Part 3 out of 6
herself to watch the weird proceedings in the clearing below her.
A half-hour passed, during which the cadence of the drum increased
gradually. Now the great bull that had replied to the distant call
leaped from the inner circle to dance alone between the drummers
and the other bulls. He leaped and crouched and leaped again, now
growling and barking, again stopping to raise his hideous face
to Goro, the moon, and, beating upon his shaggy breast, uttered
a piercing scream-the challenge of the bull ape, had the girl but
He stood thus in the full glare of the great moon, motionless after
screaming forth his weird challenge, in the setting of the primeval
jungle and the circling apes a picture of primitive savagery and
power--a mightily muscled Hercules out of the dawn of life--when
from close behind her the girl heard an answering scream, and an
instant later saw an almost naked white man drop from a near-by
tree into the clearing.
Instantly the apes became a roaring, snarling pack of angry beasts.
Bertha Kircher held her breath. What maniac was this who dared
approach these frightful creatures in their own haunts, alone against
fifty? She saw the brown-skinned figure bathed in moonlight walk
straight toward the snarling pack. She saw the symmetry and the
beauty of that perfect body--its grace, its strength, its wondrous
proportioning, and then she recognized him. It was the same creature
whom she had seen carry Major Schneider from General Kraut's
headquarters, the same who had rescued her from Numa, the lion;
the same whom she had struck down with the butt of her pistol and
escaped when he would have returned her to her enemies, the same
who had slain Hauptmann Fritz Schneider and spared her life that
night in Wilhelmstal.
Fear-filled and fascinated she watched him as he neared the apes.
She heard sounds issue from his throat--sounds identical with
those uttered by the apes--and though she could scarce believe the
testimony of her own ears, she knew that this godlike creature was
conversing with the brutes in their own tongue.
Tarzan halted just before he reached the shes of the outer circle.
"I am Tarzan of the Apes!" he cried. "You do not know me because
I am of another tribe, but Tarzan comes in peace or he comes to
fight--which shall it be? Tarzan will talk with your king," and so
saying he pushed straight forward through the shes and the young
who now gave way before him, making a narrow lane through which he
passed toward the inner circle.
Shes and balus growled and bristled as he passed closer, but none
hindered him and thus he came to the inner circle of bulls. Here
bared fangs menaced him and growling faces hideously contorted. "I
am Tarzan," he repeated. "Tarzan comes to dance the Dum-Dum with
his brothers. Where is your king?" Again he pressed forward and the
girl in the tree clapped her palms to her cheeks as she watched,
wide-eyed, this madman going to a frightful death. In another instant
they would be upon him, rending and tearing until that perfect form
had been ripped to shreds; but again the ring parted, and though
the apes roared and menaced him they did not attack, and at last
he stood in the inner circle close to the drum and faced the great
Again he spoke. "I am Tarzan of the Apes," he cried. "Tarzan comes
to live with his brothers. He will come in peace and live in peace
or he will kill; but he has come and he will stay. Which--shall
Tarzan dance the Dum-Dum in peace with his brothers, or shall Tarzan
"I am Go-lat, King of the Apes," screamed the great bull. "I kill!
I kill! I kill!" and with a sullen roar he charged the Tarmangani.
The ape-man, as the girl watched him, seemed entirely unprepared
for the charge and she looked to see him borne down and slain at
the first rush. The great bull was almost upon him with huge hands
outstretched to seize him before Tarzan made a move, but when he
did move his quickness would have put Ara, the lightning, to shame.
As darts forward the head of Histah, the snake, so darted forward
the left hand of the man-beast as he seized the left wrist of his
antagonist. A quick turn and the bull's right arm was locked beneath
the right arm of his foe in a jujutsu hold that Tarzan had learned
among civilized men--a hold with which he might easily break the
great bones, a hold that left the ape helpless.
"I am Tarzan of the Apes!" screamed the ape-man. "Shall Tarzan
dance in peace or shall Tarzan kill?''
"I kill! I kill! I kill!" shrieked Go-lat.
With the quickness of a cat Tarzan swung the king ape over one hip
and sent him sprawling to the ground. "I am Tarzan, King of all
the Apes!" he shouted. "Shall it be peace?"
Go-lat, infuriated, leaped to his feet and charged again, shouting
his war cry: "I kill! I kill! I kill!" and again Tarzan met him
with a sudden hold that the stupid bull, being ignorant of, could
not possibly avert--a hold and a throw that brought a scream of
delight from the interested audience and suddenly filled the girl
with doubts as to the man's madness--evidently he was quite safe
among the apes, for she saw him swing Go-lat to his back and then
catapult him over his shoulder. The king ape fell upon his head
and lay very still.
"I am Tarzan of the Apes!" cried the ape-man. "I come to dance the
Dum-Dum with my brothers," and he made a motion to the drummers,
who immediately took up the cadence of the dance where they had
dropped it to watch their king slay the foolish Tarmangani.
It was then that Go-lat raised his head and slowly crawled to his
feet. Tarzan approached him. "I am Tarzan of the Apes," he cried.
"Shall Tarzan dance the Dum-Dum with his brothers now, or shall he
Go-lat raised his bloodshot eyes to the face of the Tarmangani.
"Kagoda!" he cried "Tarzan of the Apes will dance the Dum-Dum with
his brothers and Go-lat will dance with him!"
And then the girl in the tree saw the savage man leaping, bending, and
stamping with the savage apes in the ancient rite of the Dum-Dum.
His roars and growls were more beastly than the beasts. His
handsome face was distorted with savage ferocity. He beat upon his
great breast and screamed forth his challenge as his smooth, brown
hide brushed the shaggy coats of his fellows. It was weird; it
was wonderful; and in its primitive savagery it was not without
beauty--the strange scene she looked upon, such a scene as no other
human being, probably, ever had witnessed--and yet, withal, it was
As she gazed, spell-bound, a stealthy movement in the tree behind
her caused her to turn her head, and there, back of her, blazing
in the reflected moonlight, shone two great, yellow-green eyes.
Sheeta, the panther, had found her out.
The beast was so close that it might have reached out and touched
her with a great, taloned paw. There was no time to think, no
time to weigh chances or to choose alternatives. Terror-inspired
impulse was her guide as, with a loud scream, she leaped from the
tree into the clearing.
Instantly the apes, now maddened by the effects of the dancing and
the moonlight, turned to note the cause of the interruption. They
saw this she Tarmangani, helpless and alone and they started for
her. Sheeta, the panther, knowing that not even Numa, the lion,
unless maddened by starvation, dares meddle with the great apes at
their Dum-Dum, had silently vanished into the night, seeking his
Tarzan, turning with the other apes toward the cause of the
interruption, saw the girl, recognized her and also her peril.
Here again might she die at the hands of others; but why consider
it! He knew that he could not permit it, and though the acknowledgment
shamed him, it had to be admitted.
The leading shes were almost upon the girl when Tarzan leaped among
them, and with heavy blows scattered them to right and left; and
then as the bulls came to share in the kill they thought this new
ape-thing was about to make that he might steal all the flesh for
himself, they found him facing them with an arm thrown about the
creature as though to protect her.
"This is Tarzan's she," he said. "Do not harm her." It was the only
way he could make them understand that they must not slay her. He
was glad that she could not interpret the words. It was humiliating
enough to make such a statement to wild apes about this hated enemy.
So once again Tarzan of the Apes was forced to protect a Hun.
Growling, he muttered to himself in extenuation:
"She is a woman and I am not a German, so it could not be otherwise!"
Dropped from the Sky
Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick, Royal Air Service, was on
reconnaissance. A report, or it would be better to say a rumor,
had come to the British headquarters in German East Africa that
the enemy had landed in force on the west coast and was marching
across the dark continent to reinforce their colonial troops. In
fact the new army was supposed to be no more than ten or twelve days'
march to the west. Of course the thing was ridiculous--preposterous--but
preposterous things often happen in war; and anyway no good general
permits the least rumor of enemy activity to go uninvestigated.
Therefore Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick flew low toward
the west, searching with keen eyes for signs of a Hun army. Vast
forests unrolled beneath him in which a German army corps might
have lain concealed, so dense was the overhanging foliage of the
great trees. Mountain, meadowland, and desert passed in lovely
panorama; but never a sight of man had the young lieutenant.
Always hoping that he might discover some sign of their passage--a
discarded lorry, a broken limber, or an old camp site--he continued
farther and farther into the west until well into the afternoon.
Above a tree-dotted plain through the center of which flowed a
winding river he determined to turn about and start for camp. It
would take straight flying at top speed to cover the distance before
dark; but as he had ample gasoline and a trustworthy machine there
was no doubt in his mind but that he could accomplish his aim. It
was then that his engine stalled.
He was too low to do anything but land, and that immediately,
while he had the more open country accessible, for directly east of
him was a vast forest into which a stalled engine could only have
plunged him to certain injury and probable death; and so he came
down in the meadowland near the winding river and there started to
tinker with his motor.
As he worked he hummed a tune, some music-hall air that had been
popular in London the year before, so that one might have thought
him working in the security of an English flying field surrounded
by innumerable comrades rather than alone in the heart of an unexplored
African wilderness. It was typical of the man that he should be
wholly indifferent to his surroundings, although his looks entirely
belied any assumption that he was of particularly heroic strain.
Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick was fair-hatred, blue-eyed,
and slender, with a rosy, boyish face that might have been molded
more by an environment of luxury, indolence, and ease than the more
strenuous exigencies of life's sterner requirements.
And not only was the young lieutenant outwardly careless of the
immediate future and of his surroundings, but actually so. That
the district might be infested by countless enemies seemed not to
have occurred to him in the remotest degree. He bent assiduously
to the work of correcting the adjustment that had caused his motor
to stall without so much as an upward glance at the surrounding
country. The forest to the east of him, and the more distant jungle
that bordered the winding river, might have harbored an army of
bloodthirsty savages, but neither could elicit even a passing show
of interest on the part of Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick
And even had he looked, it is doubtful if he would have seen the
score of figures crouching in the concealment of the undergrowth
at the forest's edge. There are those who are reputed to be endowed
with that which is sometimes, for want of a better appellation,
known as the sixth sense--a species of intuition which apprises
them of the presence of an unseen danger. The concentrated gaze of
a hidden observer provokes a warning sensation of nervous unrest in
such as these, but though twenty pairs of savage eyes were gazing
fixedly at Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick, the fact aroused
no responsive sensation of impending danger in his placid breast.
He hummed peacefully and, his adjustment completed, tried out his
motor for a minute or two, then shut it off and descended to the
ground with the intention of stretching his legs and taking a smoke
before continuing his return flight to camp. Now for the first time
he took note of his surroundings, to be immediately impressed by
both the wildness and the beauty of the scene. In some respects the
tree-dotted meadowland reminded him of a park-like English forest,
and that wild beasts and savage men could ever be a part of so
quiet a scene seemed the remotest of contingencies.
Some gorgeous blooms upon a flowering shrub at a little distance
from his machine caught the attention of his aesthetic eye, and as
he puffed upon his cigarette, he walked over to examine the flowers
more closely. As he bent above them he was probably some hundred
yards from his plane and it was at this instant that Numabo, chief
of the Wamabo, chose to leap from his ambush and lead his warriors
in a sudden rush upon the white man.
The young Englishman's first intimation of danger was a chorus of
savage yells from the forest behind him. Turning, he saw a score
of naked, black warriors advancing rapidly toward him. They moved
in a compact mass and as they approached more closely their rate
of speed noticeably diminished. Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick realized
in a quick glance that the direction of their approach and their
proximity had cut off all chances of retreating to his plane, and
he also understood that their attitude was entirely warlike and
menacing. He saw that they were armed with spears and with bows and
arrows, and he felt quite confident that notwithstanding the fact
that he was armed with a pistol they could overcome him with the
first rush. What he did not know about their tactics was that at
any show of resistance they would fall back, which is the nature of
the native Negroes, but that after numerous advances and retreats,
during which they would work themselves into a frenzy of rage by
much shrieking, leaping, and dancing, they would eventually come
to the point of a determined and final assault.
Numabo was in the forefront, a fact which taken in connection with
his considerably greater size and more warlike appearance, indicated
him as the natural target and it was at Numabo that the Englishman
aimed his first shot. Unfortunately for him it missed its target,
as the killing of the chief might have permanently dispersed
the others. The bullet passed Numabo to lodge in the breast of a
warrior behind him and as the fellow lunged forward with a scream
the others turned and retreated, but to the lieutenant's chagrin
they ran in the direction of the plane instead of back toward the
forest so that he was still cut off from reaching his machine.
Presently they stopped and faced him again. They were talking loudly
and gesticulating, and after a moment one of them leaped into the
air, brandishing his spear and uttering savage war cries, which
soon had their effect upon his fellows so that it was not long ere
all of them were taking part in the wild show of savagery, which
would bolster their waning courage and presently spur them on to
The second charge brought them closer to the Englishman, and though
he dropped another with his pistol, it was not before two or three
spears had been launched at him. He now had five shots remaining
and there were still eighteen warriors to be accounted for, so that
unless he could frighten them off, it was evident that his fate
That they must pay the price of one life for every attempt to take
his had its effect upon them and they were longer now in initiating
a new rush and when they did so it was more skillfully ordered than
those that had preceded it, for they scattered into three bands
which, partially surrounding him, came simultaneously toward him
from different directions, and though he emptied his pistol with
good effect, they reached him at last. They seemed to know that
his ammunition was exhausted, for they circled close about him now
with the evident intention of taking him alive, since they might
easily have riddled him with their sharp spears with perfect safety
For two or three minutes they circled about him until, at a word
from Numabo, they closed in simultaneously, and though the slender
young lieutenant struck out to right and left, he was soon overwhelmed
by superior numbers and beaten down by the hafts of spears in brawny
He was all but unconscious when they finally dragged him to his
feet, and after securing his hands behind his back, pushed him
roughly along ahead of them toward the jungle.
As the guard prodded him along the narrow trail, Lieutenant
Smith-Oldwick could not but wonder why they had wished to take him
alive. He knew that he was too far inland for his uniform to have
any significance to this native tribe to whom no inkling of the
World War probably ever had come, and he could only assume that he
had fallen into the hands of the warriors of some savage potentate
upon whose royal caprice his fate would hinge.
They had marched for perhaps half an hour when the Englishman saw
ahead of them, in a little clearing upon the bank of the river,
the thatched roofs of native huts showing above a crude but strong
palisade; and presently he was ushered into a village street where
he was immediately surrounded by a throng of women and children
and warriors. Here he was soon the center of an excited mob whose
intent seemed to be to dispatch him as quickly as possible. The
women were more venomous than the men, striking and scratching him
whenever they could reach him, until at last Numabo, the chief, was
obliged to interfere to save his prisoner for whatever purpose he
As the warriors pushed the crowd back, opening a space through
which the white man was led toward a hut, Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick
saw coming from the opposite end of the village a number of Negroes
wearing odds and ends of German uniforms. He was not a little
surprised at this, and his first thought was that he had at last
come in contact with some portion of the army which was rumored to
be crossing from the west coast and for signs of which he had been
A rueful smile touched his lips as he contemplated the unhappy
circumstances which surrounded the accession of this knowledge for
though he was far from being without hope, he realized that only
by the merest chance could he escape these people and regain his
Among the partially uniformed blacks was a huge fellow in the tunic
of a sergeant and as this man's eyes fell upon the British officer,
a loud cry of exultation broke from his lips, and immediately his
followers took up the cry and pressed forward to bait the prisoner.
"Where did you get the Englishman?" asked Usanga, the black sergeant,
of the chief Numabo. "Are there many more with him?"
"He came down from the sky," replied the native chief "in a strange
thing which flies like a bird and which frightened us very much at
first; but we watched for a long time and saw that it did not seem
to be alive, and when this white man left it we attacked him and
though he killed some of my warriors, we took him, for we Wamabos
are brave men and great warriors."
Usanga's eyes went wide. "He flew here through the sky?" he asked.
"Yes," said Numabo. "In a great thing which resembled a bird he
flew down out of the sky. The thing is still there where it came
down close to the four trees near the second bend in the river. We
left it there because, not knowing what it was, we were afraid to
touch it and it is still there if it has not flown away again."
"It cannot fly," said Usanga, "without this man in it. It is a
terrible thing which filled the hearts of our soldiers with terror,
for it flew over our camps at night and dropped bombs upon us.
It is well that you captured this white man, Numabo, for with his
great bird he would have flown over your village tonight and killed
all your people. These Englishman are very wicked white men."
"He will fly no more," said Numabo "It is not intended that a man
should fly through the air; only wicked demons do such things as
that and Numabo, the chief, will see that this white man does not
do it again," and with the words he pushed the young officer roughly
toward a hut in the center of the village, where he was left under
guard of two stalwart warriors.
For an hour or more the prisoner was left to his own devices, which
consisted in vain and unremitting attempts to loosen the strands
which fettered his wrists, and then he was interrupted by the
appearance of the black sergeant Usanga, who entered his hut and
"What are they going to do with me?" asked the Englishman. "My
country is not at war with these people. You speak their language.
Tell them that I am not an enemy, that my people are the friends
of the black people and that they must let me go in peace."
Usanga laughed. "They do not know an Englishman from a German," he
replied. "It is nothing to them what you are, except that you are
a white man and an enemy."
"Then why did they take me alive?" asked the lieutenant.
"Come," said Usanga and he led the Englishman to the doorway of
the hut. "Look," he said, and pointed a black forefinger toward
the end of the village street where a wider space between the huts
left a sort of plaza.
Here Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick saw a number of Negresses
engaged in laying fagots around a stake and in preparing fires
beneath a number of large cooking vessels. The sinister suggestion
was only too obvious.
Usanga was eyeing the white man closely, but if he expected to be
rewarded by any signs of fear, he was doomed to disappointment and
the young lieutenant merely turned toward him with a shrug: "Really
now, do you beggars intend eating me?"
"Not my people," replied Usanga. "We do not eat human flesh, but
the Wamabos do. It is they who will eat you, but we will kill you
for the feast, Englishman."
The Englishman remained standing in the doorway of the hut, an
interested spectator of the preparations for the coming orgy that
was so horribly to terminate his earthly existence. It can hardly
be assumed that he felt no fear; yet, if he did, he hid it perfectly
beneath an imperturbable mask of coolness. Even the brutal Usanga
must have been impressed by the bravery of his victim since, though
he had come to abuse and possibly to torture the helpless prisoner,
he now did neither, contenting himself merely with berating whites
as a race and Englishmen especially, because of the terror the
British aviators had caused Germany's native troops in East Africa.
"No more," he concluded, "will your great bird fly over our people
dropping death among them from the skies--Usanga will see to that,"
and he walked abruptly away toward a group of his own fighting men
who were congregated near the stake where they were laughing and
joking with the women.
A few minutes later the Englishman saw them pass out of the village
gate, and once again his thoughts reverted to various futile plans
Several miles north of the village on a little rise of ground close
to the river where the jungle, halting at the base of a knoll, had
left a few acres of grassy land sparsely wooded, a man and a girl
were busily engaged in constructing a small boma, in the center of
which a thatched hut already had been erected.
They worked almost in silence with only an occasional word of
direction or interrogation between them.
Except for a loin cloth, the man was naked, his smooth skin tanned
to a deep brown by the action of sun and wind. He moved with the
graceful ease of a jungle cat and when he lifted heavy weights,
the action seemed as effortless as the raising of empty hands.
When he was not looking at her, and it was seldom that he did, the
girl found her eyes wandering toward him, and at such times there
was always a puzzled expression upon her face as though she found
in him an enigma which she could not solve. As a matter of fact,
her feelings toward him were not un-tinged with awe, since in
the brief period of their association she had discovered in this
handsome, godlike giant the attributes of the superman and the
savage beast closely intermingled. At first she had felt only that
unreasoning feminine terror which her unhappy position naturally
To be alone in the heart of an unexplored wilderness of Central
Africa with a savage wild man was in itself sufficiently appalling,
but to feel also that this man was a blood enemy, that he hated her
and her kind and that in addition thereto he owed her a personal
grudge for an attack she had made upon him in the past, left no
loophole for any hope that he might accord her even the minutest
measure of consideration.
She had seen him first months since when he had entered the
headquarters of the German high command in East Africa and carried
off the luckless Major Schneider, of whose fate no hint had ever
reached the German officers; and she had seen him again upon that
occasion when he had rescued her from the clutches of the lion and,
after explaining to her that he had recognized her in the British
camp, had made her prisoner. It was then that she had struck him
down with the butt of her pistol and escaped. That he might seek
no personal revenge for her act had been evidenced in Wilhelmstal
the night that he had killed Hauptmann Fritz Schneider and left
without molesting her.
No, she could not fathom him. He hated her and at the same time
he had protected her as had been evidenced again when he had kept
the great apes from tearing her to pieces after she had escaped
from the Wamabo village to which Usanga, the black sergeant, had
brought her a captive; but why was he saving her? For what sinister
purpose could this savage enemy be protecting her from the other
denizens of his cruel jungle? She tried to put from her mind the
probable fate which awaited her, yet it persisted in obtruding
itself upon her thoughts, though always she was forced to admit that
there was nothing in the demeanor of the man to indicate that her
fears were well grounded. She judged him perhaps by the standards
other men had taught her and because she looked upon him as a savage
creature, she felt that she could not expect more of chivalry from
him than was to be found in the breasts of the civilized men of
Fraulein Bertha Kircher was by nature a companionable and cheerful
character. She was not given to morbid forebodings, and above all
things she craved the society of her kind and that interchange of
thought which is one of the marked distinctions between man and
the lower animals. Tarzan, on the other hand, was sufficient unto
himself. Long years of semi-solitude among creatures whose powers
of oral expression are extremely limited had thrown him almost
entirely upon his own resources for entertainment.
His active mind was never idle, but because his jungle mates could
neither follow nor grasp the vivid train of imaginings that his
man-mind wrought, he had long since learned to keep them to himself;
and so now he found no need for confiding them in others. This
fact, linked with that of his dislike for the girl, was sufficient
to seal his lips for other than necessary conversation, and so they
worked on together in comparative silence. Bertha Kircher, however,
was nothing if not feminine and she soon found that having someone
to talk to who would not talk was extremely irksome. Her fear of
the man was gradually departing, and she was full of a thousand
unsatisfied curiosities as to his plans for the future in so far as
they related to her, as well as more personal questions regarding
himself, since she could not but wonder as to his antecedents and
his strange and solitary life in the jungle, as well as his friendly
intercourse with the savage apes among which she had found him.
With the waning of her fears she became sufficiently emboldened
to question him, and so she asked him what he intended doing after
the hut and boma were completed.
"I am going to the west coast where I was born," replied Tarzan.
"I do not know when. I have all my life before me and in the jungle
there is no reason for haste. We are not forever running as fast
as we can from one place to another as are you of the outer world.
When I have been here long enough I will go on toward the west,
but first I must see that you have a safe place in which to sleep,
and that you have learned how to provide yourself with necessaries.
That will take time."
"You are going to leave me here alone?" cried the girl; her tones
marked the fear which the prospect induced. "You are going to leave
me here alone in this terrible jungle, a prey to wild beasts and
savage men, hundreds of miles from a white settlement and in a
country which gives every evidence of never having been touched by
the foot of civilized men?"
"Why not?" asked Tarzan. "I did not bring you here. Would one of
your men accord any better treatment to an enemy woman?"
"Yes," she exclaimed. "They certainly would. No man of my race
would leave a defenseless white woman alone in this horrible place."
Tarzan shrugged his broad shoulders. The conversation seemed
profitless and it was further distasteful to him for the reason
that it was carried on in German, a tongue which he detested as
much as he did the people who spoke it. He wished that the girl
spoke English and then it occurred to him that as he had seen her
in disguise in the British camp carrying on her nefarious work as
a German spy, she probably did speak English and so he asked her.
"Of course I speak English," she exclaimed, "but I did not know
that you did."
Tarzan looked his wonderment but made no comment. He only wondered why
the girl should have any doubts as to the ability of an Englishman
to speak English, and then suddenly it occurred to him that she
probably looked upon him merely as a beast of the jungle who by
accident had learned to speak German through frequenting the district
which Germany had colonized. It was there only that she had seen
him and so she might not know that he was an Englishman by birth,
and that he had had a home in British East Africa. It was as well,
he thought, that she knew little of him, as the less she knew the
more he might learn from her as to her activities in behalf of the
Germans and of the German spy system of which she was a representative;
and so it occurred to him to let her continue to think that he was
only what he appeared to be--a savage denizen of his savage jungle,
a man of no race and no country, hating all white men impartially;
and this in truth, was what she did think of him. It explained
perfectly his attacks upon Major Schneider and the Major's brother,
Again they worked on in silence upon the boma which was now nearly
completed, the girl helping the man to the best of her small
ability. Tarzan could not but note with grudging approval the
spirit of helpfulness she manifested in the oft-times painful labor
of gathering and arranging the thorn bushes which constituted the
temporary protection against roaming carnivores. Her hands and arms
gave bloody token of the sharpness of the numerous points that had
lacerated her soft flesh, and even though she were an enemy Tarzan
could not but feel compunction that he had permitted her to do this
work, and at last he bade her stop.
"Why?" she asked. "It is no more painful to me than it must be to
you, and, as it is solely for my protection that you are building
this boma, there is no reason why I should not do my share."
"You are a woman," replied Tarzan. "This is not a woman's work. If
you wish to do something, take those gourds I brought this morning
and fill them with water at the river. You may need it while I am
"While you are away--" she said. "You are going away?"
"When the boma is built I am going out after meat," he replied.
"Tomorrow I will go again and take you and show you how you may
make your own kills after I am gone."
Without a word she took the gourds and walked toward the river. As
she filled them, her mind was occupied with painful forebodings of
the future. She knew that Tarzan had passed a death sentence upon
her, and that the moment that he left her, her doom was sealed,
for it could be but a question of time--a very short time--before
the grim jungle would claim her, for how could a lone woman hope
successfully to combat the savage forces of destruction which
constituted so large a part of existence in the jungle?
So occupied was she with the gloomy prophecies that she had neither
ears nor eyes for what went on about her. Mechanically she filled
the gourds and, taking them up, turned slowly to retrace her steps
to the boma only to voice immediately a half-stifled scream and
shrank back from the menacing figure looming before her and blocking
her way to the hut.
Go-lat, the king ape, hunting a little apart from his tribe, had seen
the woman go to the river for water, and it was he who confronted
her when she turned back with her filled gourds. Go-lat was not
a pretty creature when judged by standards of civilized humanity,
though the shes of his tribe and even Go-lat himself, considered
his glossy black coat shot with silver, his huge arms dangling to
his knees, his bullet head sunk between his mighty shoulders, marks
of great personal beauty. His wicked, bloodshot eyes and broad
nose, his ample mouth and great fighting fangs only enhanced the
claim of this Adonis of the forest upon the affections of his shes.
Doubtless in the little, savage brain there was a well-formed
conviction that this strange she belonging to the Tarmangani must
look with admiration upon so handsome a creature as Go-lat, for
there could be no doubt in the mind of any that his beauty entirely
eclipsed such as the hairless white ape might lay claim to.
But Bertha Kircher saw only a hideous beast, a fierce and terrible
caricature of man. Could Go-lat have known what passed through her
mind, he must have been terribly chagrined, though the chances are
that he would have attributed it to a lack of discernment on her
part. Tarzan heard the girl's cry and looking up saw at a glance
the cause of her terror. Leaping lightly over the boma, he ran
swiftly toward her as Go-lat lumbered closer to the girl the while
he voiced his emotions in low gutturals which, while in reality the
most amicable of advances, sounded to the girl like the growling
of an enraged beast. As Tarzan drew nearer he called aloud to the
ape and the girl heard from the human lips the same sounds that
had fallen from those of the anthropoid.
"I will not harm your she," Go-lat called to Tarzan.
"I know it," replied the ape-man, "but she does not. She is like
Numa and Sheeta, who do not understand our talk. She thinks you
come to harm her."
By this time Tarzan was beside the girl. "He will not harm you,"
he said to her. "You need not be afraid. This ape has learned his
lesson. He has learned that Tarzan is lord of the jungle. He will
not harm that which is Tarzan's."
The girl cast a quick glance at the man's face. It was evident to
her that the words he had spoken meant nothing to him and that the
assumed proprietorship over her was, like the boma, only another
means for her protection.
"But I am afraid of him," she said.
"You must not show your fear. You will be often surrounded by these
apes. At such times you will be safest. Before I leave you I will
give you the means of protecting yourself against them should one
of them chance to turn upon you. If I were you I would seek their
society. Few are the animals of the jungle that dare attack the
great apes when there are several of them together. If you let
them know that you are afraid of them, they will take advantage of
it and your life will be constantly menaced. The shes especially
would attack you. I will let them know that you have the means of
protecting yourself and of killing them. If necessary, I will show
you how and then they will respect and fear you."
"I will try," said the girl, "but I am afraid that it will be
difficult. He is the most frightful creature I ever have seen."
Tarzan smiled. "Doubtless he thinks the same of you," he said.
By this time other apes had entered the clearing and they were now
the center of a considerable group, among which were several bulls,
some young shes, and some older ones with their little balus clinging
to their backs or frolicking around at their feet. Though they had
seen the girl the night of the Dum-Dum when Sheeta had forced her
to leap from her concealment into the arena where the apes were
dancing, they still evinced a great curiosity regarding her. Some
of the shes came very close and plucked at her garments, commenting
upon them to one another in their strange tongue. The girl, by
the exercise of all the will power she could command, succeeded in
passing through the ordeal without evincing any of the terror and
revulsion that she felt. Tarzan watched her closely, a half-smile
upon his face. He was not so far removed from recent contact with
civilized people that he could not realize the torture that she
was undergoing, but he felt no pity for this woman of a cruel enemy
who doubtless deserved the worst suffering that could be meted to
her. Yet, notwithstanding his sentiments toward her, he was forced
to admire her fine display of courage. Suddenly he turned to the
"Tarzan goes to hunt for himself and his she," he said. "The she
will remain there," and he pointed toward the hut. "See that no
member of the tribe harms her. Do you understand?"
The apes nodded. "We will not harm her," said Go-lat.
"No," said Tarzan. "You will not. For if you do, Tarzan will kill
you," and then turning to the girl, "Come," he said, "I am going to
hunt now. You had better remain at the hut. The apes have promised
not to harm you. I will leave my spear with you. It will be the best
weapon you could have in case you should need to protect yourself,
but I doubt if you will be in any danger for the short time that
I am away."
He walked with her as far as the boma and when she had entered he
closed the gap with thorn bushes and turned away toward the forest.
She watched him moving across the clearing, noting the easy, catlike
tread and the grace of every movement that harmonized so well with
the symmetry and perfection of his figure. At the forest's edge
she saw him swing lightly into a tree and disappear from view, and
then, being a woman, she entered the hut and, throwing herself upon
the ground, burst into tears.
In the Hands of Savages
Tarzan sought Bara, the deer, or Horta, the boar, for of all the
jungle animals he doubted if any would prove more palatable to the
white woman, but though his keen nostrils were ever on the alert,
he traveled far without being rewarded with even the faintest
scent spoor of the game he sought. Keeping close to the river where
he hoped to find Bara or Horta approaching or leaving a drinking
place he came at last upon the strong odor of the Wamabo village
and being ever ready to pay his hereditary enemies, the Gomangani,
an undesired visit, he swung into a detour and came up in the rear
of the village. From a tree which overhung the palisade he looked
down into the street where he saw the preparations going on which
his experience told him indicated the approach of one of those
frightful feasts the piece de resistance of which is human flesh.
One of Tarzan's chief divertissements was the baiting of the blacks.
He realized more keen enjoyment through annoying and terrifying them
than from any other source of amusement the grim jungle offered.
To rob them of their feast in some way that would strike terror
to their hearts would give him the keenest of pleasure, and so
he searched the village with his eyes for some indication of the
whereabouts of the prisoner. His view was circumscribed by the
dense foliage of the tree in which he sat, and, so that he might
obtain a better view, he climbed further aloft and moved cautiously
out upon a slender branch.
Tarzan of the Apes possessed a woodcraft scarcely short of the
marvelous but even Tarzan's wondrous senses were not infallible.
The branch upon which he made his way outward from the bole was no
smaller than many that had borne his weight upon countless other
occasions. Outwardly it appeared strong and healthy and was in full
foliage, nor could Tarzan know that close to the stem a burrowing
insect had eaten away half the heart of the solid wood beneath the
And so when he reached a point far out upon the limb, it snapped
close to the bole of the tree without warning. Below him were no
larger branches that he might clutch and as he lunged downward his
foot caught in a looped creeper so that he turned completely over
and alighted on the flat of his back in the center of the village
At the sound of the breaking limb and the crashing body falling
through the branches the startled blacks scurried to their huts
for weapons, and when the braver of them emerged, they saw the
still form of an almost naked white man lying where he had fallen.
Emboldened by the fact that he did not move they approached more
closely, and when their eyes discovered no signs of others of his
kind in the tree, they rushed forward until a dozen warriors stood
about him with ready spears. At first they thought that the falling
had killed him, but upon closer examination they discovered that
the man was only stunned. One of the warriors was for thrusting a
spear through his heart, but Numabo, the chief, would not permit
"Bind him," he said. "We will feed well tonight."
And so they bound his hands and feet with thongs of gut and carried
him into the hut where Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick awaited
his fate. The Englishman had also been bound hand and foot by this
time for fear that at the last moment he might escape and rob them
of their feast. A great crowd of natives were gathered about the
hut attempting to get a glimpse of the new prisoner, but Numabo
doubled the guard before the entrance for fear that some of his
people, in the exuberance of their savage joy, might rob the others
of the pleasures of the death dance which would precede the killing
of the victims.
The young Englishman had heard the sound of Tarzan's body crashing
through the tree to the ground and the commotion in the village
which immediately followed, and now, as he stood with his back
against the wall of the hut, he looked upon the fellow-prisoner that
the blacks carried in and laid upon the floor with mixed feelings
of surprise and compassion. He realized that he never had seen
a more perfect specimen of manhood than that of the unconscious
figure before him, and he wondered to what sad circumstances the
man owed his capture. It was evident that the new prisoner was
himself as much a savage as his captors if apparel and weapons were
any criterion by which to judge; yet it was also equally evident
that he was a white man and from his well-shaped head and clean-cut
features that he was not one of those unhappy halfwits who so often
revert to savagery even in the heart of civilized communities.
As he watched the man, he presently noticed that his eyelids were
moving. Slowly they opened and a pair of gray eyes looked blankly
about. With returning consciousness the eyes assumed their natural
expression of keen intelligence, and a moment later, with an
effort, the prisoner rolled over upon his side and drew himself to
a sitting position. He was facing the Englishman, and as his eyes
took in the bound ankles and the arms drawn tightly behind the
other's back, a slow smile lighted his features.
"They will fill their bellies tonight," he said.
The Englishman grinned. "From the fuss they made," he said, "the
beggars must be awfully hungry. They like to have eaten me alive
when they brought me in. How did they get you?"
Tarzan shrugged his head ruefully. "It was my own fault," he
replied. "I deserve to be eaten. I crawled out upon a branch that
would not bear my weight and when it broke, instead of alighting
on my feet, I caught my foot in a trailer and came down on my head.
Otherwise they would not have taken me--alive."
"Is there no escape?" asked the Englishman.
"I have escaped them before," replied Tarzan, "and I have seen
others escape them. I have seen a man taken away from the stake
after a dozen spear thrusts had pierced his body and the fire had
been lighted about his feet."
Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick shuddered. "God!" he exclaimed, "I hope I
don't have to face that. I believe I could stand anything but the
thought of the fire. I should hate like the devil to go into a funk
before the devils at the last moment."
"Don't worry," said Tarzan. "It doesn't last long and you won't
funk. It is really not half as bad as it sounds. There is only a
brief period of pain before you lose consciousness. I have seen it
many times before. It is as good a way to go as another. We must
die sometime. What difference whether it be tonight, tomorrow night,
or a year hence, just so that we have lived--and I have lived!"
"Your philosophy may be all right, old top," said the young
lieutenant, "but I can't say that it is exactly satisfying."
Tarzan laughed. "Roll over here," he said, "where I can get at
your bonds with my teeth." The Englishman did as he was bid and
presently Tarzan was working at the thongs with his strong white
teeth. He felt them giving slowly beneath his efforts. In another
moment they would part, and then it would be a comparatively simple
thing for the Englishman to remove the remaining bonds from Tarzan
It was then that one of the guards entered the hut. In an instant he
saw what the new prisoner was doing and raising his spear, struck
the ape-man a vicious blow across the head with its shaft. Then he
called in the other guards and together they fell upon the luckless
men, kicking and beating them unmercifully, after which they bound
the Englishman more securely than before and tied both men fast on
opposite sides of the hut. When they had gone Tarzan looked across
at his companion in misery.
"While there is life," he said, "there is hope," but he grinned as
he voiced the ancient truism.
Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick returned the other's smile.
"I fancy," he said, "that we are getting short on both. It must
be close to supper time now."
Zu-tag hunted alone far from the balance of the tribe of Go-lat,
the great ape. Zu-tag (Big-neck) was a young bull but recently
arrived at maturity. He was large, powerful, and ferocious and at
the same time far above the average of his kind in intelligence as
was denoted by a fuller and less receding forehead. Already Go-lat
saw in this young ape a possible contender for the laurels of his
kingship and consequently the old bull looked upon Zu-tag with
jealousy and disfavor. It was for this reason, possibly, as much
as another that Zu-tag hunted so often alone; but it was his utter
fearlessness that permitted him to wander far afield away from the
protection which numbers gave the great apes. One of the results
of this habit was a greatly increased resourcefulness which found
him constantly growing in intelligence and powers of observation.
Today he had been hunting toward the south and was returning along
the river upon a path he often followed because it led by the
village of the Gomangani whose strange and almost apelike actions
and peculiar manners of living had aroused his interest and curiosity.
As he had done upon other occasions he took up his position in a
tree from which he could overlook the interior of the village and
watch the blacks at their vocations in the street below.
Zu-tag had scarcely more than established himself in his tree when,
with the blacks, he was startled by the crashing of Tarzan's body
from the branches of another jungle giant to the ground within the
palisade. He saw the Negroes gather about the prostrate form and
later carry it into the hut; and once he rose to his full height
upon the limb where he had been squatting and raised his face to
the heavens to scream out a savage protest and a challenge, for he
had recognized in the brown-skinned Tarmangani the strange white
ape who had come among them a night or two before in the midst of
their Dum-Dum, and who by so easily mastering the greatest among
them, had won the savage respect and admiration of this fierce
But Zu-tag's ferocity was tempered by a certain native cunning and
caution. Before he had voiced his protest there formed in his mind
the thought that he would like to save this wonderful white ape
from the common enemy, the Gomangani, and so he screamed forth no
challenge, wisely determined that more could be accomplished by
secrecy and stealth than by force of muscle and fang.
At first he thought to enter the village alone and carry off the
Tarmangani; but when he saw how numerous were the warriors and that
several sat directly before the entrance to the lair into which the
prisoner had been carried, it occurred to him that this was work
for many rather than one, and so, as silently as he had come, he
slipped away though the foliage toward the north.
The tribe was still loitering about the clearing where stood the hut
that Tarzan and Bertha Kircher had built. Some were idly searching
for food just within the forest's edge, while others squatted
beneath the shade of trees within the clearing.
The girl had emerged from the hut, her tears dried and was gazing
anxiously toward the south into the jungle where Tarzan had disappeared.
Occasionally she cast suspicious glances in the direction of the
huge shaggy anthropoids about her. How easy it would be for one
of those great beasts to enter the boma and slay her. How helpless
she was, even with the spear that the white man had left her, she
realized as she noted for the thousandth time the massive shoulders,
the bull necks, and the great muscles gliding so easily beneath the
glossy coats. Never, she thought, had she seen such personifications
of brute power as were represented by these mighty bulls. Those
huge hands would snap her futile spear as she might snap a match in
two, while their lightest blow could crush her into insensibility
It was while she was occupied with these depressing thoughts that
there dropped suddenly into the clearing from the trees upon the
south the figure of a mighty young bull. At that time all of the
apes looked much alike to Bertha Kircher, nor was it until some
time later that she realized that each differed from the others
in individual characteristics of face and figure as do individuals
of the human races. Yet even then she could not help but note
the wondrous strength and agility of this great beast, and as he
approached she even found herself admiring the sheen of his heavy,
black, silvershot coat.
It was evident that the newcomer was filled with suppressed excitement.
His demeanor and bearing proclaimed this even from afar, nor was
the girl the only one to note it. For as they saw him coming many
of the apes arose and advanced to meet him, bristling and growling
as is their way. Go-lat was among these latter, and he advanced
stiffly with the hairs upon his neck and down his spine erect,
uttering low growls and baring his fighting fangs, for who might
say whether Zu-tag came in peace or otherwise? The old king had
seen other young apes come thus in his day filled with a sudden
resolution to wrest the kingship from their chief. He had seen
bulls about to run amuck burst thus suddenly from the jungle upon
the members of the tribe, and so Go-lat took no chances.
Had Zu-tag come indolently, feeding as he came, he might have
entered the tribe without arousing notice or suspicion, but when
one comes thus precipitately, evidently bursting with some emotion
out of the ordinary, let all apes beware. There was a certain amount
of preliminary circling, growling, and sniffing, stiff-legged and
stiff-haired, before each side discovered that the other had no
intention of initiating an attack and then Zu-tag told Go-lat what
he had seen among the lairs of the Gomangani.
Go-lat grunted in disgust and turned away. "Let the white ape take
care of himself," he said.
"He is a great ape," said Zu-tag. "He came to live in peace with
the tribe of Go-lat. Let us save him from the Gomangani."
Go-lat grunted again and continued to move away.
"Zu-tag will go alone and get him," cried the young ape, "if Go-lat
is afraid of the Gomangani."
The king ape wheeled in anger, growling loudly and beating upon
his breast. "Go-lat is not afraid," he screamed, "but he will not
go, for the white ape is not of his tribe. Go yourself and take
the Tarmangani's she with you if you wish so much to save the white
"Zu-tag will go," replied the younger bull, "and he will take the
Tarmangani's she and all the bulls of Go-lat who are not cowards,"
and so saying he cast his eyes inquiringly about at the other apes.
"Who will go with Zu-tag to fight the Gomangani and bring away our
brother," he demanded.
Eight young bulls in the full prime of their vigor pressed forward
to Zu-tag's side, but the old bulls with the conservatism and
caution of many years upon their gray shoulders, shook their heads
and waddled away after Go-lat.
"Good," cried Zu-tag. "We want no old shes to go with us to fight
the Gomangani for that is work for the fighters of the tribe."
The old bulls paid no attention to his boastful words, but the eight
who had volunteered to accompany him were filled with self-pride so
that they stood around vaingloriously beating upon their breasts,
baring their fangs and screaming their hideous challenge until the
jungle reverberated to the horrid sound.
All this time Bertha Kircher was a wide-eyed and terrified spectator to
what, as she thought, could end only in a terrific battle between
these frightful beasts, and when Zu-tag and his followers began
screaming forth their fearsome challenge, the girl found herself
trembling in terror, for of all the sounds of the jungle there is
none more awe inspiring than that of the great bull ape when he
issues his challenge or shrieks forth his victory cry.
If she had been terrified before she was almost paralyzed with
fear now as she saw Zu-tag and his apes turn toward the boma and
approach her. With the agility of a cat Zu-tag leaped completely
over the protecting wall and stood before her. Valiantly she held
her spear before her, pointing it at his breast. He commenced to
jabber and gesticulate, and even with her scant acquaintance with
the ways of the anthropoids, she realized that he was not menacing
her, for there was little or no baring of fighting fangs and his
whole expression and attitude was of one attempting to explain a
knotty problem or plead a worthy cause. At last he became evidently
impatient, for with a sweep of one great paw he struck the spear
from her hand and coming close, seized her by the arm, but not
roughly. She shrank away in terror and yet some sense within her
seemed to be trying to assure her that she was in no danger from
this great beast. Zu-tag jabbered loudly, ever and again pointing
into the jungle toward the south and moving toward the boma,
pulling the girl with him. He seemed almost frantic in his efforts
to explain something to her. He pointed toward the boma, herself,
and then to the forest, and then, at last, as though by a sudden
inspiration, he reached down and, seizing the spear, repeatedly
touched it with his forefinger and again pointed toward the south.
Suddenly it dawned upon the girl that what the ape was trying
to explain to her was related in some way to the white man whose
property they thought she was. Possibly her grim protector was in
trouble and with this thought firmly established, she no longer
held back, but started forward as though to accompany the young
bull. At the point in the boma where Tarzan had blocked the entrance,
she started to pull away the thorn bushes, and, when Zu-tag saw
what she was doing, he fell to and assisted her so that presently
they had an opening through the boma through which she passed with
the great ape.
Immediately Zu-tag and his eight apes started off rapidly toward
the jungle, so rapidly that Bertha Kircher would have had to run
at top speed to keep up with them. This she realized she could not
do, and so she was forced to lag behind, much to the chagrin of
Zu-tag, who constantly kept running back and urging her to greater
speed. Once he took her by the arm and tried to draw her along.
Her protests were of no avail since the beast could not know that
they were protests, nor did he desist until she caught her foot in
some tangled grass and fell to the ground. Then indeed was Zu-tag
furious and growled hideously. His apes were waiting at the edge
of the forest for him to lead them. He suddenly realized that this
poor weak she could not keep up with them and that if they traveled
at her slow rate they might be too late to render assistance to the
Tarmangani, and so without more ado, the giant anthropoid picked
Bertha Kircher bodily from the ground and swung her to his back.
Her arms were about his neck and in this position he seized her
wrists in one great paw so that she could not fall off and started
at a rapid rate to join his companions.
Dressed as she was in riding breeches with no entangling skirts to
hinder or catch upon passing shrubbery, she soon found that she
could cling tightly to the back of the mighty bull and when a moment
later he took to the lower branches of the trees, she closed her
eyes and clung to him in terror lest she be precipitated to the
That journey through the primeval forest with the nine great apes
will live in the memory of Bertha Kircher for the balance of her
life, as clearly delineated as at the moment of its enactment.
The first overwhelming wave of fear having passed, she was at last
able to open her eyes and view her surroundings with increased
interest and presently the sensation of terror slowly left her to
be replaced by one of comparative security when she saw the ease
and surety with which these great beasts traveled through the trees;
and later her admiration for the young bull increased as it became
evident that even burdened with her additional weight, he moved more
rapidly and with no greater signs of fatigue than his unburdened
Not once did Zu-tag pause until he came to a stop among the branches
of a tree no great distance from the native village. They could
hear the noises of the life within the palisade, the laughing and
shouting of the Negroes, and the barking of dogs, and through the
foliage the girl caught glimpses of the village from which she had
so recently escaped. She shuddered to think of the possibility of
having to return to it and of possible recapture, and she wondered
why Zu-tag had brought her here.
Now the apes advanced slowly once more and with great caution,
moving as noiselessly through the trees as the squirrels themselves
until they had reached a point where they could easily overlook
the palisade and the village street below.
Zu-tag squatted upon a great branch close to the bole of the tree
and by loosening the girl's arms from about his neck, indicated
that she was to find a footing for herself and when she had done
so, he turned toward her and pointed repeatedly at the open doorway
of a hut upon the opposite side of the street below them. By various
gestures he seemed to be trying to explain something to her and at
last she caught at the germ of his idea--that her white man was a
Beneath them was the roof of a hut onto which she saw that she
could easily drop, but what she could do after she had entered the
village was beyond her.
Darkness was already falling and the fires beneath the cooking pots
had been lighted. The girl saw the stake in the village street and
the piles of fagots about it and in terror she suddenly realized
the portent of these grisly preparations. Oh, if she but only had
some sort of a weapon that might give her even a faint hope, some
slight advantage against the blacks. Then she would not hesitate
to venture into the village in an attempt to save the man who had
upon three different occasions saved her. She knew that he hated her
and yet strong within her breast burned the sense of her obligation
to him. She could not fathom him. Never in her life had she seen a
man at once so paradoxical and dependable. In many of his ways he
was more savage than the beasts with which he associated and yet,
on the other hand, he was as chivalrous as a knight of old. For
several days she had been lost with him in the jungle absolutely
at his mercy, yet she had come to trust so implicitly in his honor
that any fear she had had of him was rapidly disappearing.
On the other hand, that he might be hideously cruel was evidenced
to her by the fact that he was planning to leave her alone in the
midst of the frightful dangers which menaced her by night and by
Zu-tag was evidently waiting for darkness to fall before carrying
out whatever plans had matured in his savage little brain, for he
and his fellows sat quietly in the tree about her, watching the
preparations of the blacks. Presently it became apparent that some
altercation had arisen among the Negroes, for a score or more of
them were gathered around one who appeared to be their chief, and
all were talking and gesticulating heatedly. The argument lasted
for some five or ten minutes when suddenly the little knot broke
and two warriors ran to the opposite side of the village from whence
they presently returned with a large stake which they soon set up
beside the one already in place. The girl wondered what the purpose
of the second stake might be, nor did she have long to wait for an
It was quite dark by this time, the village being lighted by the
fitful glare of many fires, and now she saw a number of warriors
approach and enter the hut Zu-tag had been watching. A moment later
they reappeared, dragging between them two captives, one of whom
the girl immediately recognized as her protector and the other as
an Englishman in the uniform of an aviator. This, then, was the
reason for the two stakes.
Arising quickly she placed a hand upon Zu-tag's shoulder and pointed
down into the village. "Come," she said, as if she had been talking
to one of her own kind, and with the word she swung lightly to the
roof of the hut below. From there to the ground was but a short drop
and a moment later she was circling the hut upon the side farthest
from the fires, keeping in the dense shadows where there was little
likelihood of being discovered. She turned once to see that Zu-tag
was directly behind her and could see his huge bulk looming up
in the dark, while beyond was another one of his eight. Doubtless
they had all followed her and this fact gave her a greater sense
of security and hope than she had before experienced.
Pausing beside the hut next to the street, she peered cautiously
about the corner. A few inches from her was the open doorway of the
structure, and beyond, farther down the village street, the blacks
were congregating about the prisoners, who were already being bound
to the stakes. All eyes were centered upon the victims, and there
was only the remotest chance that she and her companions would
be discovered until they were close upon the blacks. She wished,
however, that she might have some sort of a weapon with which to
lead the attack, for she could not know, of course, for a certainty
whether the great apes would follow her or not. Hoping that she
might find something within the hut, she slipped quickly around
the corner and into the doorway and after her, one by one, came
the nine bulls. Searching quickly about the interior, she presently
discovered a spear, and, armed with this, she again approached the
Tarzan of the Apes and Lieutenant Harold Percy SmithOldwick were
bound securely to their respective stakes. Neither had spoken for
some time. The Englishman turned his head so that he could see his
companion in misery. Tarzan stood straight against his stake. His
face was entirely expressionless in so far as either fear or anger
were concerned. His countenance portrayed bored indifference though
both men knew that they were about to be tortured.
"Good-bye, old top," whispered the young lieutenant.
Tarzan turned his eyes in the direction of the other and smiled.
"Good-bye," he said. "If you want to get it over in a hurry, inhale
the smoke and flames as rapidly as you can."
"Thanks," replied the aviator and though he made a wry face, he
drew himself up very straight and squared his shoulders.
The women and children had seated themselves in a wide circle about
the victims while the warriors, hideously painted, were forming
slowly to commence the dance of death. Again Tarzan turned to his
companion. "If you'd like to spoil their fun," he said, "don't
make any fuss no matter how much you suffer. If you can carry on to
the end without changing the expression upon your face or uttering
a single word, you will deprive them of all the pleasures of this
part of the entertainment. Good-bye again and good luck."
The young Englishman made no reply but it was evident from the set
of his jaws that the Negroes would get little enjoyment out of him.
The warriors were circling now. Presently Numabo would draw first
blood with his sharp spear which would be the signal for the
beginning of the torture after a little of which the fagots would
be lighted around the feet of the victims.
Closer and closer danced the hideous chief, his yellow, sharp-filed
teeth showing in the firelight between his thick, red lips. Now
bending double, now stamping furiously upon the ground, now leaping
into the air, he danced step by step in the narrowing circle that
would presently bring him within spear reach of the intended feast.
At last the spear reached out and touched the ape-man on the
breast and when it came away, a little trickle of blood ran down
the smooth, brown hide and almost simultaneously there broke from
the outer periphery of the expectant audience a woman's shriek which
seemed a signal for a series of hideous screamings, growlings and
barkings, and a great commotion upon that side of the circle. The
victims could not see the cause of the disturbance, but Tarzan did
not have to see, for he knew by the voices of the apes the identity
of the disturbers. He only wondered what had brought them and what
the purpose of the attack, for he could not believe that they had
come to rescue him.
Numabo and his warriors broke quickly from the circle of their dance
to see pushing toward them through the ranks of their screaming
and terrified people the very white girl who had escaped them a
few nights before, and at her back what appeared to their surprised
eyes a veritable horde of the huge and hairy forest men upon whom
they looked with considerable fear and awe.
Striking to right and left with his heavy fists, tearing with
his great fangs, came Zu-tag, the young bull, while at his heels,
emulating his example, surged his hideous apes. Quickly they came
through the old men and the women and children, for straight toward
Numabo and his warriors the girl led them. It was then that they
came within range of Tarzan's vision and he saw with unmixed surprise
who it was that led the apes to his rescue.
To Zu-tag he shouted: "Go for the big bulls while the she unbinds
me," and to Bertha Kircher: "Quick! Cut these bonds. The apes will
take care of the blacks."
Turning from her advance the girl ran to his side. She had no knife
and the bonds were tied tightly but she worked quickly and coolly
and as Zu-tag and his apes closed with the warriors, she succeeded
in loosening Tarzan's bonds sufficiently to permit him to extricate
his own hands so that in another minute he had freed himself.
"Now unbind the Englishman," he cried, and, leaping forward, ran
to join Zu-tag and his fellows in their battle against the blacks.
Numabo and his warriors, realizing now the relatively small numbers
of the apes against them, had made a determined stand and with
spears and other weapons were endeavoring to overcome the invaders.
Three of the apes were already down, killed or mortally wounded,
when Tarzan, realizing that the battle must eventually go against
the apes unless some means could be found to break the morale of
the Negroes, cast about him for some means of bringing about the
desired end. And suddenly his eye lighted upon a number of weapons
which he knew would accomplish the result. A grim smile touched
his lips as he snatched a vessel of boiling water from one of the
fires and hurled it full in the faces of the warriors. Screaming
with terror and pain they fell back though Numabo urged them to
Scarcely had the first cauldron of boiling water spilled its
contents upon them ere Tarzan deluged them with a second, nor was
there any third needed to send them shrieking in every direction
to the security of their huts.
By the time Tarzan had recovered his own weapons the girl had released
the young Englishman, and, with the six remaining apes, the three
Europeans moved slowly toward the village gate, the aviator arming
himself with a spear discarded by one of the scalded warriors, as
they eagerly advanced toward the outer darkness.
Numabo was unable to rally the now thoroughly terrified and
painfully burned warriors so that rescued and rescuers passed out
of the village into the blackness of the jungle without further
Tarzan strode through the jungle in silence. Beside him walked Zu-tag,
the great ape, and behind them strung the surviving anthropoids
followed by Fraulein Bertha Kircher and Lieutenant Harold Percy
Smith-Oldwick, the latter a thoroughly astonished and mystified
In all his life Tarzan of the Apes had been obliged to acknowledge
but few obligations. He won his way through his savage world by the
might of his own muscle, the superior keenness of his five senses
and his God-given power to reason. Tonight the greatest of
all obligations had been placed upon him--his life had been saved
by another and Tarzan shook his head and growled, for it had been
saved by one whom he hated above all others.
Finding the Airplane
Tarzan of the Apes, returning from a successful hunt, with the
body of Bara, the deer, across one sleek, brown shoulder, paused
in the branches of a great tree at the edge of a clearing and gazed
ruefully at two figures walking from the river to the boma-encircled
hut a short distance away.
The ape-man shook his tousled head and sighed. His eyes wandered
toward the west and his thoughts to the far-away cabin by the
land-locked harbor of the great water that washed the beach of his
boyhood home--to the cabin of his long-dead father to which the
memories and treasures of a happy childhood lured him. Since the
loss of his mate, a great longing had possessed him to return to
the haunts of his youth--to the untracked jungle wilderness where
he had lived the life he loved best long before man had invaded
the precincts of his wild stamping grounds. There he hoped in a
renewal of the old life under the old conditions to win surcease
from sorrow and perhaps some measure of forgetfulness.
But the little cabin and the land-locked harbor were many long,
weary marches away, and he was handicapped by the duty which he
felt he owed to the two figures walking in the clearing before him.
One was a young man in a worn and ragged uniform of the British Royal
Air Forces, the other, a young woman in the even more disreputable
remnants of what once had been trim riding togs.
A freak of fate had thrown these three radically different types
together. One was a savage, almost naked beast-man, one an English
army officer, and the woman, she whom the ape-man knew and hated
as a German spy.
How he was to get rid of them Tarzan could not imagine unless
he accompanied them upon the weary march back to the east coast,
a march that would necessitate his once more retracing the long,
weary way he already had covered towards his goal, yet what else
could be done? These two had neither the strength, endurance, nor
jungle-craft to accompany him through the unknown country to the
west, nor did he wish them with him. The man he might have tolerated,
but he could not even consider the presence of the girl in the
far-off cabin, which had in a way become sacred to him through
its memories, without a growl or anger rising to his lips. There
remained, then, but the one way, since he could not desert them.
He must move by slow and irksome marches back to the east coast,
or at least to the first white settlement in that direction.
He had, it is true, contemplated leaving the girl to her fate but
that was before she had been instrumental in saving him from torture
and death at the hands of the black Wamabos. He chafed under the
obligation she had put upon him, but no less did he acknowledge
it and as he watched the two, the rueful expression upon his face
was lightened by a smile as he thought of the helplessness of them.
What a puny thing, indeed, was man! How ill equipped to combat the
savage forces of nature and of nature's jungle. Why, even the tiny
balu of the tribe of Go-lat, the great ape, was better fitted to
survive than these, for a balu could at least escape the numerous
creatures that menaced its existence, while with the possible
exception of Kota, the tortoise, none moved so slowly as did helpless
and feeble man.
Without him these two doubtless would starve in the midst of plenty,
should they by some miracle escape the other forces of destruction
which constantly threatened them. That morning Tarzan had brought
them fruit, nuts, and plantain, and now he was bringing them the
flesh of his kill, while the best that they might do was to fetch
water from the river. Even now, as they walked across the clearing
toward the boma, they were in utter ignorance of the presence
of Tarzan near them. They did not know that his sharp eyes were
watching them, nor that other eyes less friendly were glaring at
them from a clump of bushes close beside the boma entrance. They
did not know these things, but Tarzan did. No more than they could
he see the creature crouching in the concealment of the foliage, yet
he knew that it was there and what it was and what its intentions,
precisely as well as though it had been lying in the open.
A slight movement of the leaves at the top of a single stem had
apprised him of the presence of a creature there, for the movement
was not that imparted by the wind. It came from pressure at the
bottom of the stem which communicates a different movement to the
leaves than does the wind passing among them, as anyone who has
lived his lifetime in the jungle well knows, and the same wind that
passed through the foliage of the bush brought to the ape-man's
sensitive nostrils indisputable evidence of the fact that Sheeta,
the panther, waited there for the two returning from the river.
They had covered half the distance to the boma entrance when Tarzan
called to them to stop. They looked in surprise in the direction
from which his voice had come to see him drop lightly to the ground
and advance toward them.
"Come slowly toward me," he called to them. "Do not run for if you
run Sheeta will charge."
They did as he bid, their faces filled with questioning wonderment.
"What do you mean?" asked the young Englishman. "Who is Sheeta?"
but for answer the ape-man suddenly hurled the carcass of Bara, the
deer, to the ground and leaped quickly toward them, his eyes upon
something in their rear; and then it was that the two turned and
learned the identity of Sheeta, for behind them was a devil-faced
cat charging rapidly toward them.
Sheeta with rising anger and suspicion had seen the ape-man leap
from the tree and approach the quarry. His life's experiences backed
by instinct told him that the Tarmangani was about to rob him of
his prey and as Sheeta was hungry, he had no intention of being
thus easily deprived of the flesh he already considered his own.
The girl stifled an involuntary scream as she saw the proximity
of the fanged fury bearing down upon them. She shrank close to the
man and clung to him and all unarmed and defenseless as he was, the
Englishman pushed her behind him and shielding her with his body,
stood squarely in the face of the panther's charge. Tarzan noted
the act, and though accustomed as he was to acts of courage, he
experienced a thrill from the hopeless and futile bravery of the
The charging panther moved rapidly, and the distance which separated
the bush in which he had concealed himself from the objects of his
desire was not great. In the time that one might understandingly
read a dozen words the strong-limbed cat could have covered the
entire distance and made his kill, yet if Sheeta was quick, quick
too was Tarzan. The English lieutenant saw the ape-man flash by him
like the wind. He saw the great cat veer in his charge as though
to elude the naked savage rushing to meet him, as it was evidently
Sheeta's intention to make good his kill before attempting to
protect it from Tarzan.
Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick saw these things and then with increasing
wonder he saw the ape-man swerve, too, and leap for the spotted cat
as a football player leaps for a runner. He saw the strong, brown
arms encircling the body of the carnivore, the left arm in front
of the beast's left shoulder and the right arm behind his right
foreleg, and with the impact the two together rolling over and over
upon the turf. He heard the snarls and growls of bestial combat,
and it was with a feeling of no little horror that he realized that
the sounds coming from the human throat of the battling man could
scarce be distinguished from those of the panther.
The first momentary shock of terror over, the girl released her
grasp upon the Englishman's arm. "Cannot we do something?" she
asked. "Cannot we help him before the beast kills him?"
The Englishman looked upon the ground for some missile with which
to attack the panther and then the girl uttered an exclamation and
started at a run toward the hut. "Wait there," she called over her
shoulder. "I will fetch the spear that he left me."
Smith-Oldwick saw the raking talons of the panther searching for
the flesh of the man and the man on his part straining every muscle
and using every artifice to keep his body out of range of them. The
muscles of his arms knotted under the brown hide. The veins stood
out upon his neck and forehead as with ever-increasing power he
strove to crush the life from the great cat. The ape-man's teeth
were fastened in the back of Sheeta's neck and now he succeeded
in encircling the beast's torso with his legs which he crossed and
locked beneath the cat's belly. Leaping and snarling, Sheeta sought
to dislodge the ape-man's hold upon him. He hurled himself upon
the ground and rolled over and over. He reared upon his hind legs
and threw himself backwards but always the savage creature upon
his back clung tenaciously to him, and always the mighty brown arms
crushed tighter and tighter about his chest.
And then the girl, panting from her quick run, returned with the
short spear Tarzan had left her as her sole weapon of protection.
She did not wait to hand it to the Englishman who ran forward to
receive it, but brushed past him and leaped into close quarters
beside the growling, tumbling mass of yellow fur and smooth brown
hide. Several times she attempted to press the point home into
the cat's body, but on both occasions the fear of endangering the
ape-man caused her to desist, but at last the two lay motionless
for a moment as the carnivore sought a moment's rest from the
strenuous exertions of battle, and then it was that Bertha Kircher
pressed the point of the spear to the tawny side and drove it deep
into the savage heart.
Tarzan rose from the dead body of Sheeta and shook himself after
the manner of beasts that are entirely clothed with hair. Like
many other of his traits and mannerisms this was the result of
environment rather than heredity or reversion, and even though he
was outwardly a man, the Englishman and the girl were both impressed
with the naturalness of the act. It was as though Numa, emerging
from a fight, had shaken himself to straighten his rumpled mane and
coat, and yet, too, there was something uncanny about it as there
had been when the savage growls and hideous snarls issued from
those clean-cut lips.
Tarzan looked at the girl, a quizzical expression upon his face.
Again had she placed him under obligations to her, and Tarzan of
the Apes did not wish to be obligated to a German spy; yet in his
honest heart he could not but admit a certain admiration for her
courage, a trait which always greatly impressed the ape-man, he
himself the personification of courage.
"Here is the kill," he said, picking the carcass of Bara from the
ground. "You will want to cook your portion, I presume, but Tarzan
does not spoil his meat with fire."
They followed him to the boma where he cut several pieces of meat
from the carcass for them, retaining a joint for himself. The
young lieutenant prepared a fire, and the girl presided over the
primitive culinary rights of their simple meal. As she worked some
little way apart from them, the lieutenant and the ape-man watched
"She is wonderful. Is she not?" murmured Smith-Oldwick.
"She is a German and a spy," replied Tarzan.
The Englishman turned quickly upon him. "What do you mean?" he
"I mean what I say," replied the ape-man. "She is a German and a
"I do not believe it!" exclaimed the aviator.
"You do not have to," Tarzan assured him. "It is nothing to me
what you believe. I saw her in conference with the Boche general
and his staff at the camp near Taveta. They all knew her and called
her by name and she handed him a paper. The next time I saw her
she was inside the British lines in disguise, and again I saw her
bearing word to a German officer at Wilhelmstal. She is a German
and a spy, but she is a woman and therefore I cannot destroy her."
"You really believe that what you say is true?" asked the young
lieutenant. "My God! I cannot believe it. She is so sweet and brave
The ape-man shrugged his shoulders. "She is brave," he said, "but
even Pamba, the rat, must have some good quality, but she is what
I have told you and therefore I hate her and you should hate her."
Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick buried his face in his hands.
"God forgive me," he said at last. "I cannot hate her."
The ape-man cast a contemptuous look at his companion and arose.
"Tarzan goes again to hunt," he said. "You have enough food for
two days. By that time he will return."
The two watched him until he had disappeared in the foliage of the
trees at the further side of the clearing.
When he had gone the girl felt a vague sense of apprehension that
she never experienced when Tarzan was present. The invisible menaces
lurking in the grim jungle seemed more real and much more imminent
now that the ape-man was no longer near. While he had been there
talking with them, the little thatched hut and its surrounding
thorn boma had seemed as safe a place as the world might afford.
She wished that he had remained--two days seemed an eternity in
contemplation-two days of constant fear, two days, every moment of
which would be fraught with danger. She turned toward her companion.
"I wish that he had remained," she said. "I always feel so much
safer when he is near. He is very grim and very terrible, and yet
I feel safer with him than with any man I ever have known. He seems
to dislike me and yet I know that he would let no harm befall me.
I cannot understand him."
"Neither do I understand him," replied the Englishman; "but I know
this much--our presence here is interfering with his plans. He would
like to be rid of us, and I half imagine that he rather hopes to
find when he returns that we have succumbed to one of the dangers
which must always confront us in this savage land.
"I think that we should try to return to the white settlements. This
man does not want us here, nor is it reasonable to assume that we
could long survive in such a savage wilderness. I have traveled and
hunted in several parts of Africa, but never have I seen or heard
of any single locality so overrun with savage beasts and dangerous
natives. If we set out for the east coast at once we would be in
but little more danger than we are here, and if we could survive
a day's march, I believe that we will find the means of reaching
the coast in a few hours, for my plane must still be in the same
place that I landed just before the blacks captured me. Of course
there is no one here who could operate it nor is there any reason
why they should have destroyed it. As a matter of fact, the natives
would be so fearful and suspicious of so strange and incomprehensible
a thing that the chances are they would not dare approach it. Yes,
it must be where I left it and all ready to carry us safely to the
"But we cannot leave," said the girl, "until he returns. We could
not go away like that without thanking him or bidding him farewell.
We are under too great obligations to him."
The man looked at her in silence for a moment. He wondered if
she knew how Tarzan felt toward her and then he himself began to
speculate upon the truth of the ape-man's charges. The longer he
looked at the girl, the less easy was it to entertain the thought
that she was an enemy spy. He was upon the point of asking
her point-blank but he could not bring himself to do so, finally
determining to wait until time and longer acquaintance should reveal
the truth or falsity of the accusation.
"I believe," he said as though there had been no pause in their
conversation, "that the man would be more than glad to find us
gone when he returns. It is not necessary to jeopardize our lives
for two more days in order that we may thank him, however much
we may appreciate his services to us. You have more than balanced
your obligations to him and from what he told me I feel that you
especially should not remain here longer."
The girl looked up at him in astonishment. "What do you mean?" she
"I do not like to tell," said the Englishman, digging nervously at
the turf with the point of a stick, "but you have my word that he
would rather you were not here."
"Tell me what he said," she insisted, "I have a right to know."
Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick squared his shoulders and raised his eyes
to those of the girl. "He said that he hated you," he blurted. "He
has only aided you at all from a sense of duty because you are a
The girl paled and then flushed. "I will be ready to go," she said,
"in just a moment. We had better take some of this meat with us.
There is no telling when we will be able to get more."
And so the two set out down the river toward the south. The man
carried the short spear that Tarzan had left with the girl, while
she was entirely unarmed except for a stick she had picked up from
among those left after the building of the hut. Before departing
she had insisted that the man leave a note for Tarzan thanking him
for his care of them and bidding him goodbye. This they left pinned
to the inside wall of the hut with a little sliver of wood.
It was necessary that they be constantly on the alert since they
never knew what might confront them at the next turn of the winding
jungle trail or what might lie concealed in the tangled bushes at
either side. There was also the ever-present danger of meeting some
of Numabo's black warriors and as the village lay directly in their
line of march, there was the necessity for making a wide detour
before they reached it in order to pass around it without being
"I am not so much afraid of the native blacks," said the girl, "as
I am of Usanga and his people. He and his men were all attached
to a German native regiment. They brought me along with them when
they deserted, either with the intention of holding me ransom or
selling me into the harem of one of the black sultans of the north.
Usanga is much more to be feared than Numabo for he has had the
advantage of European military training and is armed with more or
less modern weapons and ammunition."
"It is lucky for me," remarked the Englishman, "that it was the
ignorant Numabo who discovered and captured me rather than the
worldly wise Usanga. He would have felt less fear of the giant
flying machine and would have known only too well how to wreck it."
"Let us pray that the black sergeant has not discovered it," said
They made their way to a point which they guessed was about a mile
above the village, then they turned into the trackless tangle of
undergrowth to the east. So dense was the verdure at many points
that it was with the utmost difficulty they wormed their way through,
sometimes on hands and knees and again by clambering over numerous
fallen tree trunks. Interwoven with dead limbs and living branches
were the tough and ropelike creepers which formed a tangled network
across their path.
South of them in an open meadowland a number of black warriors were
gathered about an object which elicited much wondering comment. The
blacks were clothed in fragments of what had once been uniforms of
a native German command. They were a most unlovely band and chief
among them in authority and repulsiveness was the black sergeant
Usanga. The object of their interest was a British aeroplane.
Immediately after the Englishman had been brought to Numabo's village
Usanga had gone out in search of the plane, prompted partially by
curiosity and partially by an intention to destroy it, but when he
had found it, some new thought had deterred him from carrying out
his design. The thing represented considerable value as he well
knew and it had occurred to him that in some way he might turn his
prize to profit. Every day he had returned to it, and while at
first it had filled him with considerable awe, he eventually came
to look upon it with the accustomed eye of a proprietor, so that
he now clambered into the fuselage and even advanced so far as to
wish that he might learn to operate it.
What a feat it would be indeed to fly like a bird far above the
highest tree top! How it would fill his less favored companions
with awe and admiration! If Usanga could but fly, so great would be
the respect of all the tribesmen throughout the scattered villages
of the great interior, they would look upon him as little less than
Usanga rubbed his palms together and smacked his thick lips. Then
indeed, would he be very rich, for all the villages would pay
tribute to him and he could even have as many as a dozen wives.
With that thought, however, came a mental picture of Naratu, the
black termagant, who ruled him with an iron hand. Usanga made a
wry face and tried to forget the extra dozen wives, but the lure of
the idea remained and appealed so strongly to him that he presently
found himself reasoning most logically that a god would not be much
of a god with less than twenty-four wives.
He fingered the instruments and the control, half hoping and half
fearing that he would alight upon the combination that would put
the machine in flight. Often had he watched the British air-men
soaring above the German lines and it looked so simple he was quite
sure that he could do it himself if there was somebody who could
but once show him how. There was, of course, always the hope that
the white man who came in the machine and who had escaped from
Numabo's village might fall into Usanga's hands and then indeed
would he be able to learn how to fly. It was in this hope that
Usanga spent so much time in the vicinity of the plane, reasoning
as he did that eventually the white man would return in search of
And at last he was rewarded, for upon this very day after he had
quit the machine and entered the jungle with his warriors, he heard
voices to the north and when he and his men had hidden in the dense
foliage upon either side of the trail, Usanga was presently filled
with elation by the appearance of the British officer and the white
girl whom the black sergeant had coveted and who had escaped him.
The Negro could scarce restrain a shout of elation, for he had not
hoped that fate would be so kind as to throw these two whom he most
desired into his power at the same time.
As the two came down the trail all unconscious of impending danger,
the man was explaining that they must be very close to the point
at which the plane had landed. Their entire attention was centered
on the trail directly ahead of them, as they momentarily expected
it to break into the meadowland where they were sure they would
see the plane that would spell life and liberty for them.
The trail was broad, and they were walking side by side so that at
a sharp turn the park-like clearing was revealed to them simultaneously
with the outlines of the machine they sought.
Exclamations of relief and delight broke from their lips, and at
the same instant Usanga and his black warriors rose from the bushes
all about them.
The Black Flier
The girl was almost crushed by terror and disappointment. To have
been thus close to safety and then to have all hope snatched away
by a cruel stroke of fate seemed unendurable. The man was disappointed,
too, but more was he angry. He noted the remnants of the uniforms
upon the blacks and immediately he demanded to know where were
"They cannot understand you," said the girl and so in the bastard
tongue that is the medium of communication between the Germans and
the blacks of their colony, she repeated the white man's question.
Usanga grinned. "You know where they are, white woman," he replied.
"They are dead, and if this white man does not do as I tell him,
he, too, will be dead."
"What do you want of him?" asked the girl.
"I want him to teach me how to fly like a bird," replied Usanga.
Bertha Kircher looked her astonishment, but repeated the demand to
The Englishman meditated for a moment. "He wants to learn to fly,
does he?" he repeated. "Ask him if he will give us our freedom if
I teach him to fly."
The girl put the question to Usanga, who, degraded, cunning, and
entirely unprincipled, was always perfectly willing to promise
anything whether he had any intentions of fulfilling his promises
or not, and so immediately assented to the proposition.
"Let the white man teach me to fly," he said, "and I will take you
back close to the settlements of your people, but in return for
this I shall keep the great bird," and he waved a black hand in
the direction of the aeroplane.
When Bertha Kircher had repeated Usanga's proposition to the
aviator, the latter shrugged his shoulders and with a wry face
finally agreed. "I fancy there is no other way out of it," he said.
"In any event the plane is lost to the British government. If I
refuse the black scoundrel's request, there is no doubt but what
he will make short work of me with the result that the machine will
lie here until it rots. If I accept his offer it will at least be
the means of assuring your safe return to civilization and that"
he added, "is worth more to me than all the planes in the British
The girl cast a quick glance at him. These were the first words he
had addressed to her that might indicate that his sentiments toward
her were more than those of a companion in distress. She regretted
that he had spoken as he had and he, too, regretted it almost
instantly as he saw the shadow cross her face and realized that
he had unwittingly added to the difficulties of her already almost
"Forgive me," he said quickly. "Please forget what that remark
implied. I promise you that I will not offend again, if it does
offend you, until after we are both safely out of this mess."
She smiled and thanked him, but the thing had been said and could
never be unsaid, and Bertha Kircher knew even more surely than as
though he had fallen upon his knees and protested undying devotion
that the young English officer loved her.
Usanga was for taking his first lesson in aviation immediately. The
Englishman attempted to dissuade him, but immediately the black
became threatening and abusive, since, like all those who are
ignorant, he was suspicious that the intentions of others were
always ulterior unless they perfectly coincided with his wishes.
"All right, old top," muttered the Englishman, "I will give you
the lesson of your life," and then turning to the girl: "Persuade
him to let you accompany us. I shall be afraid to leave you here
with these devilish scoundrels." But when she put the suggestion
to Usanga the black immediately suspected some plan to thwart
him--possibly to carry him against his will back to the German
masters he had traitorously deserted, and glowering at her savagely,
he obstinately refused to entertain the suggestion.
"The white woman will remain here with my people," he said. "They
will not harm her unless you fail to bring me back safely."
"Tell him," said the Englishman, "that if you are not standing in
plain sight in this meadow when I return, I will not land, but will
carry Usanga back to the British camp and have him hanged."
Usanga promised that the girl would be in evidence upon their
return, and took immediate steps to impress upon his warriors that
under penalty of death they must not harm her. Then, followed
by the other members of his party, he crossed the clearing toward
the plane with the Englishman. Once seated within what he already
considered his new possession, the black's courage began to wane
and when the motor was started and the great propeller commenced
to whir, he screamed to the Englishman to stop the thing and permit
him to alight, but the aviator could neither hear nor understand
the black above the noise of the propeller and exhaust. By this
time the plane was moving along the ground and even then Usanga was
upon the verge of leaping out, and would have done so had he been
able to unfasten the strap from about his waist. Then the plane rose
from the ground and in a moment soared gracefully in a wide circle
until it topped the trees. The black sergeant was in a veritable
collapse of terror. He saw the earth dropping rapidly from beneath
him. He saw the trees and river and at a distance the little clearing
with the thatched huts of Numabo's village. He tried hard not to
think of the results of a sudden fall to the rapidly receding ground
below. He attempted to concentrate his mind upon the twenty-four
wives which this great bird most assuredly would permit him to
command. Higher and higher rose the plane, swinging in a wide circle
above the forest, river, and meadowland and presently, much to his
surprise, Usanga discovered that his terror was rapidly waning, so
that it was not long before there was forced upon him a consciousness
of utter security, and then it was that he began to take notice of
the manner in which the white man guided and manipulated the plane.
After half an hour of skillful maneuvering, the Englishman rose
rapidly to a considerable altitude, and then, suddenly, without
warning, he looped and flew with the plane inverted for a few
"I said I'd give this beggar the lesson of his life," he murmured as
he heard, even above the whir of the propeller, the shriek of the
terrified Negro. A moment later Smith-Oldwick had righted the machine
and was dropping rapidly toward the earth. He circled slowly a few
times above the meadow until he had assured himself that Bertha
Kircher was there and apparently unharmed, then he dropped gently
to the ground so that the machine came to a stop a short distance
from where the girl and the warriors awaited them.
It was a trembling and ashen-hued Usanga who tumbled out of the
fuselage, for his nerves were still on edge as a result of the
harrowing experience of the loop, yet with terra firma once more
under foot, he quickly regained his composure. Strutting about
with great show and braggadocio, he strove to impress his followers
with the mere nothingness of so trivial a feat as flying birdlike
thousands of yards above the jungle, though it was long until he
had thoroughly convinced himself by the force of autosuggestion
that he had enjoyed every instant of the flight and was already
far advanced in the art of aviation.
So jealous was the black of his new-found toy that he would not
return to the village of Numabo, but insisted on making camp close
beside the plane, lest in some inconceivable fashion it should be
stolen from him. For two days they camped there, and constantly
during daylight hours Usanga compelled the Englishman to instruct
him in the art of flying.
Smith-Oldwick, in recalling the long months of arduous training he
had undergone himself before he had been considered sufficiently
adept to be considered a finished flier, smiled at the conceit of
the ignorant African who was already demanding that he be permitted
to make a flight alone.
"If it was not for losing the machine," the Englishman explained to
the girl, "I'd let the bounder take it up and break his fool neck
as he would do inside of two minutes."
However, he finally persuaded Usanga to bide his time for a few
more days of instruction, but in the suspicious mind of the Negro
there was a growing conviction that the white man's advice was prompted
by some ulterior motive; that it was in the hope of escaping with
the machine himself by night that he refused to admit that Usanga
was entirely capable of handling it alone and therefore in no further
need of help or instruction, and so in the mind of the black there
formed a determination to outwit the white man. The lure of the
twenty-four seductive wives proved in itself a sufficient incentive
and there, too, was added his desire for the white girl whom he
had long since determined to possess.
It was with these thoughts in mind that Usanga lay down to sleep
in the evening of the second day. Constantly, however, the thought
of Naratu and her temper arose to take the keen edge from his pleasant
imaginings. If he could but rid himself of her! The thought having
taken form persisted, but always it was more than outweighed by the
fact that the black sergeant was actually afraid of his woman, so
much afraid of her in fact that he would not have dared to attempt
to put her out of the way unless he could do so secretly while
she slept. However, as one plan after another was conjured by the
strength of his desires, he at last hit upon one which came to him
almost with the force of a blow and brought him sitting upright
among his sleeping companions.
When morning dawned Usanga could scarce wait for an opportunity to
put his scheme into execution, and the moment that he had eaten,
he called several of his warriors aside and talked with them for
The Englishman, who usually kept an eye upon his black captor,
saw now that the latter was explaining something in detail to his
warriors, and from his gestures and his manner it was apparent that
he was persuading them to some new plan as well as giving them
instructions as to what they were to do. Several times, too, he
saw the eyes of the Negroes turned upon him and once they flashed
simultaneously toward the white girl.
Everything about the occurrence, which in itself seemed trivial enough,
aroused in the mind of the Englishman a well-defined apprehension
that something was afoot that boded ill for him and for the girl.
He could not free himself of the idea and so he kept a still closer
watch over the black although, as he was forced to admit to himself,
he was quite powerless to avert any fate that lay in store for