning been discovered stunned and bleeding within his tent.
When he had recovered his senses and realized that Jane Clayton
had escaped, his rage was boundless.
Rushing about the camp with his rifle, he had sought to shoot down
the native sentries who had allowed the young woman to elude their
vigilance, but several of the other whites, realizing that they were
already in a precarious position owing to the numerous desertions
that Rokoff's cruelty had brought about, seized and disarmed him.
Then came the messengers from M'ganwazam, but scarce had they told
their story and Rokoff was preparing to depart with them for their
village when other runners, panting from the exertions of their swift
flight through the jungle, rushed breathless into the firelight,
crying that the great white giant had escaped from M'ganwazam and
was already on his way to wreak vengeance against his enemies.
Instantly confusion reigned within the encircling boma. The blacks
belonging to Rokoff's safari were terror-stricken at the thought
of the proximity of the white giant who hunted through the jungle
with a fierce pack of apes and panthers at his heels.
Before the whites realized what had happened the superstitious
fears of the natives had sent them scurrying into the bush--their
own carriers as well as the messengers from M'ganwazam--but even in
their haste they had not neglected to take with them every article
of value upon which they could lay their hands.
Thus Rokoff and the seven white sailors found themselves deserted
and robbed in the midst of a wilderness.
The Russian, following his usual custom, berated his companions,
laying all the blame upon their shoulders for the events which had
led up to the almost hopeless condition in which they now found
themselves; but the sailors were in no mood to brook his insults
and his cursing.
In the midst of this tirade one of them drew a revolver and fired
point-blank at the Russian. The fellow's aim was poor, but his
act so terrified Rokoff that he turned and fled for his tent.
As he ran his eyes chanced to pass beyond the boma to the edge of
the forest, and there he caught a glimpse of that which sent his
craven heart cold with a fear that almost expunged his terror of
the seven men at his back, who by this time were all firing in hate
and revenge at his retreating figure.
What he saw was the giant figure of an almost naked white man
emerging from the bush.
Darting into his tent, the Russian did not halt in his flight, but
kept right on through the rear wall, taking advantage of the long
slit that Jane Clayton had made the night before.
The terror-stricken Muscovite scurried like a hunted rabbit through
the hole that still gaped in the boma's wall at the point where
his own prey had escaped, and as Tarzan approached the camp upon
the opposite side Rokoff disappeared into the jungle in the wake
of Jane Clayton.
As the ape-man entered the boma with old Tambudza at his elbow the
seven sailors, recognizing him, turned and fled in the opposite
direction. Tarzan saw that Rokoff was not among them, and so he
let them go their way--his business was with the Russian, whom he
expected to find in his tent. As to the sailors, he was sure that
the jungle would exact from them expiation for their villainies,
nor, doubtless, was he wrong, for his were the last white man's
eyes to rest upon any of them.
Finding Rokoff's tent empty, Tarzan was about to set out in search
of the Russian when Tambudza suggested to him that the departure
of the white man could only have resulted from word reaching him
from M'ganwazam that Tarzan was in his village.
"He has doubtless hastened there," argued the old woman. "If you
would find him let us return at once."
Tarzan himself thought that this would probably prove to be the fact,
so he did not waste time in an endeavour to locate the Russian's
trail, but, instead, set out briskly for the village of M'ganwazam,
leaving Tambudza to plod slowly in his wake.
His one hope was that Jane was still safe and with Rokoff. If this
was the case, it would be but a matter of an hour or more before
he should be able to wrest her from the Russian.
He knew now that M'ganwazam was treacherous and that he might have
to fight to regain possession of his wife. He wished that Mugambi,
Sheeta, Akut, and the balance of the pack were with him, for he
realized that single-handed it would be no child's play to bring
Jane safely from the clutches of two such scoundrels as Rokoff and
the wily M'ganwazam.
To his surprise he found no sign of either Rokoff or Jane in the
village, and as he could not trust the word of the chief, he wasted
no time in futile inquiry. So sudden and unexpected had been
his return, and so quickly had he vanished into the jungle after
learning that those he sought were not among the Waganwazam, that
old M'ganwazam had no time to prevent his going.
Swinging through the trees, he hastened back to the deserted camp
he had so recently left, for here, he knew, was the logical place
to take up the trail of Rokoff and Jane.
Arrived at the boma, he circled carefully about the outside of the
enclosure until, opposite a break in the thorny wall, he came to
indications that something had recently passed into the jungle.
His acute sense of smell told him that both of those he sought had
fled from the camp in this direction, and a moment later he had
taken up the trail and was following the faint spoor.
Far ahead of him a terror-stricken young woman was slinking along
a narrow game-trail, fearful that the next moment would bring her
face to face with some savage beast or equally savage man. As she
ran on, hoping against hope that she had hit upon the direction
that would lead her eventually to the great river, she came suddenly
upon a familiar spot.
At one side of the trail, beneath a giant tree, lay a little heap
of loosely piled brush--to her dying day that little spot of jungle
would be indelibly impressed upon her memory. It was where Anderssen
had hidden her--where he had given up his life in the vain effort
to save her from Rokoff.
At sight of it she recalled the rifle and ammunition that the man
had thrust upon her at the last moment. Until now she had forgotten
them entirely. Still clutched in her hand was the revolver she
had snatched from Rokoff's belt, but that could contain at most
not over six cartridges--not enough to furnish her with food and
protection both on the long journey to the sea.
With bated breath she groped beneath the little mound, scarce daring
to hope that the treasure remained where she had left it; but, to
her infinite relief and joy, her hand came at once upon the barrel
of the heavy weapon and then upon the bandoleer of cartridges.
As she threw the latter about her shoulder and felt the weight of
the big game-gun in her hand a sudden sense of security suffused
her. It was with new hope and a feeling almost of assured success
that she again set forward upon her journey.
That night she slept in the crotch of a tree, as Tarzan had so
often told her that he was accustomed to doing, and early the next
morning was upon her way again. Late in the afternoon, as she was
about to cross a little clearing, she was startled at the sight of
a huge ape coming from the jungle upon the opposite side.
The wind was blowing directly across the clearing between them,
and Jane lost no time in putting herself downwind from the huge
creature. Then she hid in a clump of heavy bush and watched,
holding the rifle ready for instant use.
To her consternation she saw that the apes were pausing in the centre
of the clearing. They came together in a little knot, where they
stood looking backward, as though in expectation of the coming of
others of their tribe. Jane wished that they would go on, for she
knew that at any moment some little, eddying gust of wind might
carry her scent down to their nostrils, and then what would the
protection of her rifle amount to in the face of those gigantic
muscles and mighty fangs?
Her eyes moved back and forth between the apes and the edge of the
jungle toward which they were gazing until at last she perceived
the object of their halt and the thing that they awaited. They
were being stalked.
Of this she was positive, as she saw the lithe, sinewy form of
a panther glide noiselessly from the jungle at the point at which
the apes had emerged but a moment before.
Quickly the beast trotted across the clearing toward the anthropoids.
Jane wondered at their apparent apathy, and a moment later her wonder
turned to amazement as she saw the great cat come quite close to
the apes, who appeared entirely unconcerned by its presence, and,
squatting down in their midst, fell assiduously to the business of
preening, which occupies most of the waking hours of the cat family.
If the young woman was surprised by the sight of these natural
enemies fraternizing, it was with emotions little short of fear
for her own sanity that she presently saw a tall, muscular warrior
enter the clearing and join the group of savage beasts assembled
At first sight of the man she had been positive that he would be
torn to pieces, and she had half risen from her shelter, raising
her rifle to her shoulder to do what she could to avert the man's
terrible fate.
Now she saw that he seemed actually conversing with the beasts--issuing
orders to them.
Presently the entire company filed on across the clearing and
disappeared in the jungle upon the opposite side.
With a gasp of mingled incredulity and relief Jane Clayton staggered
to her feet and fled on away from the terrible horde that had
just passed her, while a half-mile behind her another individual,
following the same trail as she, lay frozen with terror behind an
ant-hill as the hideous band passed quite close to him.
This one was Rokoff; but he had recognized the members of the awful
aggregation as allies of Tarzan of the Apes. No sooner, therefore,
had the beasts passed him than he rose and raced through the jungle
as fast as he could go, in order that he might put as much distance
as possible between himself and these frightful beasts.
So it happened that as Jane Clayton came to the bank of the river,
down which she hoped to float to the ocean and eventual rescue,
Nikolas Rokoff was but a short distance in her rear.
Upon the bank the girl saw a great dugout drawn half-way from the
water and tied securely to a near-by tree.
This, she felt, would solve the question of transportation to the
sea could she but launch the huge, unwieldy craft. Unfastening
the rope that had moored it to the tree, Jane pushed frantically
upon the bow of the heavy canoe, but for all the results that were
apparent she might as well have been attempting to shove the earth
out of its orbit.
She was about winded when it occurred to her to try working the
dugout into the stream by loading the stern with ballast and then
rocking the bow back and forth along the bank until the craft
eventually worked itself into the river.
There were no stones or rocks available, but along the shore she
found quantities of driftwood deposited by the river at a slightly
higher stage. These she gathered and piled far in the stern of the
boat, until at last, to her immense relief, she saw the bow rise
gently from the mud of the bank and the stern drift slowly with
the current until it again lodged a few feet farther down-stream.
Jane found that by running back and forth between the bow and stern
she could alternately raise and lower each end of the boat as she
shifted her weight from one end to the other, with the result that
each time she leaped to the stern the canoe moved a few inches
farther into the river.
As the success of her plan approached more closely to fruition she
became so wrapped in her efforts that she failed to note the figure
of a man standing beneath a huge tree at the edge of the jungle
from which he had just emerged.
He watched her and her labours with a cruel and malicious grin upon
his swarthy countenance.
The boat at last became so nearly free of the retarding mud and of
the bank that Jane felt positive that she could pole it off into
deeper water with one of the paddles which lay in the bottom of
the rude craft. With this end in view she seized upon one of these
implements and had just plunged it into the river bottom close to
the shore when her eyes happened to rise to the edge of the jungle.
As her gaze fell upon the figure of the man a little cry of terror
rose to her lips. It was Rokoff.
He was running toward her now and shouting to her to wait or he
would shoot--though he was entirely unarmed it was difficult to
discover just how he intended making good his threat.
Jane Clayton knew nothing of the various misfortunes that had
befallen the Russian since she had escaped from his tent, so she
believed that his followers must be close at hand.
However, she had no intention of falling again into the man's clutches.
She would rather die at once than that that should happen to her.
Another minute and the boat would be free.
Once in the current of the river she would be beyond Rokoff's power
to stop her, for there was no other boat upon the shore, and no
man, and certainly not the cowardly Rokoff, would dare to attempt
to swim the crocodile-infested water in an effort to overtake her.
Rokoff, on his part, was bent more upon escape than aught else. He
would gladly have forgone any designs he might have had upon Jane
Clayton would she but permit him to share this means of escape
that she had discovered. He would promise anything if she would
let him come aboard the dugout, but he did not think that it was
necessary to do so.
He saw that he could easily reach the bow of the boat before
it cleared the shore, and then it would not be necessary to make
promises of any sort. Not that Rokoff would have felt the slightest
compunction in ignoring any promises he might have made the girl,
but he disliked the idea of having to sue for favour with one who
had so recently assaulted and escaped him.
Already he was gloating over the days and nights of revenge that
would be his while the heavy dugout drifted its slow way to the
Jane Clayton, working furiously to shove the boat beyond his reach,
suddenly realized that she was to be successful, for with a little
lurch the dugout swung quickly into the current, just as the Russian
reached out to place his hand upon its bow.
His fingers did not miss their goal by a half-dozen inches. The
girl almost collapsed with the reaction from the terrific mental,
physical, and nervous strain under which she had been labouring
for the past few minutes. But, thank Heaven, at last she was safe!
Even as she breathed a silent prayer of thanksgiving, she saw a
sudden expression of triumph lighten the features of the cursing
Russian, and at the same instant he dropped suddenly to the ground,
grasping firmly upon something which wriggled through the mud toward
the water.
Jane Clayton crouched, wide-eyed and horror-stricken, in the bottom
of the boat as she realized that at the last instant success had
been turned to failure, and that she was indeed again in the power
of the malignant Rokoff.
For the thing that the man had seen and grasped was the end of the
trailing rope with which the dugout had been moored to the tree.
Chapter 15
Down the Ugambi
Halfway between the Ugambi and the village of the Waganwazam, Tarzan
came upon the pack moving slowly along his old spoor. Mugambi
could scarce believe that the trail of the Russian and the mate of
his savage master had passed so close to that of the pack.
It seemed incredible that two human beings should have come so close
to them without having been detected by some of the marvellously
keen and alert beasts; but Tarzan pointed out the spoor of the two
he trailed, and at certain points the black could see that the man
and the woman must have been in hiding as the pack passed them,
watching every move of the ferocious creatures.
It had been apparent to Tarzan from the first that Jane and Rokoff
were not travelling together. The spoor showed distinctly that the
young woman had been a considerable distance ahead of the Russian
at first, though the farther the ape-man continued along the trail
the more obvious it became that the man was rapidly overhauling
his quarry.
At first there had been the spoor of wild beasts over the footprints
of Jane Clayton, while upon the top of all Rokoff's spoor showed
that he had passed over the trail after the animals had left their
records upon the ground. But later there were fewer and fewer
animal imprints occurring between those of Jane's and the Russian's
feet, until as he approached the river the ape-man became aware
that Rokoff could not have been more than a few hundred yards behind
the girl.
He felt they must be close ahead of him now, and, with a little
thrill of expectation, he leaped rapidly forward ahead of the pack.
Swinging swiftly through the trees, he came out upon the river-bank
at the very point at which Rokoff had overhauled Jane as she
endeavoured to launch the cumbersome dugout.
In the mud along the bank the ape-man saw the footprints of the
two he sought, but there was neither boat nor people there when he
arrived, nor, at first glance, any sign of their whereabouts.
It was plain that they had shoved off a native canoe and embarked
upon the bosom of the stream, and as the ape-man's eye ran swiftly
down the course of the river beneath the shadows of the overarching
trees he saw in the distance, just as it rounded a bend that shut
it off from his view, a drifting dugout in the stern of which was
the figure of a man.
Just as the pack came in sight of the river they saw their agile
leader racing down the river's bank, leaping from hummock to
hummock of the swampy ground that spread between them and a little
promontory which rose just where the river curved inward from their
To follow him it was necessary for the heavy, cumbersome apes to
make a wide detour, and Sheeta, too, who hated water. Mugambi
followed after them as rapidly as he could in the wake of the great
white master.
A half-hour of rapid travelling across the swampy neck of land and
over the rising promontory brought Tarzan, by a short cut, to the
inward bend of the winding river, and there before him upon the
bosom of the stream he saw the dugout, and in its stern Nikolas
Jane was not with the Russian.
At sight of his enemy the broad scar upon the ape-man's brow burned
scarlet, and there rose to his lips the hideous, bestial challenge
of the bull-ape.
Rokoff shuddered as the weird and terrible alarm fell upon his
ears. Cowering in the bottom of the boat, his teeth chattering
in terror, he watched the man he feared above all other creatures
upon the face of the earth as he ran quickly to the edge of the
Even though the Russian knew that he was safe from his enemy, the
very sight of him threw him into a frenzy of trembling cowardice,
which became frantic hysteria as he saw the white giant dive
fearlessly into the forbidding waters of the tropical river.
With steady, powerful strokes the ape-man forged out into the stream
toward the drifting dugout. Now Rokoff seized one of the paddles
lying in the bottom of the craft, and, with terrorwide eyes still
glued upon the living death that pursued him, struck out madly in
an effort to augment the speed of the unwieldy canoe.
And from the opposite bank a sinister ripple, unseen by either man,
moving steadily toward the half-naked swimmer.
Tarzan had reached the stern of the craft at last. One hand upstretched
grasped the gunwale. Rokoff sat frozen with fear, unable to move
a hand or foot, his eyes riveted upon the face of his Nemesis.
Then a sudden commotion in the water behind the swimmer caught his
attention. He saw the ripple, and he knew what caused it.
At the same instant Tarzan felt mighty jaws close upon his right
leg. He tried to struggle free and raise himself over the side of
the boat. His efforts would have succeeded had not this unexpected
interruption galvanized the malign brain of the Russian into instant
action with its sudden promise of deliverance and revenge.
Like a venomous snake the man leaped toward the stern of the boat,
and with a single swift blow struck Tarzan across the head with the
heavy paddle. The ape-man's fingers slipped from their hold upon
the gunwale.
There was a short struggle at the surface, and then a swirl of
waters, a little eddy, and a burst of bubbles soon smoothed out by
the flowing current marked for the instant the spot where Tarzan
of the Apes, Lord of the Jungle, disappeared from the sight of men
beneath the gloomy waters of the dark and forbidding Ugambi.
Weak from terror, Rokoff sank shuddering into the bottom of the
dugout. For a moment he could not realize the good fortune that
had befallen him--all that he could see was the figure of a silent,
struggling white man disappearing beneath the surface of the river
to unthinkable death in the slimy mud of the bottom.
Slowly all that it meant to him filtered into the mind of the
Russian, and then a cruel smile of relief and triumph touched his
lips; but it was short-lived, for just as he was congratulating
himself that he was now comparatively safe to proceed upon his
way to the coast unmolested, a mighty pandemonium rose from the
river-bank close by.
As his eyes sought the authors of the frightful sound he saw
standing upon the shore, glaring at him with hate-filled eyes, a
devil-faced panther surrounded by the hideous apes of Akut, and in
the forefront of them a giant black warrior who shook his fist at
him, threatening him with terrible death.
The nightmare of that flight down the Ugambi with the hideous
horde racing after him by day and by night, now abreast of him, now
lost in the mazes of the jungle far behind for hours and once for
a whole day, only to reappear again upon his trail grim, relentless,
and terrible, reduced the Russian from a strong and robust man to
an emaciated, white-haired, fear-gibbering thing before ever the
bay and the ocean broke upon his hopeless vision.
Past populous villages he had fled. Time and again warriors had
put out in their canoes to intercept him, but each time the hideous
horde had swept into view to send the terrified natives shrieking
back to the shore to lose themselves in the jungle.
Nowhere in his flight had he seen aught of Jane Clayton. Not once
had his eyes rested upon her since that moment at the river's brim
his hand had closed upon the rope attached to the bow of her dugout
and he had believed her safely in his power again, only to be
thwarted an instant later as the girl snatched up a heavy express
rifle from the bottom of the craft and levelled it full at his
Quickly he had dropped the rope then and seen her float away beyond
his reach, but a moment later he had been racing up-stream toward
a little tributary in the mouth of which was hidden the canoe
in which he and his party had come thus far upon their journey in
pursuit of the girl and Anderssen.
What had become of her?
There seemed little doubt in the Russian's mind, however, but that
she had been captured by warriors from one of the several villages
she would have been compelled to pass on her way down to the sea.
Well, he was at least rid of most of his human enemies.
But at that he would gladly have had them all back in the land of
the living could he thus have been freed from the menace of the
frightful creatures who pursued him with awful relentlessness,
screaming and growling at him every time they came within sight
of him. The one that filled him with the greatest terror was the
panther--the flaming-eyed, devil-faced panther whose grinning jaws
gaped wide at him by day, and whose fiery orbs gleamed wickedly out
across the water from the Cimmerian blackness of the jungle nights.
The sight of the mouth of the Ugambi filled Rokoff with renewed
hope, for there, upon the yellow waters of the bay, floated the
Kincaid at anchor. He had sent the little steamer away to coal
while he had gone up the river, leaving Paulvitch in charge of her,
and he could have cried aloud in his relief as he saw that she had
returned in time to save him.
Frantically he alternately paddled furiously toward her and rose
to his feet waving his paddle and crying aloud in an attempt to
attract the attention of those on board. But loud as he screamed
his cries awakened no answering challenge from the deck of the
silent craft.
Upon the shore behind him a hurried backward glance revealed the
presence of the snarling pack. Even now, he thought, these manlike
devils might yet find a way to reach him even upon the deck of the
steamer unless there were those there to repel them with firearms.
What could have happened to those he had left upon the Kincaid?
Where was Paulvitch? Could it be that the vessel was deserted,
and that, after all, he was doomed to be overtaken by the terrible
fate that he had been flying from through all these hideous days
and nights? He shivered as might one upon whose brow death has
already laid his clammy finger.
Yet he did not cease to paddle frantically toward the steamer,
and at last, after what seemed an eternity, the bow of the dugout
bumped against the timbers of the Kincaid. Over the ship's side
hung a monkey-ladder, but as the Russian grasped it to ascend to
the deck he heard a warning challenge from above, and, looking up,
gazed into the cold, relentless muzzle of a rifle.
After Jane Clayton, with rifle levelled at the breast of Rokoff,
had succeeded in holding him off until the dugout in which she had
taken refuge had drifted out upon the bosom of the Ugambi beyond
the man's reach, she had lost no time in paddling to the swiftest
sweep of the channel, nor did she for long days and weary nights
cease to hold her craft to the most rapidly moving part of the river,
except when during the hottest hours of the day she had been wont
to drift as the current would take her, lying prone in the bottom
of the canoe, her face sheltered from the sun with a great palm
Thus only did she gain rest upon the voyage; at other times she
continually sought to augment the movement of the craft by wielding
the heavy paddle.
Rokoff, on the other hand, had used little or no intelligence in
his flight along the Ugambi, so that more often than not his craft
had drifted in the slow-going eddies, for he habitually hugged the
bank farthest from that along which the hideous horde pursued and
menaced him.
Thus it was that, though he had put out upon the river but a short
time subsequent to the girl, yet she had reached the bay fully two
hours ahead of him. When she had first seen the anchored ship upon
the quiet water, Jane Clayton's heart had beat fast with hope and
thanksgiving, but as she drew closer to the craft and saw that it
was the Kincaid, her pleasure gave place to the gravest misgivings.
It was too late, however, to turn back, for the current that
carried her toward the ship was much too strong for her muscles.
She could not have forced the heavy dugout upstream against it,
and all that was left her was to attempt either to make the shore
without being seen by those upon the deck of the Kincaid, or to
throw herself upon their mercy--otherwise she must be swept out to
She knew that the shore held little hope of life for her, as she
had no knowledge of the location of the friendly Mosula village to
which Anderssen had taken her through the darkness of the night of
their escape from the Kincaid.
With Rokoff away from the steamer it might be possible that by
offering those in charge a large reward they could be induced to
carry her to the nearest civilized port. It was worth risking--if
she could make the steamer at all.
The current was bearing her swiftly down the river, and she found
that only by dint of the utmost exertion could she direct the
awkward craft toward the vicinity of the Kincaid. Having reached
the decision to board the steamer, she now looked to it for aid,
but to her surprise the decks appeared to be empty and she saw no
sign of life aboard the ship.
The dugout was drawing closer and closer to the bow of the vessel,
and yet no hail came over the side from any lookout aboard. In a
moment more, Jane realized, she would be swept beyond the steamer,
and then, unless they lowered a boat to rescue her, she would be
carried far out to sea by the current and the swift ebb tide that
was running.
The young woman called loudly for assistance, but there was no
reply other than the shrill scream of some savage beast upon the
jungle-shrouded shore. Frantically Jane wielded the paddle in an
effort to carry her craft close alongside the steamer.
For a moment it seemed that she should miss her goal by but a few
feet, but at the last moment the canoe swung close beneath the
steamer's bow and Jane barely managed to grasp the anchor chain.
Heroically she clung to the heavy iron links, almost dragged from
the canoe by the strain of the current upon her craft. Beyond
her she saw a monkey-ladder dangling over the steamer's side. To
release her hold upon the chain and chance clambering to the
ladder as her canoe was swept beneath it seemed beyond the pale of
possibility, yet to remain clinging to the anchor chain appeared
equally as futile.
Finally her glance chanced to fall upon the rope in the bow of the
dugout, and, making one end of this fast to the chain, she succeeded
in drifting the canoe slowly down until it lay directly beneath
the ladder. A moment later, her rifle slung about her shoulders,
she had clambered safely to the deserted deck.
Her first task was to explore the ship, and this she did, her rifle
ready for instant use should she meet with any human menace aboard
the Kincaid. She was not long in discovering the cause of the
apparently deserted condition of the steamer, for in the forecastle
she found the sailors, who had evidently been left to guard the
ship, deep in drunken slumber.
With a shudder of disgust she clambered above, and to the best of
her ability closed and made fast the hatch above the heads of the
sleeping guard. Next she sought the galley and food, and, having
appeased her hunger, she took her place on deck, determined that
none should board the Kincaid without first having agreed to her
For an hour or so nothing appeared upon the surface of the river to
cause her alarm, but then, about a bend upstream, she saw a canoe
appear in which sat a single figure. It had not proceeded far in
her direction before she recognized the occupant as Rokoff, and
when the fellow attempted to board he found a rifle staring him in
the face.
When the Russian discovered who it was that repelled his advance he
became furious, cursing and threatening in a most horrible manner;
but, finding that these tactics failed to frighten or move the
girl, he at last fell to pleading and promising.
Jane had but a single reply for his every proposition, and that
was that nothing would ever persuade her to permit Rokoff upon the
same vessel with her. That she would put her threats into action
and shoot him should he persist in his endeavour to board the ship
he was convinced.
So, as there was no other alternative, the great coward dropped
back into his dugout and, at imminent risk of being swept to sea,
finally succeeded in making the shore far down the bay and upon the
opposite side from that on which the horde of beasts stood snarling
and roaring.
Jane Clayton knew that the fellow could not alone and unaided bring
his heavy craft back up-stream to the Kincaid, and so she had no
further fear of an attack by him. The hideous crew upon the shore
she thought she recognized as the same that had passed her in the
jungle far up the Ugambi several days before, for it seemed quite
beyond reason that there should be more than one such a strangely
assorted pack; but what had brought them down-stream to the mouth
of the river she could not imagine.
Toward the day's close the girl was suddenly alarmed by the shouting
of the Russian from the opposite bank of the stream, and a moment
later, following the direction of his gaze, she was terrified to
see a ship's boat approaching from up-stream, in which, she felt
assured, there could be only members of the Kincaid's missing
crew--only heartless ruffians and enemies.
Chapter 16
In the Darkness of the Night
When Tarzan of the Apes realized that he was in the grip of the
great jaws of a crocodile he did not, as an ordinary man might have
done, give up all hope and resign himself to his fate.
Instead, he filled his lungs with air before the huge reptile
dragged him beneath the surface, and then, with all the might of
his great muscles, fought bitterly for freedom. But out of his
native element the ape-man was too greatly handicapped to do more
than excite the monster to greater speed as it dragged its prey
swiftly through the water.
Tarzan's lungs were bursting for a breath of pure fresh air. He
knew that he could survive but a moment more, and in the last
paroxysm of his suffering he did what he could to avenge his own
His body trailed out beside the slimy carcass of his captor, and
into the tough armour the ape-man attempted to plunge his stone
knife as he was borne to the creature's horrid den.
His efforts but served to accelerate the speed of the crocodile, and
just as the ape-man realized that he had reached the limit of his
endurance he felt his body dragged to a muddy bed and his nostrils
rise above the water's surface. All about him was the blackness
of the pit--the silence of the grave.
For a moment Tarzan of the Apes lay gasping for breath upon the
slimy, evil-smelling bed to which the animal had borne him. Close
at his side he could feel the cold, hard plates of the creatures
coat rising and falling as though with spasmodic efforts to breathe.
For several minutes the two lay thus, and then a sudden convulsion
of the giant carcass at the man's side, a tremor, and a stiffening
brought Tarzan to his knees beside the crocodile. To his utter
amazement he found that the beast was dead. The slim knife had
found a vulnerable spot in the scaly armour.
Staggering to his feet, the ape-man groped about the reeking, oozy
den. He found that he was imprisoned in a subterranean chamber
amply large enough to have accommodated a dozen or more of the huge
animals such as the one that had dragged him thither.
He realized that he was in the creature's hidden nest far under the
bank of the stream, and that doubtless the only means of ingress
or egress lay through the submerged opening through which the
crocodile had brought him.
His first thought, of course, was of escape, but that he could make
his way to the surface of the river beyond and then to the shore
seemed highly improbable. There might be turns and windings in the
neck of the passage, or, most to be feared, he might meet another
of the slimy inhabitants of the retreat upon his journey outward.
Even should he reach the river in safety, there was still the danger
of his being again attacked before he could effect a safe landing.
Still there was no alternative, and, filling his lungs with the close
and reeking air of the chamber, Tarzan of the Apes dived into the
dark and watery hole which he could not see but had felt out and
found with his feet and legs.
The leg which had been held within the jaws of the crocodile was
badly lacerated, but the bone had not been broken, nor were the
muscles or tendons sufficiently injured to render it useless. It
gave him excruciating pain, that was all.
But Tarzan of the Apes was accustomed to pain, and gave it
no further thought when he found that the use of his legs was not
greatly impaired by the sharp teeth of the monster.
Rapidly he crawled and swam through the passage which inclined
downward and finally upward to open at last into the river bottom
but a few feet from the shore line. As the ape-man reached the
surface he saw the heads of two great crocodiles but a short distance
from him. They were making rapidly in his direction, and with a
superhuman effort the man struck out for the overhanging branches
of a near-by tree.
Nor was he a moment too soon, for scarcely had he drawn himself to
the safety of the limb than two gaping mouths snapped venomously
below him. For a few minutes Tarzan rested in the tree that had
proved the means of his salvation. His eyes scanned the river
as far down-stream as the tortuous channel would permit, but there
was no sign of the Russian or his dugout.
When he had rested and bound up his wounded leg he started on in
pursuit of the drifting canoe. He found himself upon the opposite
of the river to that at which he had entered the stream, but as his
quarry was upon the bosom of the water it made little difference
to the ape-man upon which side he took up the pursuit.
To his intense chagrin he soon found that his leg was more badly
injured than he had thought, and that its condition seriously
impeded his progress. It was only with the greatest difficulty
that he could proceed faster than a walk upon the ground, and in
the trees he discovered that it not only impeded his progress, but
rendered travelling distinctly dangerous.
From the old negress, Tambudza, Tarzan had gathered a suggestion
that now filled his mind with doubts and misgivings. When the old
woman had told him of the child's death she had also added that
the white woman, though grief-stricken, had confided to her that
the baby was not hers.
Tarzan could see no reason for believing that Jane could have found
it advisable to deny her identity or that of the child; the only
explanation that he could put upon the matter was that, after all,
the white woman who had accompanied his son and the Swede into the
jungle fastness of the interior had not been Jane at all.
The more he gave thought to the problem, the more firmly convinced
he became that his son was dead and his wife still safe in London, and
in ignorance of the terrible fate that had overtaken her first-born.
After all, then, his interpretation of Rokoff's sinister taunt
had been erroneous, and he had been bearing the burden of a double
apprehension needlessly--at least so thought the ape-man. From
this belief he garnered some slight surcease from the numbing grief
that the death of his little son had thrust upon him.
And such a death! Even the savage beast that was the real Tarzan,
inured to the sufferings and horrors of the grim jungle, shuddered
as he contemplated the hideous fate that had overtaken the innocent
As he made his way painfully towards the coast, he let his mind
dwell so constantly upon the frightful crimes which the Russian
had perpetrated against his loved ones that the great scar upon his
forehead stood out almost continuously in the vivid scarlet that
marked the man's most relentless and bestial moods of rage. At
times he startled even himself and sent the lesser creatures of
the wild jungle scampering to their hiding places as involuntary
roars and growls rumbled from his throat.
Could he but lay his hand upon the Russian!
Twice upon the way to the coast bellicose natives ran threateningly
from their villages to bar his further progress, but when the awful
cry of the bull-ape thundered upon their affrighted ears, and the
great white giant charged bellowing upon them, they had turned and
fled into the bush, nor ventured thence until he had safely passed.
Though his progress seemed tantalizingly slow to the ape-man whose
idea of speed had been gained by such standards as the lesser apes
attain, he made, as a matter of fact, almost as rapid progress as
the drifting canoe that bore Rokoff on ahead of him, so that he
came to the bay and within sight of the ocean just after darkness
had fallen upon the same day that Jane Clayton and the Russian
ended their flights from the interior.
The darkness lowered so heavily upon the black river and the
encircling jungle that Tarzan, even with eyes accustomed to much
use after dark, could make out nothing a few yards from him. His
idea was to search the shore that night for signs of the Russian
and the woman who he was certain must have preceded Rokoff down the
Ugambi. That the Kincaid or other ship lay at anchor but a hundred
yards from him he did not dream, for no light showed on board the
Even as he commenced his search his attention was suddenly attracted
by a noise that he had not at first perceived--the stealthy dip
of paddles in the water some distance from the shore, and about
opposite the point at which he stood. Motionless as a statue he
stood listening to the faint sound.
Presently it ceased, to be followed by a shuffling noise that
the ape-man's trained ears could interpret as resulting from but
a single cause--the scraping of leather-shod feet upon the rounds
of a ship's monkey-ladder. And yet, as far as he could see, there
was no ship there--nor might there be one within a thousand miles.
As he stood thus, peering out into the darkness of the cloud-enshrouded
night, there came to him from across the water, like a slap in the
face, so sudden and unexpected was it, the sharp staccato of an
exchange of shots and then the scream of a woman.
Wounded though he was, and with the memory of his recent horrible
experience still strong upon him, Tarzan of the Apes did not hesitate
as the notes of that frightened cry rose shrill and piercing upon
the still night air. With a bound he cleared the intervening
bush--there was a splash as the water closed about him--and then,
with powerful strokes, he swam out into the impenetrable night
with no guide save the memory of an illusive cry, and for company
the hideous denizens of an equatorial river.
The boat that had attracted Jane's attention as she stood guard
upon the deck of the Kincaid had been perceived by Rokoff upon one
bank and Mugambi and the horde upon the other. The cries of the
Russian had brought the dugout first to him, and then, after a
conference, it had been turned toward the Kincaid, but before ever
it covered half the distance between the shore and the steamer a
rifle had spoken from the latter's deck and one of the sailors in
the bow of the canoe had crumpled and fallen into the water.
After that they went more slowly, and presently, when Jane's rifle
had found another member of the party, the canoe withdrew to the
shore, where it lay as long as daylight lasted.
The savage, snarling pack upon the opposite shore had been directed in
their pursuit by the black warrior, Mugambi, chief of the Wagambi.
Only he knew which might be foe and which friend of their lost
Could they have reached either the canoe or the Kincaid they would
have made short work of any whom they found there, but the gulf
of black water intervening shut them off from farther advance as
effectually as though it had been the broad ocean that separated
them from their prey.
Mugambi knew something of the occurrences which had led up to the
landing of Tarzan upon Jungle Island and the pursuit of the whites
up the Ugambi. He knew that his savage master sought his wife and
child who had been stolen by the wicked white man whom they had
followed far into the interior and now back to the sea.
He believed also that this same man had killed the great white
giant whom he had come to respect and love as he had never loved
the greatest chiefs of his own people. And so in the wild breast
of Mugambi burned an iron resolve to win to the side of the wicked
one and wreak vengeance upon him for the murder of the ape-man.
But when he saw the canoe come down the river and take in Rokoff,
when he saw it make for the Kincaid, he realized that only by
possessing himself of a canoe could he hope to transport the beasts
of the pack within striking distance of the enemy.
So it happened that even before Jane Clayton fired the first shot
into Rokoff's canoe the beasts of Tarzan had disappeared into the
After the Russian and his party, which consisted of Paulvitch and
the several men he had left upon the Kincaid to attend to the matter
of coaling, had retreated before her fire, Jane realized that it
would be but a temporary respite from their attentions which she
had gained, and with the conviction came a determination to make
a bold and final stroke for freedom from the menacing threat of
Rokoff's evil purpose.
With this idea in view she opened negotiations with the two sailors
she had imprisoned in the forecastle, and having forced their consent
to her plans, upon pain of death should they attempt disloyalty,
she released them just as darkness closed about the ship.
With ready revolver to compel obedience, she let them up one by
one, searching them carefully for concealed weapons as they stood
with hands elevated above their heads. Once satisfied that they
were unarmed, she set them to work cutting the cable which held the
Kincaid to her anchorage, for her bold plan was nothing less than
to set the steamer adrift and float with her out into the open
sea, there to trust to the mercy of the elements, which she was
confident would be no more merciless than Nikolas Rokoff should he
again capture her.
There was, too, the chance that the Kincaid might be sighted by
some passing ship, and as she was well stocked with provisions and
water--the men had assured her of this fact--and as the season of
storm was well over, she had every reason to hope for the eventual
success of her plan.
The night was deeply overcast, heavy clouds riding low above the
jungle and the water--only to the west, where the broad ocean spread
beyond the river's mouth, was there a suggestion of lessening gloom.
It was a perfect night for the purposes of the work in hand.
Her enemies could not see the activity aboard the ship nor mark
her course as the swift current bore her outward into the ocean.
Before daylight broke the ebb-tide would have carried the Kincaid
well into the Benguela current which flows northward along the
coast of Africa, and, as a south wind was prevailing, Jane hoped
to be out of sight of the mouth of the Ugambi before Rokoff could
become aware of the departure of the steamer.
Standing over the labouring seamen, the young woman breathed a sigh
of relief as the last strand of the cable parted and she knew that
the vessel was on its way out of the maw of the savage Ugambi.
With her two prisoners still beneath the coercing influence of
her rifle, she ordered them upon deck with the intention of again
imprisoning them in the forecastle; but at length she permitted
herself to be influenced by their promises of loyalty and the
arguments which they put forth that they could be of service to
her, and permitted them to remain above.
For a few minutes the Kincaid drifted rapidly with the current, and
then, with a grinding jar, she stopped in midstream. The ship had
run upon a low-lying bar that splits the channel about a quarter
of a mile from the sea.
For a moment she hung there, and then, swinging round until her
bow pointed toward the shore, she broke adrift once more.
At the same instant, just as Jane Clayton was congratulating herself
that the ship was once more free, there fell upon her ears from a
point up the river about where the Kincaid had been anchored the
rattle of musketry and a woman's scream--shrill, piercing, fear-laden.
The sailors heard the shots with certain conviction that they
announced the coming of their employer, and as they had no relish
for the plan that would consign them to the deck of a drifting
derelict, they whispered together a hurried plan to overcome the
young woman and hail Rokoff and their companions to their rescue.
It seemed that fate would play into their hands, for with the reports
of the guns Jane Clayton's attention had been distracted from her
unwilling assistants, and instead of keeping one eye upon them as
she had intended doing, she ran to the bow of the Kincaid to peer
through the darkness toward the source of the disturbance upon the
river's bosom.
Seeing that she was off her guard, the two sailors crept stealthily
upon her from behind.
The scraping upon the deck of the shoes of one of them startled
the girl to a sudden appreciation of her danger, but the warning
had come too late.
As she turned, both men leaped upon her and bore her to the deck,
and as she went down beneath them she saw, outlined against the
lesser gloom of the ocean, the figure of another man clamber over
the side of the Kincaid.
After all her pains her heroic struggle for freedom had failed.
With a stifled sob she gave up the unequal battle.
Chapter 17
On the Deck of the "Kincaid"
When Mugambi had turned back into the jungle with the pack he had
a definite purpose in view. It was to obtain a dugout wherewith
to transport the beasts of Tarzan to the side of the Kincaid. Nor
was he long in coming upon the object which he sought.
Just at dusk he found a canoe moored to the bank of a small tributary
of the Ugambi at a point where he had felt certain that he should
find one.
Without loss of time he piled his hideous fellows into the craft and
shoved out into the stream. So quickly had they taken possession
of the canoe that the warrior had not noticed that it was already
occupied. The huddled figure sleeping in the bottom had entirely
escaped his observation in the darkness of the night that had now
But no sooner were they afloat than a savage growling from one of
the apes directly ahead of him in the dugout attracted his attention
to a shivering and cowering figure that trembled between him and
the great anthropoid. To Mugambi's astonishment he saw that it was
a native woman. With difficulty he kept the ape from her throat,
and after a time succeeded in quelling her fears.
It seemed that she had been fleeing from marriage with an old man
she loathed and had taken refuge for the night in the canoe she
had found upon the river's edge.
Mugambi did not wish her presence, but there she was, and rather
than lose time by returning her to the shore the black permitted
her to remain on board the canoe.
As quickly as his awkward companions could paddle the dugout
down-stream toward the Ugambi and the Kincaid they moved through
the darkness. It was with difficulty that Mugambi could make out
the shadowy form of the steamer, but as he had it between himself
and the ocean it was much more apparent than to one upon either
shore of the river.
As he approached it he was amazed to note that it seemed to be
receding from him, and finally he was convinced that the vessel
was moving down-stream. Just as he was about to urge his creatures
to renewed efforts to overtake the steamer the outline of another
canoe burst suddenly into view not three yards from the bow of his
own craft.
At the same instant the occupants of the stranger discovered the
proximity of Mugambi's horde, but they did not at first recognize
the nature of the fearful crew. A man in the bow of the oncoming
boat challenged them just as the two dugouts were about to touch.
For answer came the menacing growl of a panther, and the fellow
found himself gazing into the flaming eyes of Sheeta, who had raised
himself with his forepaws upon the bow of the boat, ready to leap
in upon the occupants of the other craft.
Instantly Rokoff realized the peril that confronted him and his
fellows. He gave a quick command to fire upon the occupants of the
other canoe, and it was this volley and the scream of the terrified
native woman in the canoe with Mugambi that both Tarzan and Jane
had heard.
Before the slower and less skilled paddlers in Mugambi's canoe
could press their advantage and effect a boarding of the enemy the
latter had turned swiftly down-stream and were paddling for their
lives in the direction of the Kincaid, which was now visible to
The vessel after striking upon the bar had swung loose again into
a slow-moving eddy, which returns up-stream close to the southern
shore of the Ugambi only to circle out once more and join the
downward flow a hundred yards or so farther up. Thus the Kincaid
was returning Jane Clayton directly into the hands of her enemies.
It so happened that as Tarzan sprang into the river the vessel was
not visible to him, and as he swam out into the night he had no
idea that a ship drifted so close at hand. He was guided by the
sounds which he could hear coming from the two canoes.
As he swam he had vivid recollections of the last occasion upon
which he had swum in the waters of the Ugambi, and with them a
sudden shudder shook the frame of the giant.
But, though he twice felt something brush his legs from the slimy
depths below him, nothing seized him, and of a sudden he quite
forgot about crocodiles in the astonishment of seeing a dark mass
loom suddenly before him where he had still expected to find the
open river.
So close was it that a few strokes brought him up to the thing,
when to his amazement his outstretched hand came in contact with
a ship's side.
As the agile ape-man clambered over the vessel's rail there came
to his sensitive ears the sound of a struggle at the opposite side
of the deck.
Noiselessly he sped across the intervening space.
The moon had risen now, and, though the sky was still banked with
clouds, a lesser darkness enveloped the scene than that which had
blotted out all sight earlier in the night. His keen eyes, therefore,
saw the figures of two men grappling with a woman.
That it was the woman who had accompanied Anderssen toward the
interior he did not know, though he suspected as much, as he was
now quite certain that this was the deck of the Kincaid upon which
chance had led him.
But he wasted little time in idle speculation. There was a woman
in danger of harm from two ruffians, which was enough excuse for
the ape-man to project his giant thews into the conflict without
further investigation.
The first that either of the sailors knew that there was a new
force at work upon the ship was the falling of a mighty hand upon
a shoulder of each. As if they had been in the grip of a fly-wheel,
they were jerked suddenly from their prey.
"What means this?" asked a low voice in their ears.
They were given no time to reply, however, for at the sound of that
voice the young woman had sprung to her feet and with a little cry
of joy leaped toward their assailant.
"Tarzan!" she cried.
The ape-man hurled the two sailors across the deck, where they
rolled, stunned and terrified, into the scuppers upon the opposite
side, and with an exclamation of incredulity gathered the girl into
his arms.
Brief, however, were the moments for their greeting.
Scarcely had they recognized one another than the clouds above them
parted to show the figures of a half-dozen men clambering over the
side of the Kincaid to the steamer's deck.
Foremost among them was the Russian. As the brilliant rays of
the equatorial moon lighted the deck, and he realized that the man
before him was Lord Greystoke, he screamed hysterical commands to
his followers to fire upon the two.
Tarzan pushed Jane behind the cabin near which they had been standing,
and with a quick bound started for Rokoff. The men behind the
Russian, at least two of them, raised their rifles and fired at the
charging ape-man; but those behind them were otherwise engaged--for
up the monkey-ladder in their rear was thronging a hideous horde.
First came five snarling apes, huge, manlike beasts, with bared
fangs and slavering jaws; and after them a giant black warrior,
his long spear gleaming in the moonlight.
Behind him again scrambled another creature, and of all the horrid
horde it was this they most feared--Sheeta, the panther, with gleaming
jaws agape and fiery eyes blazing at them in the mightiness of his
hate and of his blood lust.
The shots that had been fired at Tarzan missed him, and he would
have been upon Rokoff in another instant had not the great coward
dodged backward between his two henchmen, and, screaming in hysterical
terror, bolted forward toward the forecastle.
For the moment Tarzan's attention was distracted by the two men
before him, so that he could not at the time pursue the Russian.
About him the apes and Mugambi were battling with the balance of
the Russian's party.
Beneath the terrible ferocity of the beasts the men were soon
scampering in all directions--those who still lived to scamper,
for the great fangs of the apes of Akut and the tearing talons of
Sheeta already had found more than a single victim.
Four, however, escaped and disappeared into the forecastle, where
they hoped to barricade themselves against further assault. Here
they found Rokoff, and, enraged at his desertion of them in their
moment of peril, no less than at the uniformly brutal treatment it
had been his wont to accord them, they gloated upon the opportunity
now offered them to revenge themselves in part upon their hated
Despite his prayers and grovelling pleas, therefore, they hurled
him bodily out upon the deck, delivering him to the mercy of the
fearful things from which they had themselves just escaped.
Tarzan saw the man emerge from the forecastle--saw and recognized
his enemy; but another saw him even as soon.
It was Sheeta, and with grinning jaws the mighty beast slunk silently
toward the terror-stricken man.
When Rokoff saw what it was that stalked him his shrieks for help
filled the air, as with trembling knees he stood, as one paralyzed,
before the hideous death that was creeping upon him.
Tarzan took a step toward the Russian, his brain burning with a
raging fire of vengeance. At last he had the murderer of his son
at his mercy. His was the right to avenge.
Once Jane had stayed his hand that time that he sought to take the
law into his own power and mete to Rokoff the death that he had so
long merited; but this time none should stay him.
His fingers clenched and unclenched spasmodically as he approached
the trembling Russ, beastlike and ominous as a brute of prey.
Presently he saw that Sheeta was about to forestall him, robbing
him of the fruits of his great hate.
He called sharply to the panther, and the words, as if they had
broken a hideous spell that had held the Russian, galvanized him
into sudden action. With a scream he turned and fled toward the
After him pounced Sheeta the panther, unmindful of his master's
warning voice.
Tarzan was about to leap after the two when he felt a light touch
upon his arm. Turning, he found Jane at his elbow.
"Do not leave me," she whispered. "I am afraid."
Tarzan glanced behind her.
All about were the hideous apes of Akut. Some, even, were approaching
the young woman with bared fangs and menacing guttural warnings.
The ape-man warned them back. He had forgotten for the moment that
these were but beasts, unable to differentiate his friends and his
foes. Their savage natures were roused by their recent battle with
the sailors, and now all flesh outside the pack was meat to them.
Tarzan turned again toward the Russian, chagrined that he should
have to forgo the pleasure of personal revenge--unless the man
should escape Sheeta. But as he looked he saw that there could
be no hope of that. The fellow had retreated to the end of the
bridge, where he now stood trembling and wide-eyed, facing the
beast that moved slowly toward him.
The panther crawled with belly to the planking, uttering uncanny
mouthings. Rokoff stood as though petrified, his eyes protruding
from their sockets, his mouth agape, and the cold sweat of terror
clammy upon his brow.
Below him, upon the deck, he had seen the great anthropoids, and
so had not dared to seek escape in that direction. In fact, even
now one of the brutes was leaping to seize the bridge-rail and draw
himself up to the Russian's side.
Before him was the panther, silent and crouched.
Rokoff could not move. His knees trembled. His voice broke in
inarticulate shrieks. With a last piercing wail he sank to his
knees--and then Sheeta sprang.
Full upon the man's breast the tawny body hurtled, tumbling the
Russian to his back.
As the great fangs tore at the throat and chest, Jane Clayton turned
away in horror; but not so Tarzan of the Apes. A cold smile of
satisfaction touched his lips. The scar upon his forehead that
had burned scarlet faded to the normal hue of his tanned skin and
Rokoff fought furiously but futilely against the growling, rending
fate that had overtaken him. For all his countless crimes he was
punished in the brief moment of the hideous death that claimed him
at the last.
After his struggles ceased Tarzan approached, at Jane's suggestion,
to wrest the body from the panther and give what remained of
it decent human burial; but the great cat rose snarling above its
kill, threatening even the master it loved in its savage way, so
that rather than kill his friend of the jungle, Tarzan was forced
to relinquish his intentions.
All that night Sheeta, the panther, crouched upon the grisly
thing that had been Nikolas Rokoff. The bridge of the Kincaid was
slippery with blood. Beneath the brilliant tropic moon the great
beast feasted until, when the sun rose the following morning, there
remained of Tarzan's great enemy only gnawed and broken bones.
Of the Russian's party, all were accounted for except Paulvitch.
Four were prisoners in the Kincaid's forecastle. The rest were
With these men Tarzan got up steam upon the vessel, and with the
knowledge of the mate, who happened to be one of those surviving,
he planned to set out in quest of Jungle Island; but as the morning
dawned there came with it a heavy gale from the west which raised
a sea into which the mate of the Kincaid dared not venture. All
that day the ship lay within the shelter of the mouth of the river;
for, though night witnessed a lessening of the wind, it was thought
safer to wait for daylight before attempting the navigation of the
winding channel to the sea.
Upon the deck of the steamer the pack wandered without let or hindrance
by day, for they had soon learned through Tarzan and Mugambi that
they must harm no one upon the Kincaid; but at night they were
confined below.
Tarzan's joy had been unbounded when he learned from his wife that
the little child who had died in the village of M'ganwazam was not
their son. Who the baby could have been, or what had become of
their own, they could not imagine, and as both Rokoff and Paulvitch
were gone, there was no way of discovering.
There was, however, a certain sense of relief in the knowledge
that they might yet hope. Until positive proof of the baby's death
reached them there was always that to buoy them up.
It seemed quite evident that their little Jack had not been brought
aboard the Kincaid. Anderssen would have known of it had such
been the case, but he had assured Jane time and time again that
the little one he had brought to her cabin the night he aided her
to escape was the only one that had been aboard the Kincaid since
she lay at Dover.
Chapter 18
Paulvitch Plots Revenge
As Jane and Tarzan stood upon the vessel's deck recounting to one
another the details of the various adventures through which each
had passed since they had parted in their London home, there glared
at them from beneath scowling brows a hidden watcher upon the shore.
Through the man's brain passed plan after plan whereby he might
thwart the escape of the Englishman and his wife, for so long as
the vital spark remained within the vindictive brain of Alexander
Paulvitch none who had aroused the enmity of the Russian might be
entirely safe.
Plan after plan he formed only to discard each either as impracticable, or
unworthy the vengeance his wrongs demanded. So warped by faulty
reasoning was the criminal mind of Rokoff's lieutenant that he
could not grasp the real truth of that which lay between himself
and the ape-man and see that always the fault had been, not with
the English lord, but with himself and his confederate.
And at the rejection of each new scheme Paulvitch arrived always
at the same conclusion--that he could accomplish naught while half
the breadth of the Ugambi separated him from the object of his
But how was he to span the crocodile-infested waters? There was
no canoe nearer than the Mosula village, and Paulvitch was none too
sure that the Kincaid would still be at anchor in the river when
he returned should he take the time to traverse the jungle to the
distant village and return with a canoe. Yet there was no other
way, and so, convinced that thus alone might he hope to reach his
prey, Paulvitch, with a parting scowl at the two figures upon the
Kincaid's deck, turned away from the river.
Hastening through the dense jungle, his mind centred upon his one
fetich--revenge--the Russian forgot even his terror of the savage
world through which he moved.
Baffled and beaten at every turn of Fortune's wheel, reacted upon
time after time by his own malign plotting, the principal victim
of his own criminality, Paulvitch was yet so blind as to imagine
that his greatest happiness lay in a continuation of the plottings
and schemings which had ever brought him and Rokoff to disaster,
and the latter finally to a hideous death.
As the Russian stumbled on through the jungle toward the Mosula
village there presently crystallized within his brain a plan which
seemed more feasible than any that he had as yet considered.
He would come by night to the side of the Kincaid, and once aboard,
would search out the members of the ship's original crew who had
survived the terrors of this frightful expedition, and enlist them
in an attempt to wrest the vessel from Tarzan and his beasts.
In the cabin were arms and ammunition, and hidden in a secret
receptacle in the cabin table was one of those infernal machines,
the construction of which had occupied much of Paulvitch's spare
time when he had stood high in the confidence of the Nihilists of
his native land.
That was before he had sold them out for immunity and gold to the
police of Petrograd. Paulvitch winced as he recalled the denunciation
of him that had fallen from the lips of one of his former comrades
ere the poor devil expiated his political sins at the end of a
hempen rope.
But the infernal machine was the thing to think of now. He could
do much with that if he could but get his hands upon it. Within
the little hardwood case hidden in the cabin table rested sufficient
potential destructiveness to wipe out in the fraction of a second
every enemy aboard the Kincaid.
Paulvitch licked his lips in anticipatory joy, and urged his tired
legs to greater speed that he might not be too late to the ship's
anchorage to carry out his designs.
All depended, of course, upon when the Kincaid departed. The
Russian realized that nothing could be accomplished beneath the
light of day. Darkness must shroud his approach to the ship's side,
for should he be sighted by Tarzan or Lady Greystoke he would have
no chance to board the vessel.
The gale that was blowing was, he believed, the cause of the delay
in getting the Kincaid under way, and if it continued to blow until
night then the chances were all in his favour, for he knew that
there was little likelihood of the ape-man attempting to navigate
the tortuous channel of the Ugambi while darkness lay upon the
surface of the water, hiding the many bars and the numerous small
islands which are scattered over the expanse of the river's mouth.
It was well after noon when Paulvitch came to the Mosula village
upon the bank of the tributary of the Ugambi. Here he was received
with suspicion and unfriendliness by the native chief, who, like
all those who came in contact with Rokoff or Paulvitch, had suffered
in some manner from the greed, the cruelty, or the lust of the two
When Paulvitch demanded the use of a canoe the chief grumbled a surly
refusal and ordered the white man from the village. Surrounded by
angry, muttering warriors who seemed to be but waiting some slight
pretext to transfix him with their menacing spears the Russian
could do naught else than withdraw.
A dozen fighting men led him to the edge of the clearing, leaving
him with a warning never to show himself again in the vicinity of
their village.
Stifling his anger, Paulvitch slunk into the jungle; but once
beyond the sight of the warriors he paused and listened intently.
He could hear the voices of his escort as the men returned to the
village, and when he was sure that they were not following him he
wormed his way through the bushes to the edge of the river, still
determined some way to obtain a canoe.
Life itself depended upon his reaching the Kincaid and enlisting
the survivors of the ship's crew in his service, for to be abandoned
here amidst the dangers of the African jungle where he had won the
enmity of the natives was, he well knew, practically equivalent to
a sentence of death.
A desire for revenge acted as an almost equally powerful incentive
to spur him into the face of danger to accomplish his design, so
that it was a desperate man that lay hidden in the foliage beside
the little river searching with eager eyes for some sign of a small
canoe which might be easily handled by a single paddle.
Nor had the Russian long to wait before one of the awkward little
skiffs which the Mosula fashion came in sight upon the bosom of
the river. A youth was paddling lazily out into midstream from a
point beside the village. When he reached the channel he allowed
the sluggish current to carry him slowly along while he lolled
indolently in the bottom of his crude canoe.
All ignorant of the unseen enemy upon the river's bank the lad
floated slowly down the stream while Paulvitch followed along the
jungle path a few yards behind him.
A mile below the village the black boy dipped his paddle into the
water and forced his skiff toward the bank. Paulvitch, elated by
the chance which had drawn the youth to the same side of the river
as that along which he followed rather than to the opposite side
where he would have been beyond the stalker's reach, hid in the
brush close beside the point at which it was evident the skiff would
touch the bank of the slow-moving stream, which seemed jealous of
each fleeting instant which drew it nearer to the broad and muddy
Ugambi where it must for ever lose its identity in the larger stream
that would presently cast its waters into the great ocean.
Equally indolent were the motions of the Mosula youth as he drew
his skiff beneath an overhanging limb of a great tree that leaned
down to implant a farewell kiss upon the bosom of the departing
water, caressing with green fronds the soft breast of its languorous
And, snake-like, amidst the concealing foliage lay the malevolent
Russ. Cruel, shifty eyes gloated upon the outlines of the coveted
canoe, and measured the stature of its owner, while the crafty brain
weighed the chances of the white man should physical encounter with
the black become necessary.
Only direct necessity could drive Alexander Paulvitch to personal
conflict; but it was indeed dire necessity which goaded him on to
action now.
There was time, just time enough, to reach the Kincaid by nightfall.
Would the black fool never quit his skiff? Paulvitch squirmed
and fidgeted. The lad yawned and stretched. With exasperating
deliberateness he examined the arrows in his quiver, tested his
bow, and looked to the edge upon the hunting-knife in his loin-cloth.
Again he stretched and yawned, glanced up at the river-bank, shrugged
his shoulders, and lay down in the bottom of his canoe for a little
nap before he plunged into the jungle after the prey he had come
forth to hunt.
Paulvitch half rose, and with tensed muscles stood glaring down
upon his unsuspecting victim. The boy's lids drooped and closed.
Presently his breast rose and fell to the deep breaths of slumber.
The time had come!
The Russian crept stealthily nearer. A branch rustled beneath
his weight and the lad stirred in his sleep. Paulvitch drew his
revolver and levelled it upon the black. For a moment he remained
in rigid quiet, and then again the youth relapsed into undisturbed
The white man crept closer. He could not chance a shot until there
was no risk of missing. Presently he leaned close above the Mosula.
The cold steel of the revolver in his hand insinuated itself nearer
and nearer to the breast of the unconscious lad. Now it stopped
but a few inches above the strongly beating heart.
But the pressure of a finger lay between the harmless boy and
eternity. The soft bloom of youth still lay upon the brown cheek,
a smile half parted the beardless lips. Did any qualm of conscience
point its disquieting finger of reproach at the murderer?
To all such was Alexander Paulvitch immune. A sneer curled
his bearded lip as his forefinger closed upon the trigger of his
revolver. There was a loud report. A little hole appeared above
the heart of the sleeping boy, a little hole about which lay a
blackened rim of powder-burned flesh.
The youthful body half rose to a sitting posture. The smiling
lips tensed to the nervous shock of a momentary agony which the
conscious mind never apprehended, and then the dead sank limply
back into that deepest of slumbers from which there is no awakening.
The killer dropped quickly into the skiff beside the killed.
Ruthless hands seized the dead boy heartlessly and raised him to
the low gunwale. A little shove, a splash, some widening ripples
broken by the sudden surge of a dark, hidden body from the slimy
depths, and the coveted canoe was in the sole possession of the
white man--more savage than the youth whose life he had taken.
Casting off the tie rope and seizing the paddle, Paulvitch bent
feverishly to the task of driving the skiff downward toward the
Ugambi at top speed.
Night had fallen when the prow of the bloodstained craft shot
out into the current of the larger stream. Constantly the Russian
strained his eyes into the increasing darkness ahead in vain
endeavour to pierce the black shadows which lay between him and
the anchorage of the Kincaid.
Was the ship still riding there upon the waters of the Ugambi, or
had the ape-man at last persuaded himself of the safety of venturing
forth into the abating storm? As Paulvitch forged ahead with the
current he asked himself these questions, and many more beside,
not the least disquieting of which were those which related to his
future should it chance that the Kincaid had already steamed away,
leaving him to the merciless horrors of the savage wilderness.
In the darkness it seemed to the paddler that he was fairly flying
over the water, and he had become convinced that the ship had left
her moorings and that he had already passed the spot at which she
had lain earlier in the day, when there appeared before him beyond
a projecting point which he had but just rounded the flickering
light from a ship's lantern.
Alexander Paulvitch could scarce restrain an exclamation of triumph.
The Kincaid had not departed! Life and vengeance were not to elude
him after all.
He stopped paddling the moment that he descried the gleaming beacon
of hope ahead of him. Silently he drifted down the muddy waters
of the Ugambi, occasionally dipping his paddle's blade gently into
the current that he might guide his primitive craft to the vessel's
As he approached more closely the dark bulk of a ship loomed before
him out of the blackness of the night. No sound came from the
vessel's deck. Paulvitch drifted, unseen, close to the Kincaid's
side. Only the momentary scraping of his canoe's nose against the
ship's planking broke the silence of the night.
Trembling with nervous excitement, the Russian remained motionless
for several minutes; but there was no sound from the great bulk
above him to indicate that his coming had been noted.
Stealthily he worked his craft forward until the stays of the
bowsprit were directly above him. He could just reach them. To
make his canoe fast there was the work of but a minute or two, and
then the man raised himself quietly aloft.
A moment later he dropped softly to the deck. Thoughts of the
hideous pack which tenanted the ship induced cold tremors along
the spine of the cowardly prowler; but life itself depended upon
the success of his venture, and so he was enabled to steel himself
to the frightful chances which lay before him.
No sound or sign of watch appeared upon the ship's deck. Paulvitch
crept stealthily toward the forecastle. All was silence. The
hatch was raised, and as the man peered downward he saw one of the
Kincaid's crew reading by the light of the smoky lantern depending
from the ceiling of the crew's quarters.
Paulvitch knew the man well, a surly cut-throat upon whom he figured
strongly in the carrying out of the plan which he had conceived.
Gently the Russ lowered himself through the aperture to the rounds
of the ladder which led into the forecastle.
He kept his eyes turned upon the reading man, ready to warn him to
silence the moment that the fellow discovered him; but so deeply
immersed was the sailor in the magazine that the Russian came,
unobserved, to the forecastle floor.
There he turned and whispered the reader's name. The man raised
his eyes from the magazine--eyes that went wide for a moment as
they fell upon the familiar countenance of Rokoff's lieutenant,
only to narrow instantly in a scowl of disapproval.
"The devil!" he ejaculated. "Where did you come from? We all
thought you were done for and gone where you ought to have gone a
long time ago. His lordship will be mighty pleased to see you."
Paulvitch crossed to the sailor's side. A friendly smile lay on
the Russian's lips, and his right hand was extended in greeting,
as though the other might have been a dear and long lost friend.
The sailor ignored the proffered hand, nor did he return the other's
"I've come to help you," explained Paulvitch. "I'm going to help
you get rid of the Englishman and his beasts--then there will be
no danger from the law when we get back to civilization. We can
sneak in on them while they sleep--that is Greystoke, his wife,
and that black scoundrel, Mugambi. Afterward it will be a simple
matter to clean up the beasts. Where are they?"
"They're below," replied the sailor; "but just let me tell you
something, Paulvitch. You haven't got no more show to turn us men
against the Englishman than nothing. We had all we wanted of you
and that other beast. He's dead, an' if I don't miss my guess a
whole lot you'll be dead too before long. You two treated us like
dogs, and if you think we got any love for you you better forget
"You mean to say that you're going to turn against me?" demanded
The other nodded, and then after a momentary pause, during which
an idea seemed to have occurred to him, he spoke again.
"Unless," he said, "you can make it worth my while to let you go
before the Englishman finds you here."
"You wouldn't turn me away in the jungle, would you?" asked Paulvitch.
"Why, I'd die there in a week."
"You'd have a chance there," replied the sailor. "Here, you wouldn't
have no chance. Why, if I woke up my maties here they'd probably
cut your heart out of you before the Englishman got a chance at
you at all. It's mighty lucky for you that I'm the one to be awake
now and not none of the others."
"You're crazy," cried Paulvitch. "Don't you know that the Englishman
will have you all hanged when he gets you back where the law can
get hold of you?"
"No, he won't do nothing of the kind," replied the sailor. "He's
told us as much, for he says that there wasn't nobody to blame but
you and Rokoff--the rest of us was just tools. See?"
For half an hour the Russian pleaded or threatened as the mood
seized him. Sometimes he was upon the verge of tears, and again
he was promising his listener either fabulous rewards or condign
punishment; but the other was obdurate. [condign: of equal value]
He made it plain to the Russian that there were but two plans open
to him--either he must consent to being turned over immediately
to Lord Greystoke, or he must pay to the sailor, as a price for
permission to quit the Kincaid unmolested, every cent of money and
article of value upon his person and in his cabin.
"And you'll have to make up your mind mighty quick," growled the
man, "for I want to turn in. Come now, choose--his lordship or
the jungle?"
"You'll be sorry for this," grumbled the Russian.
"Shut up," admonished the sailor. "If you get funny I may change
my mind, and keep you here after all."
Now Paulvitch had no intention of permitting himself to fall into
the hands of Tarzan of the Apes if he could possibly avoid it,
and while the terrors of the jungle appalled him they were, to his
mind, infinitely preferable to the certain death which he knew he
merited and for which he might look at the hands of the ape-man.
"Is anyone sleeping in my cabin?" he asked.
The sailor shook his head. "No," he said; "Lord and Lady Greystoke
have the captain's cabin. The mate is in his own, and there ain't
no one in yours."
"I'll go and get my valuables for you," said Paulvitch.
"I'll go with you to see that you don't try any funny business,"
said the sailor, and he followed the Russian up the ladder to the
At the cabin entrance the sailor halted to watch, permitting
Paulvitch to go alone to his cabin. Here he gathered together his
few belongings that were to buy him the uncertain safety of escape,
and as he stood for a moment beside the little table on which he
had piled them he searched his brain for some feasible plan either
to ensure his safety or to bring revenge upon his enemies.
And presently as he thought there recurred to his memory the little
black box which lay hidden in a secret receptacle beneath a false
top upon the table where his hand rested.
The Russian's face lighted to a sinister gleam of malevolent
satisfaction as he stooped and felt beneath the table top. A
moment later he withdrew from its hiding-place the thing he sought.
He had lighted the lantern swinging from the beams overhead that
he might see to collect his belongings, and now he held the black
box well in the rays of the lamplight, while he fingered at the
clasp that fastened its lid.
The lifted cover revealed two compartments within the box. In one
was a mechanism which resembled the works of a small clock. There
also was a little battery of two dry cells. A wire ran from the
clockwork to one of the poles of the battery, and from the other
pole through the partition into the other compartment, a second
wire returning directly to the clockwork.
Whatever lay within the second compartment was not visible, for a
cover lay over it and appeared to be sealed in place by asphaltum.
In the bottom of the box, beside the clockwork, lay a key, and this
Paulvitch now withdrew and fitted to the winding stem.
Gently he turned the key, muffling the noise of the winding operation
by throwing a couple of articles of clothing over the box. All the
time he listened intently for any sound which might indicate that
the sailor or another were approaching his cabin; but none came to
interrupt his work.
When the winding was completed the Russian set a pointer upon a small
dial at the side of the clockwork, then he replaced the cover upon
the black box, and returned the entire machine to its hiding-place
in the table.
A sinister smile curled the man's bearded lips as he gathered up
his valuables, blew out the lamp, and stepped from his cabin to
the side of the waiting sailor.
"Here are my things," said the Russian; "now let me go."
"I'll first take a look in your pockets," replied the sailor. "You
might have overlooked some trifling thing that won't be of no use
to you in the jungle, but that'll come in mighty handy to a poor
sailorman in London. Ah! just as I feared," he ejaculated an instant
later as he withdrew a roll of bank-notes from Paulvitch's inside
coat pocket.
The Russian scowled, muttering an imprecation; but nothing could
be gained by argument, and so he did his best to reconcile himself
to his loss in the knowledge that the sailor would never reach
London to enjoy the fruits of his thievery.
It was with difficulty that Paulvitch restrained a consuming desire
to taunt the man with a suggestion of the fate that would presently
overtake him and the other members of the Kincaid's company; but
fearing to arouse the fellow's suspicions, he crossed the deck and
lowered himself in silence into his canoe.
A minute or two later he was paddling toward the shore to be
swallowed up in the darkness of the jungle night, and the terrors
of a hideous existence from which, could he have had even a slight
foreknowledge of what awaited him in the long years to come, he
would have fled to the certain death of the open sea rather than
endure it.
The sailor, having made sure that Paulvitch had departed, returned
to the forecastle, where he hid away his booty and turned into his
bunk, while in the cabin that had belonged to the Russian there
ticked on and on through the silences of the night the little
mechanism in the small black box which held for the unconscious
sleepers upon the ill-starred Kincaid the coming vengeance of the
thwarted Russian.
Chapter 19
The Last of the "Kincaid"
Shortly after the break of day Tarzan was on deck noting the condition
of the weather. The wind had abated. The sky was cloudless.
Every condition seemed ideal for the commencement of the return
voyage to Jungle Island, where the beasts were to be left. And
The ape-man aroused the mate and gave instructions that the Kincaid
sail at the earliest possible moment. The remaining members of
the crew, safe in Lord Greystoke's assurance that they would not be
prosecuted for their share in the villainies of the two Russians,
hastened with cheerful alacrity to their several duties.
The beasts, liberated from the confinement of the hold, wandered
about the deck, not a little to the discomfiture of the crew in
whose minds there remained a still vivid picture of the savagery
of the beasts in conflict with those who had gone to their deaths
beneath the fangs and talons which even now seemed itching for the
soft flesh of further prey.
Beneath the watchful eyes of Tarzan and Mugambi, however, Sheeta
and the apes of Akut curbed their desires, so that the men worked
about the deck amongst them in far greater security than they
At last the Kincaid slipped down the Ugambi and ran out upon the
shimmering waters of the Atlantic. Tarzan and Jane Clayton watched
the verdure-clad shore-line receding in the ship's wake, and for
once the ape-man left his native soil without one single pang of
No ship that sailed the seven seas could have borne him away from
Africa to resume his search for his lost boy with half the speed
that the Englishman would have desired, and the slow-moving Kincaid
seemed scarce to move at all to the impatient mind of the bereaved
Yet the vessel made progress even when she seemed to be standing
still, and presently the low hills of Jungle Island became distinctly
visible upon the western horizon ahead.
In the cabin of Alexander Paulvitch the thing within the black box
ticked, ticked, ticked, with apparently unending monotony; but yet,
second by second, a little arm which protruded from the periphery
of one of its wheels came nearer and nearer to another little arm
which projected from the hand which Paulvitch had set at a certain
point upon the dial beside the clockwork. When those two arms
touched one another the ticking of the mechanism would cease--for
Jane and Tarzan stood upon the bridge looking out toward Jungle
Island. The men were forward, also watching the land grow upward
out of the ocean. The beasts had sought the shade of the galley,
where they were curled up in sleep. All was quiet and peace upon
the ship, and upon the waters.
Suddenly, without warning, the cabin roof shot up into the air,
a cloud of dense smoke puffed far above the Kincaid, there was a
terrific explosion which shook the vessel from stem to stern.
Instantly pandemonium broke loose upon the deck. The apes of
Akut, terrified by the sound, ran hither and thither, snarling and
growling. Sheeta leaped here and there, screaming out his startled
terror in hideous cries that sent the ice of fear straight to the
hearts of the Kincaid's crew.
Mugambi, too, was trembling. Only Tarzan of the Apes and his wife
retained their composure. Scarce had the debris settled than the
ape-man was among the beasts, quieting their fears, talking to them
in low, pacific tones, stroking their shaggy bodies, and assuring
them, as only he could, that the immediate danger was over.
An examination of the wreckage showed that their greatest danger, now,
lay in fire, for the flames were licking hungrily at the splintered
wood of the wrecked cabin, and had already found a foothold upon
the lower deck through a great jagged hole which the explosion had
By a miracle no member of the ship's company had been injured by
the blast, the origin of which remained for ever a total mystery
to all but one--the sailor who knew that Paulvitch had been aboard
the Kincaid and in his cabin the previous night. He guessed the
truth; but discretion sealed his lips. It would, doubtless, fare
none too well for the man who had permitted the arch enemy of them
all aboard the ship in the watches of the night, where later he
might set an infernal machine to blow them all to kingdom come.
No, the man decided that he would keep this knowledge to himself.
As the flames gained headway it became apparent to Tarzan
that whatever had caused the explosion had scattered some highly
inflammable substance upon the surrounding woodwork, for the water
which they poured in from the pump seemed rather to spread than to
extinguish the blaze.
Fifteen minutes after the explosion great, black clouds of smoke
were rising from the hold of the doomed vessel. The flames had
reached the engine-room, and the ship no longer moved toward the
shore. Her fate was as certain as though the waters had already
closed above her charred and smoking remains.
"It is useless to remain aboard her longer," remarked the ape-man
to the mate. "There is no telling but there may be other explosions,
and as we cannot hope to save her, the safest thing which we can
do is to take to the boats without further loss of time and make
Nor was there other alternative. Only the sailors could bring
away any belongings, for the fire, which had not yet reached the
forecastle, had consumed all in the vicinity of the cabin which
the explosion had not destroyed.
Two boats were lowered, and as there was no sea the landing was
made with infinite ease. Eager and anxious, the beasts of Tarzan
sniffed the familiar air of their native island as the small boats
drew in toward the beach, and scarce had their keels grated upon
the sand than Sheeta and the apes of Akut were over the bows and
racing swiftly toward the jungle. A half-sad smile curved the
lips of the ape-man as he watched them go.
"Good-bye, my friends," he murmured. "You have been good and
faithful allies, and I shall miss you."
"They will return, will they not, dear?" asked Jane Clayton, at
his side.
"They may and they may not," replied the ape-man. "They have been
ill at ease since they were forced to accept so many human beings
into their confidence. Mugambi and I alone affected them less,
for he and I are, at best, but half human. You, however, and the
members of the crew are far too civilized for my beasts--it is
you whom they are fleeing. Doubtless they feel that they cannot
trust themselves in the close vicinity of so much perfectly good
food without the danger that they may help themselves to a mouthful
some time by mistake."
Jane laughed. "I think they are just trying to escape you," she
retorted. "You are always making them stop something which they
see no reason why they should not do. Like little children they
are doubtless delighted at this opportunity to flee from the zone
of parental discipline. If they come back, though, I hope they
won't come by night."
"Or come hungry, eh?" laughed Tarzan.
For two hours after landing the little party stood watching the
burning ship which they had abandoned. Then there came faintly to
them from across the water the sound of a second explosion. The
Kincaid settled rapidly almost immediatel thereafter, and sank
within a few minutes.
The cause of the second explosion was less a mystery than that of
the first, the mate attributing it to the bursting of the boilers
when the flames had finally reached them; but what had caused the
first explosion was a subject of considerable speculation among
the stranded company.
Chapter 20
Jungle Island Again
The first consideration of the party was to locate fresh water and
make camp, for all knew that their term of existence upon Jungle
Island might be drawn out to months, or even years.
Tarzan knew the nearest water, and to this he immediately led the
party. Here the men fell to work to construct shelters and rude
furniture while Tarzan went into the jungle after meat, leaving the
faithful Mugambi and the Mosula woman to guard Jane, whose safety
he would never trust to any member of the Kincaid's cut-throat
Lady Greystoke suffered far greater anguish than any other of
the castaways, for the blow to her hopes and her already cruelly
lacerated mother-heart lay not in her own privations but in the
knowledge that she might now never be able to learn the fate of her
first-born or do aught to discover his whereabouts, or ameliorate
his condition--a condition which imagination naturally pictured in
the most frightful forms.
For two weeks the party divided the time amongst the various duties
which had been allotted to each. A daylight watch was maintained
from sunrise to sunset upon a bluff near the camp--a jutting shoulder
of rock which overlooked the sea. Here, ready for instant lighting,
was gathered a huge pile of dry branches, while from a lofty pole
which they had set in the ground there floated an improvised distress
signal fashioned from a red undershirt which belonged to the mate
of the Kincaid.
But never a speck upon the horizon that might be sail or smoke
rewarded the tired eyes that in their endless, hopeless vigil
strained daily out across the vast expanse of ocean.
It was Tarzan who suggested, finally, that they attempt to construct
a vessel that would bear them back to the mainland. He alone
could show them how to fashion rude tools, and when the idea had
taken root in the minds of the men they were eager to commence
their labours.
But as time went on and the Herculean nature of their task became
more and more apparent they fell to grumbling, and to quarrelling
among themselves, so that to the other dangers were now added
dissension and suspicion.
More than before did Tarzan now fear to leave Jane among the half
brutes of the Kincaid's crew; but hunting he must do, for none other
could so surely go forth and return with meat as he. Sometimes
Mugambi spelled him at the hunting; but the black's spear and arrows
were never so sure of results as the rope and knife of the ape-man.
Finally the men shirked their work, going off into the jungle by
twos to explore and to hunt. All this time the camp had had no
sight of Sheeta, or Akut and the other great apes, though Tarzan
had sometimes met them in the jungle as he hunted.
And as matters tended from bad to worse in the camp of the castaways
upon the east coast of Jungle Island, another camp came into being
upon the north coast.
Here, in a little cove, lay a small schooner, the Cowrie, whose
decks had but a few days since run red with the blood of her officers
and the loyal members of her crew, for the Cowrie had fallen upon
bad days when it had shipped such men as Gust and Momulla the Maori
and that arch-fiend Kai Shang of Fachan.
There were others, too, ten of them all told, the scum of the
South Sea ports; but Gust and Momulla and Kai Shang were the brains
and cunning of the company. It was they who had instigated the
mutiny that they might seize and divide the catch of pearls which
constituted the wealth of the Cowrie's cargo.
It was Kai Shang who had murdered the captain as he lay asleep in
his berth, and it had been Momulla the Maori who had led the attack
upon the officer of the watch.
Gust, after his own peculiar habit, had found means to delegate to
the others the actual taking of life. Not that Gust entertained
any scruples on the subject, other than those which induced in
him a rare regard for his own personal safety. There is always
a certain element of risk to the assassin, for victims of deadly
assault are seldom prone to die quietly and considerately. There
is always a certain element of risk to go so far as to dispute the
issue with the murderer. It was this chance of dispute which Gust
preferred to forgo.
But now that the work was done the Swede aspired to the position
of highest command among the mutineers. He had even gone so far as
to appropriate and wear certain articles belonging to the murdered
captain of the Cowrie--articles of apparel which bore upon them
the badges and insignia of authority.
Kai Shang was peeved. He had no love for authority, and certainly
not the slightest intention of submitting to the domination of an
ordinary Swede sailor.
The seeds of discontent were, therefore, already planted in the
camp of the mutineers of the Cowrie at the north edge of Jungle
Island. But Kai Shang realized that he must act with circumspection,
for Gust alone of the motley horde possessed sufficient knowledge
of navigation to get them out of the South Atlantic and around the
cape into more congenial waters where they might find a market for
their ill-gotten wealth, and no questions asked.
The day before they sighted Jungle Island and discovered the little
land-locked harbour upon the bosom of which the Cowrie now rode
quietly at anchor, the watch had discovered the smoke and funnels
of a warship upon the southern horizon.
The chance of being spoken and investigated by a man-of-war appealed
not at all to any of them, so they put into hiding for a few days
until the danger should have passed.
And now Gust did not wish to venture out to sea again. There
was no telling, he insisted, but that the ship they had seen was
actually searching for them. Kai Shang pointed out that such could
not be the case since it was impossible for any human being other
than themselves to have knowledge of what had transpired aboard
the Cowrie.
But Gust was not to be persuaded. In his wicked heart he nursed a
scheme whereby he might increase his share of the booty by something
like one hundred per cent. He alone could sail the Cowrie, therefore
the others could not leave Jungle Island without him; but what was
there to prevent Gust, with just sufficient men to man the schooner,
slipping away from Kai Shang, Momulla the Maori, and some half of
the crew when opportunity presented?
It was for this opportunity that Gust waited. Some day there
would come a moment when Kai Shang, Momulla, and three or four of
the others would be absent from camp, exploring or hunting. The
Swede racked his brain for some plan whereby he might successfully
lure from the sight of the anchored ship those whom he had determined
to abandon.
To this end he organized hunting party after hunting party, but always
the devil of perversity seemed to enter the soul of Kai Shang, so
that wily celestial would never hunt except in the company of Gust
One day Kai Shang spoke secretly with Momulla the Maori, pouring into
the brown ear of his companion the suspicions which he harboured
concerning the Swede. Momulla was for going immediately and running
a long knife through the heart of the traitor.
It is true that Kai Shang had no other evidence than the natural
cunning of his own knavish soul--but he imagined in the intentions
of Gust what he himself would have been glad to accomplish had the
means lain at hand.
But he dared not let Momulla slay the Swede, upon whom they depended
to guide them to their destination. They decided, however, that
it would do no harm to attempt to frighten Gust into acceding to
their demands, and with this purpose in mind the Maori sought out
the self-constituted commander of the party.
When he broached the subject of immediate departure Gust again
raised his former objection--that the warship might very probably
be patrolling the sea directly in their southern path, waiting for
them to make the attempt to reach other waters.
Momulla scoffed at the fears of his fellow, pointing out that as
no one aboard any warship knew of their mutiny there could be no
reason why they should be suspected.
"Ah!" exclaimed Gust, "there is where you are wrong. There is
where you are lucky that you have an educated man like me to tell
you what to do. You are an ignorant savage, Momulla, and so you
know nothing of wireless."
The Maori leaped to his feet and laid his hand upon the hilt of
his knife.
"I am no savage," he shouted.
"I was only joking," the Swede hastened to explain. "We are old
friends, Momulla; we cannot afford to quarrel, at least not while
old Kai Shang is plotting to steal all the pearls from us. If
he could find a man to navigate the Cowrie he would leave us in a
minute. All his talk about getting away from here is just because
he has some scheme in his head to get rid of us."
"But the wireless," asked Momulla. "What has the wireless to do
with our remaining here?"
"Oh yes," replied Gust, scratching his head. He was wondering if
the Maori were really so ignorant as to believe the preposterous lie
he was about to unload upon him. "Oh yes! You see every warship
is equipped with what they call a wireless apparatus. It lets
them talk to other ships hundreds of miles away, and it lets them
listen to all that is said on these other ships. Now, you see,
when you fellows were shooting up the Cowrie you did a whole lot
of loud talking, and there isn't any doubt but that that warship
was a-lyin' off south of us listenin' to it all. Of course they
might not have learned the name of the ship, but they heard enough
to know that the crew of some ship was mutinying and killin' her
officers. So you see they'll be waiting to search every ship they
sight for a long time to come, and they may not be far away now."
When he had ceased speaking the Swede strove to assume an air of
composure that his listener might not have his suspicions aroused
as to the truth of the statements that had just been made.
Momulla sat for some time in silence, eyeing Gust. At last he
"You are a great liar," he said. "If you don't get us on our way
by tomorrow you'll never have another chance to lie, for I heard
two of the men saying that they'd like to run a knife into you and
that if you kept them in this hole any longer they'd do it."
"Go and ask Kai Shang if there is not a wireless," replied Gust.
"He will tell you that there is such a thing and that vessels can
talk to one another across hundreds of miles of water. Then say
to the two men who wish to kill me that if they do so they will
never live to spend their share of the swag, for only I can get
you safely to any port."
So Momulla went to Kai Shang and asked him if there was such an
apparatus as a wireless by means of which ships could talk with
each other at great distances, and Kai Shang told him that there
Momulla was puzzled; but still he wished to leave the island, and
was willing to take his chances on the open sea rather than to
remain longer in the monotony of the camp.
"If we only had someone else who could navigate a ship!" wailed
Kai Shang.
That afternoon Momulla went hunting with two other Maoris. They
hunted toward the south, and had not gone far from camp when they
were surprised by the sound of voices ahead of them in the jungle.
They knew that none of their own men had preceded them, and as all
were convinced that the island was uninhabited, they were inclined
to flee in terror on the hypothesis that the place was haunted--possibly
by the ghosts of the murdered officers and men of the Cowrie.
But Momulla was even more curious than he was superstitious, and
so he quelled his natural desire to flee from the supernatural.
Motioning his companions to follow his example, he dropped to his
hands and knees, crawling forward stealthily and with quakings of
heart through the jungle in the direction from which came the voices
of the unseen speakers.
Presently, at the edge of a little clearing, he halted, and there he
breathed a deep sigh of relief, for plainly before him he saw two
flesh-and-blood men sitting upon a fallen log and talking earnestly
One was Schneider, mate of the Kincaid, and the other was a seaman
named Schmidt.
"I think we can do it, Schmidt," Schneider was saying. "A good
canoe wouldn't be hard to build, and three of us could paddle it to
the mainland in a day if the wind was right and the sea reasonably
calm. There ain't no use waiting for the men to build a big enough
boat to take the whole party, for they're sore now and sick of
working like slaves all day long. It ain't none of our business
anyway to save the Englishman. Let him look out for himself,
says I." He paused for a moment, and then eyeing the other to note
the effect of his next words, he continued, "But we might take the
woman. It would be a shame to leave a nice-lookin' piece like she
is in such a Gott-forsaken hole as this here island."
Schmidt looked up and grinned.
"So that's how she's blowin', is it?" he asked. "Why didn't you
say so in the first place? Wot's in it for me if I help you?"
"She ought to pay us well to get her back to civilization," explained
Schneider, "an' I tell you what I'll do. I'll just whack up with
the two men that helps me. I'll take half an' they can divide the
other half--you an' whoever the other bloke is. I'm sick of this
place, an' the sooner I get out of it the better I'll like it.
What do you say?"
"Suits me," replied Schmidt. "I wouldn't know how to reach the
mainland myself, an' know that none o' the other fellows would,
so's you're the only one that knows anything of navigation you're
the fellow I'll tie to."
Momulla the Maori pricked up his ears. He had a smattering of every
tongue that is spoken upon the seas, and more than a few times had
he sailed on English ships, so that he understood fairly well all
that had passed between Schneider and Schmidt since he had stumbled
upon them.
He rose to his feet and stepped into the clearing. Schneider and
his companion started as nervously as though a ghost had risen
before them. Schneider reached for his revolver. Momulla raised
his right hand, palm forward, as a sign of his pacific intentions.
"I am a friend," he said. "I heard you; but do not fear that I
will reveal what you have said. I can help you, and you can help
me." He was addressing Schneider. "You can navigate a ship, but
you have no ship. We have a ship, but no one to navigate it. If
you will come with us and ask no questions we will let you take
the ship where you will after you have landed us at a certain port,
the name of which we will give you later. You can take the woman
of whom you speak, and we will ask no questions either. Is it a
Schneider desired more information, and got as much as Momulla
thought best to give him. Then the Maori suggested that they speak
with Kai Shang. The two members of the Kincaid's company followed
Momulla and his fellows to a point in the jungle close by the camp
of the mutineers. Here Momulla hid them while he went in search
of Kai Shang, first admonishing his Maori companions to stand guard
over the two sailors lest they change their minds and attempt to
escape. Schneider and Schmidt were virtually prisoners, though
they did not know it.
Presently Momulla returned with Kai Shang, to whom he had briefly
narrated the details of the stroke of good fortune that had come
to them. The Chinaman spoke at length with Schneider, until,
notwithstanding his natural suspicion of the sincerity of all men,
he became quite convinced that Schneider was quite as much a rogue
as himself and that the fellow was anxious to leave the island.
These two premises accepted there could be little doubt that Schneider
would prove trustworthy in so far as accepting the command of the
Cowrie was concerned; after that Kai Shang knew that he could find
means to coerce the man into submission to his further wishes.
When Schneider and Schmidt left them and set out in the direction
of their own camp, it was with feelings of far greater relief
than they had experienced in many a day. Now at last they saw a
feasible plan for leaving the island upon a seaworthy craft. There
would be no more hard labour at ship-building, and no risking their
lives upon a crudely built makeshift that would be quite as likely
to go to the bottom as it would to reach the mainland.
Also, they were to have assistance in capturing the woman, or
rather women, for when Momulla had learned that there was a black
woman in the other camp he had insisted that she be brought along
as well as the white woman.
As Kai Shang and Momulla entered their camp, it was with a realization
that they no longer needed Gust. They marched straight to the
tent in which they might expect to find him at that hour of the
day, for though it would have been more comfortable for the entire
party to remain aboard the ship, they had mutually decided that
it would be safer for all concerned were they to pitch their camp
Each knew that in the heart of the others was sufficient treachery
to make it unsafe for any member of the party to go ashore leaving
the others in possession of the Cowrie, so not more than two or
three men at a time were ever permitted aboard the vessel unless
all the balance of the company was there too.
As the two crossed toward Gust's tent the Maori felt the edge of
his long knife with one grimy, calloused thumb. The Swede would
have felt far from comfortable could he have seen this significant
action, or read what was passing amid the convolutions of the brown
man's cruel brain.
Now it happened that Gust was at that moment in the tent occupied
by the cook, and this tent stood but a few feet from his own. So
that he heard the approach of Kai Shang and Momulla, though he did
not, of course, dream that it had any special significance for him.
Chance had it, though, that he glanced out of the doorway of the
cook's tent at the very moment that Kai Shang and Momulla approached
the entrance to his, and he thought that he noted a stealthiness
in their movements that comported poorly with amicable or friendly
intentions, and then, just as they two slunk within the interior,
Gust caught a glimpse of the long knife which Momulla the Maori
was then carrying behind his back.
The Swede's eyes opened wide, and a funny little sensation assailed
the roots of his hairs. Also he turned almost white beneath his
tan. Quite precipitately he left the cook's tent. He was not one
who required a detailed exposition of intentions that were quite
all too obvious.
As surely as though he had heard them plotting, he knew that Kai
Shang and Momulla had come to take his life. The knowledge that
he alone could navigate the Cowrie had, up to now, been sufficient
assurance of his safety; but quite evidently something had occurred
of which he had no knowledge that would make it quite worth the
while of his co-conspirators to eliminate him.
Without a pause Gust darted across the beach and into the jungle.
He was afraid of the jungle; uncanny noises that were indeed frightful
came forth from its recesses--the tangled mazes of the mysterious
country back of the beach.
But if Gust was afraid of the jungle he was far more afraid of Kai
Shang and Momulla. The dangers of the jungle were more or less
problematical, while the danger that menaced him at the hands of
his companions was a perfectly well-known quantity, which might be
expressed in terms of a few inches of cold steel, or the coil of
a light rope. He had seen Kai Shang garrotte a man at Pai-sha in
a dark alleyway back of Loo Kotai's place. He feared the rope,
therefore, more than he did the knife of the Maori; but he feared
them both too much to remain within reach of either. Therefore he
chose the pitiless jungle.
Chapter 21
The Law of the Jungle
In Tarzan's camp, by dint of threats and promised rewards, the
ape-man had finally succeeded in getting the hull of a large skiff
almost completed. Much of the work he and Mugambi had done with
their own hands in addition to furnishing the camp with meat.
Schneider, the mate, had been doing considerable grumbling, and
had at last openly deserted the work and gone off into the jungle
with Schmidt to hunt. He said that he wanted a rest, and Tarzan,
rather than add to the unpleasantness which already made camp life
almost unendurable, had permitted the two men to depart without a
Upon the following day, however, Schneider affected a feeling of
remorse for his action, and set to work with a will upon the skiff.
Schmidt also worked good-naturedly, and Lord Greystoke congratulated
himself that at last the men had awakened to the necessity for the
labour which was being asked of them and to their obligations to
the balance of the party.
It was with a feeling of greater relief than he had experienced for
many a day that he set out that noon to hunt deep in the jungle for
a herd of small deer which Schneider reported that he and Schmidt
had seen there the day before.
The direction in which Schneider had reported seeing the deer was
toward the south-west, and to that point the ape-man swung easily
through the tangled verdure of the forest.
And as he went there approached from the north a half-dozen
ill-featured men who went stealthily through the jungle as go men
bent upon the commission of a wicked act.
They thought that they travelled unseen; but behind them, almost
from the moment they quitted their own camp, a tall man crept upon
their trail. In the man's eyes were hate and fear, and a great
curiosity. Why went Kai Shang and Momulla and the others thus
stealthily toward the south? What did they expect to find there?
Gust shook his low-browed head in perplexity. But he would know.
He would follow them and learn their plans, and then if he could
thwart them he would--that went without question.
At first he had thought that they searched for him; but finally
his better judgment assured him that such could not be the case,
since they had accomplished all they really desired by chasing him
out of camp. Never would Kai Shang or Momulla go to such pains to
slay him or another unless it would put money into their pockets,
and as Gust had no money it was evident that they were searching
for someone else.
Presently the party he trailed came to a halt. Its members concealed
themselves in the foliage bordering the game trail along which they
had come. Gust, that he might the better observe, clambered into
the branches of a tree to the rear of them, being careful that the
leafy fronds hid him from the view of his erstwhile mates.
He had not long to wait before he saw a strange white man approach
carefully along the trail from the south.
At sight of the newcomer Momulla and Kai Shang arose from their
places of concealment and greeted him. Gust could not overhear
what passed between them. Then the man returned in the direction
from which he had come.
He was Schneider. Nearing his camp he circled to the opposite side
of it, and presently came running in breathlessly. Excitedly he
hastened to Mugambi.
"Quick!" he cried. "Those apes of yours have caught Schmidt and
will kill him if we do not hasten to his aid. You alone can call
them off. Take Jones and Sullivan--you may need help--and get to
him as quick as you can. Follow the game trail south for about
a mile. I will remain here. I am too spent with running to go
back with you," and the mate of the Kincaid threw himself upon the
ground, panting as though he was almost done for.
Mugambi hesitated. He had been left to guard the two women. He
did not know what to do, and then Jane Clayton, who had heard
Schneider's story, added her pleas to those of the mate.
"Do not delay," she urged. "We shall be all right here. Mr.
Schneider will remain with us. Go, Mugambi. The poor fellow must
be saved."
Schmidt, who lay hidden in a bush at the edge of the camp, grinned.
Mugambi, heeding the commands of his mistress, though still doubtful
of the wisdom of his action, started off toward the south, with
Jones and Sullivan at his heels.
No sooner had he disappeared than Schmidt rose and darted north
into the jungle, and a few minutes later the face of Kai Shang of
Fachan appeared at the edge of the clearing. Schneider saw the
Chinaman, and motioned to him that the coast was clear.
Jane Clayton and the Mosula woman were sitting at the opening of
the former's tent, their backs toward the approaching ruffians.
The first intimation that either had of the presence of strangers
in camp was the sudden appearance of a half-dozen ragged villains
about them.
"Come!" said Kai Shang, motioning that the two arise and follow
Jane Clayton sprang to her feet and looked about for Schneider,
only to see him standing behind the newcomers, a grin upon his
face. At his side stood Schmidt. Instantly she saw that she had
been made the victim of a plot.
"What is the meaning of this?" she asked, addressing the mate.
"It means that we have found a ship and that we can now escape from
Jungle Island," replied the man.
"Why did you send Mugambi and the others into the jungle?" she
"They are not coming with us--only you and I, and the Mosula woman."
"Come!" repeated Kai Shang, and seized Jane Clayton's wrist.
One of the Maoris grasped the black woman by the arm, and when she
would have screamed struck her across the mouth.
Mugambi raced through the jungle toward the south. Jones and
Sullivan trailed far behind. For a mile he continued upon his way
to the relief of Schmidt, but no signs saw he of the missing man
or of any of the apes of Akut.
At last he halted and called aloud the summons which he and Tarzan
had used to hail the great anthropoids. There was no response.
Jones and Sullivan came up with the black warrior as the latter
stood voicing his weird call. For another half-mile the black
searched, calling occasionally.
Finally the truth flashed upon him, and then, like a frightened
deer, he wheeled and dashed back toward camp. Arriving there, it
was but a moment before full confirmation of his fears was impressed
upon him. Lady Greystoke and the Mosula woman were gone. So,
likewise, was Schneider.
When Jones and Sullivan joined Mugambi he would have killed them
in his anger, thinking them parties to the plot; but they finally
succeeded in partially convincing him that they had known nothing
of it.
As they stood speculating upon the probable whereabouts of the
women and their abductor, and the purpose which Schneider had in
mind in taking them from camp, Tarzan of the Apes swung from the
branches of a tree and crossed the clearing toward them.
His keen eyes detected at once that something was radically wrong,
and when he had heard Mugambi's story his jaws clicked angrily
together as he knitted his brows in thought.
What could the mate hope to accomplish by taking Jane Clayton from
a camp upon a small island from which there was no escape from the
vengeance of Tarzan? The ape-man could not believe the fellow such
a fool, and then a slight realization of the truth dawned upon him.
Schneider would not have committed such an act unless he had been
reasonably sure that there was a way by which he could quit Jungle
Island with his prisoners. But why had he taken the black woman
as well? There must have been others, one of whom wanted the dusky
"Come," said Tarzan, "there is but one thing to do now, and that
is to follow the trail."
As he finished speaking a tall, ungainly figure emerged from the
jungle north of the camp. He came straight toward the four men. He
was an entire stranger to all of them, not one of whom had dreamed
that another human being than those of their own camp dwelt upon
the unfriendly shores of Jungle Island.
It was Gust. He came directly to the point.
"Your women were stolen," he said. "If you want ever to see them
again, come quickly and follow me. If we do not hurry the Cowrie
will be standing out to sea by the time we reach her anchorage."
"Who are you?" asked Tarzan. "What do you know of the theft of my
wife and the black woman?"
"I heard Kai Shang and Momulla the Maori plot with two men of your
camp. They had chased me from our camp, and would have killed me.
Now I will get even with them. Come!"
Gust led the four men of the Kincaid's camp at a rapid trot through
the jungle toward the north. Would they come to the sea in time?
But a few more minutes would answer the question.
And when at last the little party did break through the last of the
screening foliage, and the harbour and the ocean lay before them,
they realized that fate had been most cruelly unkind, for the Cowrie
was already under sail and moving slowly out of the mouth of the
harbour into the open sea.
What were they to do? Tarzan's broad chest rose and fell to the
force of his pent emotions. The last blow seemed to have fallen,
and if ever in all his life Tarzan of the Apes had had occasion to
abandon hope it was now that he saw the ship bearing his wife to
some frightful fate moving gracefully over the rippling water, so
very near and yet so hideously far away.
In silence he stood watching the vessel. He saw it turn toward
the east and finally disappear around a headland on its way he knew
not whither. Then he dropped upon his haunches and buried his face
in his hands.
It was after dark that the five men returned to the camp on the
east shore. The night was hot and sultry. No slightest breeze
ruffled the foliage of the trees or rippled the mirror-like surface
of the ocean. Only a gentle swell rolled softly in upon the beach.
Never had Tarzan seen the great Atlantic so ominously at peace.
He was standing at the edge of the beach gazing out to sea
in the direction of the mainland, his mind filled with sorrow and
hopelessness, when from the jungle close behind the camp came the
uncanny wail of a panther.
There was a familiar note in the weird cry, and almost mechanically
Tarzan turned his head and answered. A moment later the tawny
figure of Sheeta slunk out into the half-light of the beach. There
was no moon, but the sky was brilliant with stars. Silently the
savage brute came to the side of the man. It had been long since
Tarzan had seen his old fighting companion, but the soft purr was
sufficient to assure him that the animal still recalled the bonds
which had united them in the past.
The ape-man let his fingers fall upon the beast's coat, and as
Sheeta pressed close against his leg he caressed and fondled the
wicked head while his eyes continued to search the blackness of
the waters.
Presently he started. What was that? He strained his eyes into
the night. Then he turned and called aloud to the men smoking
upon their blankets in the camp. They came running to his side;
but Gust hesitated when he saw the nature of Tarzan's companion.
"Look!" cried Tarzan. "A light! A ship's light! It must be
the Cowrie. They are becalmed." And then with an exclamation of
renewed hope, "We can reach them! The skiff will carry us easily."
Gust demurred. "They are well armed," he warned. "We could not
take the ship--just five of us."
"There are six now," replied Tarzan, pointing to Sheeta, "and we
can have more still in a half-hour. Sheeta is the equivalent of
twenty men, and the few others I can bring will add full a hundred
to our fighting strength. You do not know them."
The ape-man turned and raised his head toward the jungle, while
there pealed from his lips, time after time, the fearsome cry of
the bull-ape who would summon his fellows.
Presently from the jungle came an answering cry, and then another
and another. Gust shuddered. Among what sort of creatures had
fate thrown him? Were not Kai Shang and Momulla to be preferred
to this great white giant who stroked a panther and called to the
beasts of the jungle?
In a few minutes the apes of Akut came crashing through the
underbrush and out upon the beach, while in the meantime the five
men had been struggling with the unwieldy bulk of the skiff's hull.
By dint of Herculean efforts they had managed to get it to the
water's edge. The oars from the two small boats of the Kincaid,
which had been washed away by an off-shore wind the very night
that the party had landed, had been in use to support the canvas of
the sailcloth tents. These were hastily requisitioned, and by the
time Akut and his followers came down to the water all was ready
for embarkation.
Once again the hideous crew entered the service of their master,
and without question took up their places in the skiff. The four
men, for Gust could not be prevailed upon to accompany the party,
fell to the oars, using them paddle-wise, while some of the apes
followed their example, and presently the ungainly skiff was moving
quietly out to sea in the direction of the light which rose and
fell gently with the swell.
A sleepy sailor kept a poor vigil upon the Cowrie's deck, while
in the cabin below Schneider paced up and down arguing with Jane
Clayton. The woman had found a revolver in a table drawer in the
room in which she had been locked, and now she kept the mate of
the Kincaid at bay with the weapon.
The Mosula woman kneeled behind her, while Schneider paced up and
down before the door, threatening and pleading and promising, but
all to no avail. Presently from the deck above came a shout of
warning and a shot. For an instant Jane Clayton relaxed her vigilance,
and turned her eyes toward the cabin skylight. Simultaneously
Schneider was upon her.
The first intimation the watch had that there was another craft
within a thousand miles of the Cowrie came when he saw the head
and shoulders of a man poked over the ship's side. Instantly
the fellow sprang to his feet with a cry and levelled his revolver
at the intruder. It was his cry and the subsequent report of the
revolver which threw Jane Clayton off her guard.
Upon deck the quiet of fancied security soon gave place to the
wildest pandemonium. The crew of the Cowrie rushed above armed
with revolvers, cutlasses, and the long knives that many of them
habitually wore; but the alarm had come too late. Already the
beasts of Tarzan were upon the ship's deck, with Tarzan and the
two men of the Kincaid's crew.
In the face of the frightful beasts the courage of the mutineers
wavered and broke. Those with revolvers fired a few scattering
shots and then raced for some place of supposed safety. Into the
shrouds went some; but the apes of Akut were more at home there
than they.
Screaming with terror the Maoris were dragged from their lofty
perches. The beasts, uncontrolled by Tarzan who had gone in search
of Jane, loosed in the full fury of their savage natures upon the
unhappy wretches who fell into their clutches.
Sheeta, in the meanwhile, had felt his great fangs sink into but a
singular jugular. For a moment he mauled the corpse, and then he
spied Kai Shang darting down the companionway toward his cabin.
With a shrill scream Sheeta was after him--a scream which awoke
an almost equally uncanny cry in the throat of the terror-stricken
But Kai Shang reached his cabin a fraction of a second ahead of
the panther, and leaping within slammed the door--just too late.
Sheeta's great body hurtled against it before the catch engaged,
and a moment later Kai Shang was gibbering and shrieking in the
back of an upper berth.
Lightly Sheeta sprang after his victim, and presently the wicked
days of Kai Shang of Fachan were ended, and Sheeta was gorging
himself upon tough and stringy flesh.
A moment scarcely had elapsed after Schneider leaped upon Jane
Clayton and wrenched the revolver from her hand, when the door of
the cabin opened and a tall and half-naked white man stood framed
within the portal.
Silently he leaped across the cabin. Schneider felt sinewy fingers
at his throat. He turned his head to see who had attacked him,
and his eyes went wide when he saw the face of the ape-man close
above his own.
Grimly the fingers tightened upon the mate's throat. He tried to
scream, to plead, but no sound came forth. His eyes protruded as
he struggled for freedom, for breath, for life.
Jane Clayton seized her husband's hands and tried to drag them from
the throat of the dying man; but Tarzan only shook his head.
"Not again," he said quietly. "Before have I permitted scoundrels
to live, only to suffer and to have you suffer for my mercy. This
time we shall make sure of one scoundrel--sure that he will never
again harm us or another," and with a sudden wrench he twisted the
neck of the perfidious mate until there was a sharp crack, and the
man's body lay limp and motionless in the ape-man's grasp. With a
gesture of disgust Tarzan tossed the corpse aside. Then he returned
to the deck, followed by Jane and the Mosula woman.
The battle there was over. Schmidt and Momulla and two others
alone remained alive of all the company of the Cowrie, for they had
found sanctuary in the forecastle. The others had died, horribly,
and as they deserved, beneath the fangs and talons of the beasts
of Tarzan, and in the morning the sun rose on a grisly sight upon
the deck of the unhappy Cowrie; but this time the blood which
stained her white planking was the blood of the guilty and not of
the innocent.
Tarzan brought forth the men who had hidden in the forecastle, and
without promises of immunity from punishment forced them to help
work the vessel--the only alternative was immediate death.
A stiff breeze had risen with the sun, and with canvas spread the
Cowrie set in toward Jungle Island, where a few hours later, Tarzan
picked up Gust and bid farewell to Sheeta and the apes of Akut, for
here he set the beasts ashore to pursue the wild and natural life
they loved so well; nor did they lose a moment's time in disappearing
into the cool depths of their beloved jungle.
That they knew that Tarzan was to leave them may be doubted--except
possibly in the case of the more intelligent Akut, who alone of
all the others remained upon the beach as the small boat drew away
toward the schooner, carrying his savage lord and master from him.
And as long as their eyes could span the distance, Jane and Tarzan,
standing upon the deck, saw the lonely figure of the shaggy anthropoid
motionless upon the surf-beaten sands of Jungle Island.
It was three days later that the Cowrie fell in with H.M. sloop-of-war
Shorewater, through whose wireless Lord Greystoke soon got in
communication with London. Thus he learned that which filled his
and his wife's heart with joy and thanksgiving--little Jack was
safe at Lord Greystoke's town house.
It was not until they reached London that they learned the details
of the remarkable chain of circumstances that had preserved the
infant unharmed.
It developed that Rokoff, fearing to take the child aboard the
Kincaid by day, had hidden it in a low den where nameless infants
were harboured, intending to carry it to the steamer after dark.
His confederate and chief lieutenant, Paulvitch, true to the long
years of teaching of his wily master, had at last succumbed to
the treachery and greed that had always marked his superior, and,
lured by the thoughts of the immense ransom that he might win
by returning the child unharmed, had divulged the secret of its
parentage to the woman who maintained the foundling asylum. Through
her he had arranged for the substitution of another infant, knowing
full well that never until it was too late would Rokoff suspect
the trick that had been played upon him.
The woman had promised to keep the child until Paulvitch returned
to England; but she, in turn, had been tempted to betray her trust
by the lure of gold, and so had opened negotiations with Lord
Greystoke's solicitors for the return of the child.
Esmeralda, the old Negro nurse whose absence on a vacation in America
at the time of the abduction of little Jack had been attributed
by her as the cause of the calamity, had returned and positively
identified the infant.
The ransom had been paid, and within ten days of the date of
his kidnapping the future Lord Greystoke, none the worse for his
experience, had been returned to his father's home.
And so that last and greatest of Nikolas Rokoff's many rascalities
had not only miserably miscarried through the treachery he had
taught his only friend, but it had resulted in the arch-villain's
death, and given to Lord and Lady Greystoke a peace of mind that
neither could ever have felt so long as the vital spark remained in
the body of the Russian and his malign mind was free to formulate
new atrocities against them.
Rokoff was dead, and while the fate of Paulvitch was unknown, they
had every reason to believe that he had succumbed to the dangers
of the jungle where last they had seen him--the malicious tool of
his master.
And thus, in so far as they might know, they were to be freed for
ever from the menace of these two men--the only enemies which Tarzan
of the Apes ever had had occasion to fear, because they struck at
him cowardly blows, through those he loved.
It was a happy family party that were reunited in Greystoke House
the day that Lord Greystoke and his lady landed upon English soil
from the deck of the Shorewater.
Accompanying them were Mugambi and the Mosula woman whom he had
found in the bottom of the canoe that night upon the bank of the
little tributary of the Ugambi.
The woman had preferred to cling to her new lord and master rather
than return to the marriage she had tried to escape.
Tarzan had proposed to them that they might find a home upon his
vast African estates in the land of the Waziri, where they were to
be sent as soon as opportunity presented itself.
Possibly we shall see them all there amid the savage romance of
the grim jungle and the great plains where Tarzan of the Apes loves
best to be.
Who knows?

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