The Beasts of Tarzan
Edgar Rice Burroughs
To Joan Burroughs
Beasts at Bay
A Hideous Crew
The Dance of Death
Chivalry or Villainy
A Black Scoundrel
Alone in the Jungle
Down the Ugambi
In the Darkness of the Night
On the Deck of the "Kincaid"
Paulvitch Plots Revenge
The Last of the "Kincaid"
Jungle Island Again
The Law of the Jungle
"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,
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
"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
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
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
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 first-born. 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
"Where is the boy?" asked Greystoke.
"On that small steamer whose lights you can just see yonder," replied
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."
"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
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 here."
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 theirs.
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 him.
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 him?
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
Clear and shrill from the deck above him rang the scream of a
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
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 near-by steamer.
"There they be," whispered the man.
"Ten pounds if you will find a boat and row me to that steamer," cried
"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
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
"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 interruption.
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 interior.
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
"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
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 him.
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
"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
"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
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 liberty."
"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 smile.
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
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 him 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?
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 loin-cloth 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
"This, then, is to be a part of your punishment for having dared to pit
"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
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 man.
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
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
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
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
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
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 mates.
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
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
"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
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 end.
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 boyhood.
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
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
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
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.
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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 himself.
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
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 island?
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
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!
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 Sheeta.
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
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
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 view.
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
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.
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 appearance.
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 hands.
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
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
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
In the language of the West Coast, Tarzan spoke to the prostrate man
"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
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
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 off-shore 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.
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
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 shore.
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
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 expedition.
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
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
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 hunt.
"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
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
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 porters.
They swarmed about Tarzan's craft; but when they saw the nature of the
enemy all but one turned and paddled swiftly up-river. 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 him.
"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
"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 him?
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,
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.
The two savages, Kaviri and Mugambi, squatting before the entrance to
Kaviri's hut, looked at one another—Kaviri with ill-concealed alarm.
"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 Tarzan.
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 lips.
"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
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 loss.
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 black.
"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
"I have driven Sheeta away," he said. "Now come and admit me as you
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 him.
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
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
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 friendliness.
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
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
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 ammunition."
"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
A sneer curled the Russian's lips. He stepped quite close to Tarzan.
"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
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,
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 bronze.
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 cat-like, 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
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 passing.
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-man 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 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 warrior.
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
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 mangled.
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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 cat.
Only Tarzan of the Apes saw what else there was emerging from the dark
interior of the hut.
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
"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
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?
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
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?"
"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
"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
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
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 your 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
"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 day.
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 Jack.
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
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
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
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
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
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 exterior.
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
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
Then he heard her piteous cry as her knees gave beneath her, and she
sank to the ground in a swoon.
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 ape-man.
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 death.
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
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 village.
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
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
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
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
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
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 nostrils.
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
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 position.
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 whisper.
"Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard!" he said, and died.
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
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
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
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
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 front.
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 cold.
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
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
"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
"Oh, they have not gone far," replied Tambudza. "M'ganwazam knows
where they camp. His runners could quickly overtake them—they move
"Where are they?" asked Tarzan.
"Do you wish to come to them?" asked Tambudza in way of reply.
"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 again.
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 trail.
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!"
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
"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 sorry."
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
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 construct.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 pursuers.
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
"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,
"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
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
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 peril.
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 come 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
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 suffering.
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 words.
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
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
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.
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
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 myself."
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
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
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
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
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 grave.
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
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 opportunity.
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
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,
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 freedom.
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
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 beings.
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.
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
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
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
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
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 there.
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
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
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 as 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 ocean.
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
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.
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 sight.
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 Rokoff.
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
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 water.
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,
moved 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 breast.
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
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
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
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 leaf.
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
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
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 up-stream 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 sea.
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
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
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 demands.
For an hour or so nothing appeared upon the surface of the river to
cause her alarm, but then, about a bend up-stream, 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
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
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.
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
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 death.
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 creature's 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 child.
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
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 steamer.
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
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
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 master.
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 jungle.
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
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
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
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
After all her pains her heroic struggle for freedom had failed. With a
stifled sob she gave up the unequal battle.
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
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
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
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 them.
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
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
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
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 employer.
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 bridge.
After him pounced Sheeta the panther, unmindful of his master's warning
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
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 dead.
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
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
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.
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 hatred.
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 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 Muscovites.
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
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
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 love.
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
Only direct necessity could drive Alexander Paulvitch to personal
conflict; but it was indeed dire necessity which goaded him on to
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
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
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 slumber.
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
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
Alexander Paulvitch could scarce restrain an exclamation of triumph.
The Kincaid had not departed! Life and vengeance were not to elude him
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 side.
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 smile.
"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 it."
"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 deck.
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
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
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.
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 then—home!
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 imagined.
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 regret.
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 father.
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 ever.
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
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
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 opened.
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
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 land."
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
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
"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
"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 immediately 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
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 crew.
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
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
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
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
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 to 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 himself.
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
The Maori leaped to his feet and laid his hand upon the hilt of his
"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 rose.
"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
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 was.
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
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
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
"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 bargain?"
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
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
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 ashore.
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
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
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
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 remonstrance.
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 new-comer 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
He was Schneider. Nearing his camp he circled to the opposite side of
it, and presently came running in breathlessly. Excitedly he hastened
"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
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 him.
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 inquired.
"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
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
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 female.
"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
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 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
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 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
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 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
single 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
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
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
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
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 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