Part 6 out of 6
proportions unrevealed, but her face was the face of an imbecile.
At sight of her Smith-Oldwick halted, momentarily expecting that
his presence would elicit screams for help from her. On the contrary
she came toward him smiling, and when she was close her slender,
shapely fingers touched the sleeve of his torn blouse as a curious
child might handle a new toy, and still with the same smile she
examined him from head to foot, taking in, in childish wonderment,
every detail of his apparel.
Presently she spoke to him in a soft, well-modulated voice which
contrasted sharply with her facial appearance. The voice and the
girlish figure harmonized perfectly and seemed to belong to each
other, while the head and face were those of another creature.
Smith-Oldwick could understand no word of what she said, but
nevertheless he spoke to her in his own cultured tone, the effect
of which upon her was evidently most gratifying, for before he
realized her intentions or could prevent her she had thrown both
arms about his neck and was kissing him with the utmost abandon.
The man tried to free himself from her rather surprising attentions,
but she only clung more tightly to him, and suddenly, as he recalled
that he had always heard that one must humor the mentally deficient,
and at the same time seeing in her a possible agency of escape, he
dosed his eyes and returned her embraces.
It was at this juncture that the door opened and a man entered.
With the sound from the first movement of the latch, Smith-Oldwick
opened his eyes, but though he endeavored to disengage himself
from the girl he realized that the newcomer had seen their rather
compromising position. The girl, whose back was toward the door,
seemed at first not to realize that someone had entered, but when
she did she turned quickly and as her eyes fell upon the man whose
terrible face was now distorted with an expression of hideous rage
she turned, screaming, and fled toward the alcove. The Englishman,
flushed and embarrassed, stood where she had left him. With the
sudden realization of the futility of attempting an explanation,
came that of the menacing appearance of the man, whom he now
recognized as the official who had received them in the room below.
The fellow's face, livid with insane rage and, possibly, jealousy,
was twitching violently, accentuating the maniacal expression that
it habitually wore.
For a moment he seemed paralyzed by anger, and then with a loud
shriek that rose into an uncanny wail, he drew his curved saber
and sprang toward the Englishman. To Smith-Oldwick there seemed
no possible hope of escaping the keen-edged weapon in the hands of
the infuriated man, and though he felt assured that it would draw
down upon him an equally sudden and possibly more terrible death,
he did the only thing that remained for him to do--drew his pistol
and fired straight for the heart of the oncoming man. Without even
so much as a groan the fellow lunged forward upon the floor at
Smith-Oldwick's feet--killed instantly with a bullet through the
heart. For several seconds the silence of the tomb reigned in the
The Englishman, standing over the prostrate figure of the dead
man, watched the door with drawn weapon, expecting momentarily to
hear the rush of feet of those whom he was sure would immediately
investigate the report of the pistol. But no sounds came from below
to indicate that anyone there had heard the explosion, and presently
the man's attention was distracted from the door to the alcove,
between the hangings of which the face of the girl appeared. The
eyes were widely dilated and the lower jaw dropped in an expression
of surprise and awe.
The girl's gaze was riveted upon the figure upon the floor, and
presently she crept stealthily into the room and tiptoed toward
the corpse. She appeared as though constantly poised for flight,
and when she had come to within two or three feet of the body she
stopped and, looking up at Smith-Oldwick, voiced some interrogation
which he could not, of course, understand. Then she came close to
the side of the dead man and kneeling upon the floor felt gingerly
of the body.
Presently she shook the corpse by the shoulder, and then with a
show of strength which her tenderly girlish form belied, she turned
the body over on its back. If she had been in doubt before, one
glance at the hideous features set in death must have convinced
her that life was extinct, and with the realization there broke
from her lips peal after peal of mad, maniacal laughter as with her
little hands she beat upon the upturned face and breast of the dead
man. It was a gruesome sight from which the Englishman involuntarily
drew back-a gruesome, disgusting sight such as, he realized, might
never be witnessed outside a madhouse or this frightful city.
In the midst of her frenzied rejoicing at the death of the man,
and Smith-Oldwick could attribute her actions to no other cause,
she suddenly desisted from her futile attacks upon the insensate
flesh and, leaping to her feet, ran quickly to the door, where
she shot a wooden bolt into its socket, thus securing them from
interference from without. Then she returned to the center of the
room and spoke rapidly to the Englishman, gesturing occasionally
toward the body of the slain man. When he could not understand,
she presently became provoked and in a sudden hysteria of madness
she rushed forward as though to strike the Englishman. Smith-Oldwick
dropped back a few steps and leveled his pistol upon her. Mad though
she must have been, she evidently was not so mad but what she had
connected the loud report, the diminutive weapon, and the sudden
death of the man in whose house she dwelt, for she instantly desisted
and quite as suddenly as it had come upon her, her homicidal mood
Again the vacuous, imbecile smile took possession of her features,
and her voice, dropping its harshness, resumed the soft, well-modulated
tones with which she had first addressed him. Now she attempted by
signs to indicate her wishes, and motioning Smith-Oldwick to follow
her she went to the hangings and opening them disclosed the alcove.
It was rather more than an alcove, being a fair-sized room heavy
with rugs and hangings and soft, pillowed couches. Turning at the
entrance she pointed to the corpse upon the floor of the outer
room, and then crossing the alcove she raised some draperies which
covered a couch and fell to the floor upon all sides, disclosing
an opening beneath the furniture.
To this opening she pointed and then again to the corpse, indicating
plainly to the Englishman that it was her desire that the body be
hidden here. But if he had been in doubt, she essayed to dispel it
by grasping his sleeve and urging him in the direction of the body
which the two of them then lifted and half carried and half dragged
into the alcove. At first they encountered some difficulty when
they endeavored to force the body of the man into the small space
she had selected for it, but eventually they succeeded in doing
so. Smith-Oldwick was again impressed by the fiendish brutality of
the girl. In the center of the room lay a blood-stained rug which
the girl quickly gathered up and draped over a piece of furniture
in such a way that the stain was hidden. By rearranging the other
rugs and by bringing one from the alcove she restored the room to
order so no outward indication of the tragedy so recently enacted
there was apparent.
These things attended to, and the hangings draped once more about
the couch that they might hide the gruesome thing beneath, the girl
once more threw her arms about the Englishman's neck and dragged him
toward the soft and luxurious pillows above the dead man. Acutely
conscious of the horror of his position, filled with loathing,
disgust, and an outraged sense of decency, Smith-Oldwick was also
acutely alive to the demands of self-preservation. He felt that
he was warranted in buying his life at almost any price; but there
was a point at which his finer nature rebelled.
It was at this juncture that a loud knock sounded upon the door of
the outer room. Springing from the couch, the girl seized the man
by the arm and dragged him after her to the wall close by the head
of the couch. Here she drew back one of the hangings, revealing a
little niche behind, into which she shoved the Englishman and dropped
the hangings before him, effectually hiding him from observation
from the rooms beyond.
He heard her cross the alcove to the door of the outer room, and
heard the bolt withdrawn followed by the voice of a man mingled
with that of the girl. The tones of both seemed rational so that
he might have been listening to an ordinary conversation in some
foreign tongue. Yet with the gruesome experiences of the day behind
him, he could not but momentarily expect some insane outbreak from
beyond the hangings.
He was aware from the sounds that the two had entered the alcove,
and, prompted by a desire to know what manner of man he might
next have to contend with, he slightly parted the heavy folds that
hid the two from his view and looking out saw them sitting on the
couch with their arms about each other, the girl with the same
expressionless smile upon her face that she had vouchsafed him.
He found he could so arrange the hangings that a very narrow slit
between two of them permitted him to watch the actions of those in
the alcove without revealing himself or increasing his liability
He saw the girl lavishing her kisses upon the newcomer, a much
younger man than he whom Smith-Oldwick had dispatched. Presently
the girl disengaged herself from the embrace of her lover as though
struck by a sudden memory. Her brows puckered as in labored thought
and then with a startled expression, she threw a glance backward
toward the hidden niche where the Englishman stood, after which she
whispered rapidly to her companion, occasionally jerking her head
in the direction of the niche and on several occasions making a
move with one hand and forefinger, which Smith-Oldwick could not
mistake as other than an attempt to describe his pistol and its
It was evident then to him that she was betraying him, and without
further loss of time he turned his back toward the hangings and
commenced a rapid examination of his hiding place. In the alcove
the man and the girl whispered, and then cautiously and with great
stealth, the man rose and drew his curved saber. On tiptoe he
approached the hangings, the girl creeping at his side. Neither
spoke now, nor was there any sound in the room as the girl sprang
forward and with outstretched arm and pointing finger indicated
a point upon the curtain at the height of a man's breast. Then
she stepped to one side, and her companion, raising his blade to
a horizontal position, lunged suddenly forward and with the full
weight of his body and his right arm, drove the sharp point through
the hangings and into the niche behind for its full length.
Bertha Kircher, finding her struggles futile and realizing that she
must conserve her strength for some chance opportunity of escape,
desisted from her efforts to break from the grasp of Prince Metak
as the fellow fled with her through the dimly lighted corridors
of the palace. Through many chambers the prince fled, bearing his
prize. It was evident to the girl that, though her captor was the
king's son, he was not above capture and punishment for his deeds,
as otherwise he would not have shown such evident anxiety to escape
with her, as well as from the results of his act.
From the fact that he was constantly turning affrighted eyes behind
them, and glancing suspiciously into every nook and corner that
they passed, she guessed that the prince's punishment might be both
speedy and terrible were he caught.
She knew from their route that they must have doubled back several
times although she had quite lost all sense of direction; but she
did not know that the prince was as equally confused as she, and
that really he was running in an aimless, erratic manner, hoping
that he might stumble eventually upon a place of refuge.
Nor is it to be wondered at that this offspring of maniacs should
have difficulty in orienting himself in the winding mazes of a
palace designed by maniacs for a maniac king. Now a corridor turned
gradually and almost imperceptibly in a new direction, again one
doubled back upon and crossed itself; here the floor rose gradually
to the level of another story, or again there might be a spiral
stairway down which the mad prince rushed dizzily with his burden.
Upon what floor they were or in what part of the palace even Metak
had no idea until, halting abruptly at a closed door, he pushed
it open to step into a brilliantly lighted chamber filled with
warriors, at one end of which sat the king upon a great throne;
beside this, to the girl's surprise, she saw another throne where
was seated a huge lioness, recalling to her the words of Xanila
which, at the time, had made no impression on her: "But he had many
other queens, nor were they all human."
At sight of Metak and the girl, the king rose from his throne and
started across the chamber, all semblance of royalty vanishing in
the maniac's uncontrollable passion. And as he came he shrieked
orders and commands at the top of his voice. No sooner had Metak so
unwarily opened the door to this hornets' nest than he immediately
withdrew and, turning, fled again in a new direction. But now
a hundred men were close upon his heels, laughing, shrieking, and
possibly cursing. He dodged hither and thither, distancing them for
several minutes until, at the bottom of a long runway that inclined
steeply downward from a higher level, he burst into a subterranean
apartment lighted by many flares.
In the center of the room was a pool of considerable size, the
level of the water being but a few inches below the floor. Those
behind the fleeing prince and his captive entered the chamber in
time to see Metak leap into the water with the girl and disappear
beneath the surface taking his captive with him, nor, though they
waited excitedly around the rim of the pool, did either of the two
When Smith-Oldwick turned to investigate his hiding place, his
hands, groping upon the rear wall, immediately came in contact with
the wooden panels of a door and a bolt such as that which secured
the door of the outer room. Cautiously and silently drawing the
wooden bar he pushed gently against the panel to find that the door
swung easily and noiselessly outward into utter darkness. Moving
carefully and feeling forward for each step he passed out of the
niche, closing the door behind him.
Peeling about, he discovered that he was in a narrow corridor which
he followed cautiously for a few yards to be brought up suddenly
by what appeared to be a ladder across the passageway. He felt of
the obstruction carefully with his hands until he was assured that
it was indeed a ladder and that a solid wall was just beyond it,
ending the corridor. Therefore, as he could not go forward and as
the ladder ended at the floor upon which he stood, and as he did
not care to retrace his steps, there was no alternative but to climb
upward, and this he did, his pistol ready in a side pocket of his
He had ascended but two or three rungs when his head came suddenly
and painfully in contact with a hard surface above him. Groping
about with one hand over his head he discovered that the obstacle
seemed to be the covering to a trap door in the ceiling which,
with a little effort, he succeeded in raising a couple of inches,
revealing through the cracks the stars of a clear African night.
With a sigh of relief, but with unabated caution, he gently slid
the trapdoor to one side far enough to permit him to raise his
eyes above the level of the roof. A quick glance assured him that
there was none near enough to observe his movements, nor, in fact,
as far as he could see, was anyone in sight.
Drawing himself quickly through the aperture he replaced the cover
and endeavored to regain his bearings. Directly to the south of him
the low roof he stood upon adjoined a much loftier portion of the
building, which rose several stories above his head. A few yards
to the west he could see the flickering light of the flares of a
winding street, and toward this he made his way.
From the edge of the roof he looked down upon the night life of
the mad city. He saw men and women and children and lions, and of
all that he saw it was quite evident to him that only the lions were
sane. With the aid of the stars he easily picked out the points of
the compass, and following carefully in his memory the steps that
had led him into the city and to the roof upon which he now stood,
he knew that the thoroughfare upon which he looked was the same
along which he and Bertha Kircher had been led as prisoners earlier
in the day.
If he could reach this he might be able to pass undetected in the
shadows of the arcade to the city gate. He had already given up as
futile the thought of seeking out the girl and attempting to succor
her, for he knew that alone and with the few remaining rounds of
ammunition he possessed, he could do nothing against this city-full
of armed men. That he could live to cross the lion-infested forest
beyond the city was doubtful, and having, by some miracle, won to
the desert beyond, his fate would be certainly sealed; but yet he
was consumed with but one desire--to leave behind him as far as
possible this horrid city of maniacs.
He saw that the roofs rose to the same level as that upon which
he stood unbroken to the north to the next street intersection.
Directly below him was a flare. To reach the pavement in safety
it was necessary that he find as dark a portion of the avenue as
possible. And so he sought along the edge of the roofs for a place
where he might descend in comparative concealment.
He had proceeded some little way beyond a point where the street curved
abruptly to the east before he discovered a location sufficiently
to his liking. But even here he was compelled to wait a considerable
time for a satisfactory moment for his descent, which he had
decided to make down one of the pillars of the arcade. Each time
he prepared to lower himself over the edge of the roofs, footsteps
approaching in one direction or another deterred him until at last
he had almost come to the conclusion that he would have to wait
for the entire city to sleep before continuing his flight.
But finally came a moment which he felt propitious and though
with inward qualms, it was with outward calm that he commenced the
descent to the street below.
When at last he stood beneath the arcade he was congratulating
himself upon the success that had attended his efforts up to this
point when, at a slight sound behind him, he turned to see a tall
figure in the yellow tunic of a warrior confronting him.
Out of the Niche
Numa, the lion, growled futilely in baffled rage as he slipped
back to the ground at the foot of the wall after his unsuccessful
attempt to drag down the fleeing ape-man. He poised to make a
second effort to follow his escaping quarry when his nose picked
up a hitherto unnoticed quality in the scent spoor of his intended
prey. Sniffing at the ground that Tarzan's feet had barely touched,
Numa's growl changed to a low whine, for he had recognized the
scent spoor of the man-thing that had rescued him from the pit of
What thoughts passed through that massive head? Who may say? But
now there was no indication of baffled rage as the great lion turned
and moved majestically eastward along the wall. At the eastern end
of the city he turned toward the south, continuing his way to the
south side of the wall along which were the pens and corrals where
the herbivorous flocks were fattened for the herds of domesticated
lions within the city. The great black lions of the forest fed
with almost equal impartiality upon the flesh of the grass-eaters
and man. Like Numa of the pit they occasionally made excursions across
the desert to the fertile valley of the Wamabos, but principally
they took their toll of meat from the herds of the walled city of
Herog, the mad king, or seized upon some of his luckless subjects.
Numa of the pit was in some respect an exception to the rule which
guided his fellows of the forest in that as a cub he had been
trapped and carried into the city, where he was kept for breeding
purposes, only to escape in his second year. They had tried to teach
him in the city of maniacs that he must not eat the flesh of man,
and the result of their schooling was that only when aroused to
anger or upon that one occasion that he had been impelled by the
pangs of hunger, did he ever attack man.
The animal corrals of the maniacs are protected by an outer wall
or palisade of upright logs, the lower ends of which are imbedded
in the ground, the logs themselves being placed as close together
as possible and further reinforced and bound together by withes.
At intervals there are gates through which the flocks are turned
on to the grazing land south of the city during the daytime. It is
at such times that the black lions of the forest take their greatest
toll from the herds, and it is infrequent that a lion attempts to
enter the corrals at night. But Numa of the pit, having scented the
spoor of his benefactor, was minded again to pass into the walled
city, and with that idea in his cunning brain he crept stealthily
along the outer side of the palisade, testing each gateway with a
padded foot until at last he discovered one which seemed insecurely
fastened. Lowering his great head he pressed against the gate, surging
forward with all the weight of his huge body and the strength of
his giant sinews--one mighty effort and Numa was within the corral.
The enclosure contained a herd of goats which immediately upon the
advent of the carnivore started a mad stampede to the opposite end
of the corral which was bounded by the south wall of the city. Numa
had been within such a corral as this before, so that he knew that
somewhere in the wall was a small door through which the goatherd
might pass from the city to his flock; toward this door he made his
way, whether by plan or accident it is difficult to say, though in
the light of ensuing events it seems possible that the former was
To reach the gate he must pass directly through the herd which had
huddled affrightedly close to the opening so that once again there
was a furious rush of hoofs as Numa strode quickly to the side of
the portal. If Numa had planned, he had planned well, for scarcely
had he reached his position when the door opened and a herder's head
was projected into the enclosure, the fellow evidently seeking an
explanation of the disturbance among his flock. Possibly he discovered
the cause of the commotion, but it is doubtful, for it was dark
and the great, taloned paw that reached up and struck downward a
mighty blow that almost severed his head from his body, moved so
quickly and silently that the man was dead within a fraction of
a second from the moment that he opened the door, and then Numa,
knowing now his way, passed through the wall into the dimly lighted
streets of the city beyond.
Smith-Oldwick's first thought when he was accosted by the figure in
the yellow tunic of a soldier was to shoot the man dead and trust
to his legs and the dimly lighted, winding streets to permit his
escape, for he knew that to be accosted was equivalent to recapture
since no inhabitant of this weird city but would recognize him
as an alien. It would be a simple thing to shoot the man from the
pocket where the pistol lay without drawing the weapon, and with
this purpose in mind the Englishman slipped his hands into the
side pocket of his blouse, but simultaneously with this action his
wrist was seized in a powerful grasp and a low voice whispered in
English: "Lieutenant, it is I, Tarzan of the Apes."
The relief from the nervous strain under which he had been laboring
for so long, left Smith-Oldwick suddenly as weak as a babe, so that
he was forced to grasp the ape-man's arm for support--and when he
found his voice all he could do was to repeat: "You? You? I thought
you were dead!"
"No, not dead," replied Tarzan, "and I see that you are not either.
But how about the girl?"
"I haven't seen her," replied the Englishman, "since we were
brought here. We were taken into a building on the plaza close by
and there we were separated. She was led away by guards and I was
put into a den of lions. I haven't seen her since."
"How did you escape?" asked the ape-man.
"The lions didn't seem to pay much attention to me and I climbed
out of the place by way of a tree and through a window into a room
on the second floor. Had a little scrimmage there with a fellow and
was hidden by one of their women in a hole in the wall. The loony
thing then betrayed me to another bounder who happened in, but I
found a way out and up onto the roof where I have been for quite
some time now waiting for a chance to get down into the street
without being seen. That's all I know, but I haven't the slightest
idea in the world where to look for Miss Kircher."
"Where were you going now?" asked Tarzan.
Smith-Oldwick hesitated. "I--well, I couldn't do anything here
alone and I was going to try to get out of the city and in some
way reach the British forces east and bring help."
"You couldn't do it," said Tarzan. "Even if you got through the
forest alive you could never cross the desert country without food
"What shall we do, then?" asked the Englishman.
"We will see if we can find the girl," replied the ape-man, and
then, as though he had forgotten the presence of the Englishman and
was arguing to convince himself, "She may be a German and a spy,
but she is a woman--a white woman--I can't leave her here."
"But how are we going to find her?" asked the Englishman.
"I have followed her this far," replied Tarzan, "and unless I am
greatly mistaken I can follow her still farther."
"But I cannot accompany you in these clothes without exposing us
both to detection and arrest," argued Smith-Oldwick.
"We will get you other clothes, then," said Tarzan.
"How?" asked the Englishman.
"Go back to the roof beside the city wall where I entered," replied
the ape-man with a grim smile, "and ask the naked dead man there
how I got my disguise."
Smith-Oldwick looked quickly up at his companion. "I have it," he
exclaimed. "I know where there is a fellow who doesn't need his
clothes anymore, and if we can get back on this roof I think we can
find him and get his apparel without much resistance. Only a girl
and a young fellow whom we could easily surprise and overcome."
"What do you mean?" asked Tarzan. "How do you know that the man
doesn't need his clothes any more."
"I know he doesn't need them," replied the Englishman, "because I
"Oh!" exclaimed the ape-man, "I see. I guess it might be easier
that way than to tackle one of these fellows in the street where
there is more chance of our being interrupted."
"But how are we going to reach the roof again, after all?" queried
"The same way you came down," replied Tarzan. "This roof is low
and there is a little ledge formed by the capital of each column;
I noticed that when you descended. Some of the buildings wouldn't
have been so easy to negotiate."
Smith-Oldwick looked up toward the eaves of the low roof. "It's
not very high," he said, "but I am afraid I can't make it. I'll
try--I've been pretty weak since a lion mauled me and the guards
beat me up, and too, I haven't eaten since yesterday."
Tarzan thought a moment. "You've got to go with me," he said at
last. "I can't leave you here. The only chance you have of escape
is through me and I can't go with you now until we have found the
"I want to go with you," replied Smith-Oldwick. "I'm not much good
now but at that two of us may be better than one."
"All right," said Tarzan, "come on," and before the Englishman
realized what the other contemplated Tarzan had picked him up
and thrown him across his shoulder. "Now, hang on," whispered the
ape-man, and with a short run he clambered apelike up the front of the
low arcade. So quickly and easily was it done that the Englishman
scarcely had time to realize what was happening before he was
deposited safely upon the roof.
"There," remarked Tarzan. "Now, lead me to the place you speak of."
Smith-Oldwick had no difficulty in locating the trap in the roof
through which he had escaped. Removing the cover the ape-man bent
low, listening and sniffing. "Come," he said after a moment's
investigation and lowered himself to the floor beneath. Smith-Oldwick
followed him, and together the two crept through the darkness toward
the door in the back wall of the niche in which the Englishman
had been hidden by the girl. They found the door ajar and opening
it Tarzan saw a streak of light showing through the hangings that
separated it from the alcove.
Placing his eye close to the aperture he saw the girl and the young
man of which the Englishman had spoken seated on opposite sides of
a low table upon which food was spread. Serving them was a giant
Negro and it was he whom the ape-man watched most closely. Familiar
with the tribal idiosyncrasies of a great number of African tribes
over a considerable proportion of the Dark Continent, the Tarmangani
at last felt reasonably assured that he knew from what part of
Africa this slave had come, and the dialect of his people. There
was, however, the chance that the fellow had been captured in
childhood and that through long years of non-use his native language
had become lost to him, but then there always had been an element
of chance connected with nearly every event of Tarzan's life, so he
waited patiently until in the performance of his duties the black
man approached a little table which stood near the niche in which
Tarzan and the Englishman hid.
As the slave bent over some dish which stood upon the table his
ear was not far from the aperture through which Tarzan looked.
Apparently from a solid wall, for the Negro had no knowledge of
the existence of the niche, came to him in the tongue of his own
people, the whispered words: "If you would return to the land of
the Wamabo say nothing, but do as I bid you."
The black rolled terrified eyes toward the hangings at his side.
The ape-man could see him tremble and for a moment was fearful that
in his terror he would betray them. "Fear not," he whispered, "we
are your friends."
At last the Negro spoke in a low whisper, scarcely audible even to
the keen ears of the ape-man. "What," he asked, "can poor Otobu do
for the god who speaks to him out of the solid wall?"
"This," replied Tarzan. "Two of us are coming into this room. Help
us prevent this man and woman from escaping or raising an outcry
that will bring others to their aid."
"I will help you," replied the Negro, "to keep them within this
room, but do not fear that their outcries will bring others. These
walls are built so that no sound may pass through, and even if it
did what difference would it make in this village which is constantly
filled with the screams of its mad people. Do not fear their cries.
No one will notice them. I go to do your bidding."
Tarzan saw the black cross the room to the table upon which he
placed another dish of food before the feasters. Then he stepped
to a place behind the man and as he did so raised his eyes to the
point in the wall from which the ape-man's voice had come to him,
as much as to say, "Master, I am ready."
Without more delay Tarzan threw aside the hangings and stepped
into the room. As he did so the young man rose from the table to be
instantly seized from behind by the black slave. The girl, whose
back was toward the ape-man and his companion, was not at first
aware of their presence but saw only the attack of the slave upon
her lover, and with a loud scream she leaped forward to assist the
latter. Tarzan sprang to her side and laid a heavy hand upon her
arm before she could interfere with Otobu's attentions to the young
man. At first, as she turned toward the ape-man, her face reflected
only mad rage, but almost instantly this changed into the vapid
smile with which Smith-Oldwick was already familiar and her slim
fingers commenced their soft appraisement of the newcomer.
Almost immediately she discovered Smith-Oldwick but there was
neither surprise nor anger upon her countenance. Evidently the poor
mad creature knew but two principal moods, from one to the other
of which she changed with lightning-like rapidity.
"Watch her a moment," said Tarzan to the Englishman, "while I disarm
that fellow," and stepping to the side of the young man whom Otobu
was having difficulty in subduing Tarzan relieved him of his saber.
"Tell them," he said to the Negro, "if you speak their language,
that we will not harm them if they leave us alone and let us depart
The black had been looking at Tarzan with wide eyes, evidently
not comprehending how this god could appear in so material a form,
and with the voice of a white bwana and the uniform of a warrior
of this city to which he quite evidently did not belong. But
nevertheless his first confidence in the voice that offered him
freedom was not lessened and he did as Tarzan bid him.
"They want to know what you want," said Otobu, after he had spoken
to the man and the girl.
"Tell them that we want food for one thing," said Tarzan, "and
something else that we know where to find in this room. Take the
man's spear, Otobu; I see it leaning against the wall in the corner
of the room. And you, Lieutenant, take his saber," and then again
to Otobu, "I will watch the man while you go and bring forth that
which is beneath the couch over against this wall," and Tarzan
indicated the location of the piece of furniture.
Otobu, trained to obey, did as he was bid. The eyes of the man and
the girl followed him, and as he drew back the hangings and dragged
forth the corpse of the man Smith-Oldwick had slain, the girl's lover
voiced a loud scream and attempted to leap forward to the side of
the corpse. Tarzan, however, seized him and then the fellow turned
upon him with teeth and nails. It was with no little difficulty
that Tarzan finally subdued the man, and while Otobu was removing
the outer clothing from the corpse, Tarzan asked the black to
question the young man as to his evident excitement at the sight
of the body.
"I can tell you Bwana," replied Otobu. "This man was his father."
"What is he saying to the girl?" asked Tarzan.
"He is asking her if she knew that the body of his father was under
the couch. And she is saying that she did not know it."
Tarzan repeated the conversation to Smith-Oldwick, who smiled. "If
the chap could have seen her removing all evidence of the crime and
arranging the hangings of the couch so that the body was concealed
after she had helped me drag it across the room, he wouldn't have
very much doubt as to her knowledge of the affair. The rug you see
draped over the bench in the corner was arranged to hide the blood
stain--in some ways they are not so loony after all."
The black man had now removed the outer garments from the dead
man, and Smith-Oldwick was hastily drawing them on over his own
clothing. "And now," said Tarzan, "we will sit down and eat. One
accomplishes little on an empty stomach." As they ate the ape-man
attempted to carry on a conversation with the two natives through
Otobu. He learned that they were in the palace which had belonged
to the dead man lying upon the floor beside them. He had held an
official position of some nature, and he and his family were of
the ruling class but were not members of the court.
When Tarzan questioned them about Bertha Kircher, the young man
said that she had been taken to the king's palace; and when asked
why replied: "For the king, of course."
During the conversation both the man and the girl appeared quite
rational, even asking some questions as to the country from which
their uninvited guests had come, and evidencing much surprise when
informed that there was anything but waterless wastes beyond their
When Otobu asked the man, at Tarzan's suggestion, if he was familiar
with the interior of the king's palace, he replied that he was;
that he was a friend of Prince Metak, one of the king's sons, and
that he often visited the palace and that Metak also came here to
his father's palace frequently. As Tarzan ate he racked his brain
for some plan whereby he might utilize the knowledge of the young
man to gain entrance to the palace, but he had arrived at nothing
which he considered feasible when there came a loud knocking upon
the door of the outer room.
For a moment no one spoke and then the young man raised his voice
and cried aloud to those without. Immediately Otobu sprang for the
fellow and attempted to smother his words by clapping a palm over
"What is he saying?" asked Tarzan.
"He is telling them to break down the door and rescue him and the
girl from two strangers who entered and made them prisoners. If
they enter they will kill us all."
"Tell him," said Tarzan, "to hold his peace or I will slay him."
Otobu did as he was instructed and the young maniac lapsed into
scowling silence. Tarzan crossed the alcove and entered the outer
room to note the effect of the assaults upon the door. Smith-Oldwick
followed him a few steps, leaving Otobu to guard the two prisoners.
The ape-man saw that the door could not long withstand the heavy
blows being dealt the panels from without. "I wanted to use that
fellow in the other room," he said to Smith-Oldwick, "but I am
afraid we will have to get out of here the way we came. We can't
accomplish anything by waiting here and meeting these fellows.
From the noise out there there must be a dozen of them. Come," he
said, "you go first and I will follow."
As the two turned back from the alcove they witnessed an entirely
different scene from that upon which they had turned their backs
but a moment or two before. Stretched on the floor and apparently
lifeless lay the body of the black slave, while the two prisoners
had vanished completely.
The Flight from Xuja
As Metak bore Bertha Kircher toward the edge of the pool, the girl
at first had no conception of the deed he contemplated but when, as
they approached the edge, he did not lessen his speed she guessed
the frightful truth. As he leaped head foremost with her into the
water, she closed her eyes and breathed a silent prayer, for she
was confident that the maniac had no other purpose than to drown
himself and her. And yet, so potent is the first law of nature that
even in the face of certain death, as she surely believed herself,
she clung tenaciously to life, and while she struggled to free
herself from the powerful clutches of the madman, she held her
breath against the final moment when the asphyxiating waters must
inevitably flood her lungs.
Through the frightful ordeal she maintained absolute control of
her senses so that, after the first plunge, she was aware that the
man was swimming with her beneath the surface. He took perhaps not
more than a dozen strokes directly toward the end wall of the pool
and then he arose; and once again she knew that her head was above
the surface. She opened her eyes to see that they were in a corridor
dimly lighted by gratings set in its roof--a winding corridor,
water filled from wall to wall.
Along this the man was swimming with easy powerful strokes, at the
same time holding her chin above the water. For ten minutes he swam
thus without stopping and the girl heard him speak to her, though
she could not understand what he said, as he evidently immediately
realized, for, half floating, he shifted his hold upon her so that
he could touch her nose and mouth with the fingers of one hand. She
grasped what he meant and immediately took a deep breath, whereat
he dove quickly beneath the surface pulling her down with him and
again for a dozen strokes or more he swam thus wholly submerged.
When they again came to the surface, Bertha Kircher saw that they
were in a large lagoon and that the bright stars were shining high
above them, while on either hand domed and minareted buildings were
silhouetted sharply against the starlit sky. Metak swam swiftly to
the north side of the lagoon where, by means of a ladder, the two
climbed out upon the embankment. There were others in the plaza
but they paid but little if any attention to the two bedraggled
figures. As Metak walked quickly across the pavement with the girl
at his side, Bertha Kircher could only guess at the man's intentions.
She could see no way in which to escape and so she went docilely
with him, hoping against hope that some fortuitous circumstance
might eventually arise that would give her the coveted chance for
freedom and life.
Metak led her toward a building which, as she entered, she recognized
as the same to which she and Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick had been led
when they were brought into the city. There was no man sitting
behind the carved desk now, but about the room were a dozen or more
warriors in the tunics of the house to which they were attached, in
this case white with a small lion in the form of a crest or badge
upon the breast and back of each.
As Metak entered and the men recognized him they arose, and in answer
to a query he put, they pointed to an arched doorway at the rear
of the room. Toward this Metak led the girl, and then, as though
filled with a sudden suspicion, his eyes narrowed cunningly and
turning toward the soldiery he issued an order which resulted in
their all preceding him through the small doorway and up a flight
of stairs a short distance beyond.
The stairway and the corridor above were lighted by small flares
which revealed several doors in the walls of the upper passageway.
To one of these the men led the prince. Bertha Kircher saw them
knock upon the door and heard a voice reply faintly through the
thick door to the summons. The effect upon those about her was
electrical. Instantly excitement reigned, and in response to orders
from the king's son the soldiers commenced to beat heavily upon the
door, to throw their bodies against it and to attempt to hew away
the panels with their sabers. The girl wondered at the cause of
the evident excitement of her captors.
She saw the door giving to each renewed assault, but what she did
not see just before it crashed inward was the figures of the two
men who alone, in all the world, might have saved her, pass between
the heavy hangings in an adjoining alcove and disappear into a dark
As the door gave and the warriors rushed into the apartment followed
by the prince, the latter became immediately filled with baffled
rage, for the rooms were deserted except for the dead body of the
owner of the palace, and the still form of the black slave, Otobu,
where they lay stretched upon the floor of the alcove.
The prince rushed to the windows and looked out, but as the suite
overlooked the barred den of lions from which, the prince thought,
there could be no escape, his puzzlement was only increased. Though
he searched about the room for some clue to the whereabouts of its
former occupants he did not discover the niche behind the hangings.
With the fickleness of insanity he quickly tired of the search,
and, turning to the soldiers who had accompanied him from the floor
below, dismissed them.
After setting up the broken door as best they could, the men left
the apartment and when they were again alone Metak turned toward
the girl. As he approached her, his face distorted by a hideous
leer, his features worked rapidly in spasmodic twitches. The girl,
who was standing at the entrance of the alcove, shrank back, her
horror reflected in her face. Step by step she backed across the
room, while the crouching maniac crept stealthily after her with
claw-like fingers poised in anticipation of the moment they should
leap forth and seize her.
As she passed the body of the Negro, her foot touched some obstacle
at her side, and glancing down she saw the spear with which Otobu
had been supposed to hold the prisoners. Instantly she leaned forward
and snatched it from the floor with its sharp point directed at
the body of the madman. The effect upon Metak was electrical. From
stealthy silence he broke into harsh peals of laughter, and drawing
his saber danced to and fro before the girl, but whichever way he
went the point of the spear still threatened him.
Gradually the girl noticed a change in the tone of the creature's
screams that was also reflected in the changing expression upon his
hideous countenance. His hysterical laughter was slowly changing
into cries of rage while the silly leer upon his face was supplanted
by a ferocious scowl and up-curled lips, which revealed the sharpened
He now ran rapidly in almost to the spear's point, only to jump
away, run a few steps to one side and again attempt to make an
entrance, the while he slashed and hewed at the spear with such
violence that it was with difficulty the girl maintained her guard,
and all the time was forced to give ground step by step. She had
reached the point where she was standing squarely against the couch
at the side of the room when, with an incredibly swift movement,
Metak stooped and grasping a low stool hurled it directly at her
She raised the spear to fend off the heavy missile, but she was
not entirely successful, and the impact of the blow carried her
backward upon the couch, and instantly Metak was upon her.
Tarzan and Smith-Oldwick gave little thought as to what had become
of the other two occupants of the room. They were gone, and so far
as these two were concerned they might never return. Tarzan's one
desire was to reach the street again, where, now that both of them
were in some sort of disguise, they should be able to proceed with
comparative safety to the palace and continue their search for the
Smith-Oldwick preceded Tarzan along the corridor and as they reached
the ladder he climbed aloft to remove the trap. He worked for a
moment and then, turning, addressed Tarzan.
"Did we replace the cover on this trap when we came down? I don't
recall that we did."
"No," said Tarzan, "it was left open."
"So I thought," said Smith-Oldwick, "but it's closed now and locked.
I cannot move it. Possibly you can," and he descended the ladder.
Even Tarzan's immense strength, however, had no effect other than
to break one of the rungs of the ladder against which he was pushing,
nearly precipitating him to the floor below. After the rung broke
he rested for a moment before renewing his efforts, and as he stood
with his head near the cover of the trap, he distinctly heard voices
on the roof above him.
Dropping down to Oldwick's side he told him what he had heard. "We
had better find some other way out," he said, and the two started
to retrace their steps toward the alcove. Tarzan was again in the
lead, and as he opened the door in the back of the niche, he was
suddenly startled to hear, in tones of terror and in a woman's
voice, the words: "O God, be merciful" from just beyond the hangings.
Here was no time for cautious investigation and, not even waiting
to find the aperture and part the hangings, but with one sweep of
a brawny hand dragging them from their support, the ape-man leaped
from the niche into the alcove.
At the sound of his entry the maniac looked up, and as he saw at
first only a man in the uniform of his father's soldiers, he shrieked
forth an angry order, but at the second glance, which revealed the
face of the newcomer, the madman leaped from the prostrate form
of his victim and, apparently forgetful of the saber which he had
dropped upon the floor beside the couch as he leaped to grapple
with the girl, closed with bare hands upon his antagonist, his
sharp-filed teeth searching for the other's throat.
Metak, the son of Herog, was no weakling. Powerful by nature and
rendered still more so in the throes of one of his maniacal fits
of fury he was no mean antagonist, even for the mighty ape-man,
and to this a distinct advantage for him was added by the fact that
almost at the outset of their battle Tarzan, in stepping backward,
struck his heel against the corpse of the man whom Smith-Oldwick
had killed, and fell heavily backward to the floor with Metak upon
With the quickness of a cat the maniac made an attempt to fasten
his teeth in Tarzan's jugular, but a quick movement of the latter
resulted in his finding a hold only upon the Tarmangani's shoulder.
Here he clung while his fingers sought Tarzan's throat, and it was
then that the ape-man, realizing the possibility of defeat, called
to Smith-Oldwick to take the girl and seek to escape.
The Englishman looked questioningly at Bertha Kircher, who had now
risen from the couch, shaking and trembling. She saw the question
in his eyes and with an effort she drew herself to her full height.
"No," she cried, "if he dies here I shall die with him. Go if you
wish to. You can do nothing here, but I--I cannot go."
Tarzan had now regained his feet, but the maniac still clung to
him tenaciously. The girl turned suddenly to Smith-Oldwick. "Your
pistol!" she cried. "Why don't you shoot him?"
The man drew the weapon from his pocket and approached the two
antagonists, but by this time they were moving so rapidly that there
was no opportunity for shooting one without the danger of hitting
the other. At the same time Bertha Kircher circled about them with
the prince's saber, but neither could she find an opening. Again
and again the two men fell to the floor, until presently Tarzan
found a hold upon the other's throat, against which contingency
Metak had been constantly battling, and slowly, as the giant fingers
closed, the other's mad eyes protruded from his livid face, his jaws
gaped and released their hold upon Tarzan's shoulder, and then in
a sudden excess of disgust and rage the ape-man lifted the body
of the prince high above his head and with all the strength of his
great arms hurled it across the room and through the window where
it fell with a sickening thud into the pit of lions beneath.
As Tarzan turned again toward his companions, the girl was standing
with the saber still in her hand and an expression upon her face
that he never had seen there before. Her eyes were wide and misty
with unshed tears, while her sensitive lips trembled as though she
were upon the point of giving way to some pent emotion which her
rapidly rising and falling bosom plainly indicated she was fighting
"If we are going to get out of here," said the ape-man, "we can't
lose any time. We are together at last and nothing can be gained by
delay. The question now is the safest way. The couple who escaped
us evidently departed through the passageway to the roof and secured
the trap against us so that we are cut off in that direction. What
chance have we below? You came that way," and he turned toward
"At the foot of the stairs," she said, "is a room full of armed
men. I doubt if we could pass that way."
It was then that Otobu raised himself to a sitting posture. "So
you are not dead after all," exclaimed the ape-man. "Come, how
badly are you hurt?"
The Negro rose gingerly to his feet, moved his arms and legs and
felt of his head.
"Otobu does not seem to be hurt at all, Bwana," he replied, "only
for a great ache in his head."
"Good," said the ape-man. "You want to return to the Wamabo country?"
"Then lead us from the city by the safest way."
"There is no safe way," replied the black, "and even if we reach
the gates we shall have to fight. I can lead you from this building
to a side street with little danger of meeting anyone on the way.
Beyond that we must take our chance of discovery. You are all
dressed as are the people of this wicked city so perhaps we may
pass unnoticed, but at the gate it will be a different matter, for
none is permitted to leave the city at night."
"Very well," replied the ape-man, "let us be on our way."
Otobu led them through the broken door of the outer room, and part
way down the corridor he turned into another apartment at the right.
This they crossed to a passageway beyond, and, finally, traversing
several rooms and corridors, he led them down a flight of steps
to a door which opened directly upon a side street in rear of the
Two men, a woman, and a black slave were not so extraordinary
a sight upon the streets of the city as to arouse comment. When
passing beneath the flares the three Europeans were careful to
choose a moment when no chance pedestrian might happen to get a view
of their features, but in the shadow of the arcades there seemed
little danger of detection. They had covered a good portion of the
distance to the gate without mishap when there came to their ears
from the central portion of the city sounds of a great commotion.
"What does that mean?" Tarzan asked of Otobu, who was now trembling
"Master," he replied, "they have discovered that which has happened
in the palace of Veza, mayor of the city. His son and the girl
escaped and summoned soldiers who have now doubtless discovered
the body of Veza."
"I wonder," said Tarzan, "if they have discovered the party I threw
through the window."
Bertha Kircher, who understood enough of the dialect to follow their
conversation, asked Tarzan if he knew that the man he had thrown
from the window was the king's son. The ape-man laughed. "No," he
said, "I did not. That rather complicates matters--at least if they
have found him."
Suddenly there broke above the turmoil behind them the clear strains
of a bugle. Otobu increased his pace. "Hurry, Master," he cried,
"it is worse than I had thought."
"What do you mean?" asked Tarzan.
"For some reason the king's guard and the king's lions are being
called out. I fear, O Bwana, that we cannot escape them. But why
they should be called out for us I do not know."
But if Otobu did not know, Tarzan at least guessed that they had
found the body of the king's son. Once again the notes of the bugle
rose high and clear upon the night air. "Calling more lions?" asked
"No, Master," replied Otobu. "It is the parrots they are calling."
They moved on rapidly in silence for a few minutes when their
attention was attracted by the flapping of the wings of a bird
above them. They looked up to discover a parrot circling about over
"Here are the parrots, Otobu," said Tarzan with a grin. "Do they
expect to kill us with parrots?"
The Negro moaned as the bird darted suddenly ahead of them toward
the city wall. "Now indeed are we lost, Master," cried the black.
"The bird that found us has flown to the gate to warn the guard."
"Come, Otobu, what are you talking about?" exclaimed Tarzan irritably.
"Have you lived among these lunatics so long that you are yourself
"No, Master," replied Otobu. "I am not mad. You do not know them.
These terrible birds are like human beings without hearts or souls.
They speak the language of the people of this city of Xuja. They
are demons, Master, and when in sufficient numbers they might even
attack and kill us."
"How far are we from the gate?" asked Tarzan.
"We are not very far," replied the Negro. "Beyond this next turn
we will see it a few paces ahead of us. But the bird has reached
it before us and by now they are summoning the guard," the truth
of which statement was almost immediately indicated by sounds of
many voices raised evidently in commands just ahead of them, while
from behind came increased evidence of approaching pursuit--loud
screams and the roars of lions.
A few steps ahead a narrow alley opened from the east into the
thoroughfare they were following and as they approached it there
emerged from its dark shadows the figure of a mighty lion. Otobu
halted in his tracks and shrank back against Tarzan. "Look, Master,"
he whimpered, "a great black lion of the forest!"
Tarzan drew the saber which still hung at his side. "We cannot go
back," he said. "Lions, parrots, or men, it must be all the same,"
and he moved steadily forward in the direction of the gate. What
wind was stirring in the city street moved from Tarzan toward the
lion and when the ape-man had approached to within a few yards
of the beast, who had stood silently eyeing them up to this time,
instead of the expected roar, a whine broke from the beast's throat.
The ape-man was conscious of a very decided feeling of relief. "It's
Numa of the pit," he called back to his companions, and to Otobu,
"Do not fear, this lion will not harm us."
Numa moved forward to the ape-man's side and then turning, paced
beside him along the narrow street. At the next turn they came in
sight of the gate, where, beneath several flares, they saw a group
of at least twenty warriors prepared to seize them, while from the
opposite direction the roars of the pursuing lions sounded close
upon them, mingling with the screams of numerous parrots which now
circled about their heads. Tarzan halted and turned to the young
aviator. "How many rounds of ammunition have you left?" he asked.
"I have seven in the pistol," replied Smith-Oldwick, "and perhaps
a dozen more cartridges in my blouse pocket."
"I'm going to rush them," said Tarzan. "Otobu, you stay at the side
of the woman. Oldwick, you and I will go ahead, you upon my left.
I think we need not try to tell Numa what to do," for even then
the great lion was baring his fangs and growling ferociously at the
guardsmen, who appeared uneasy in the face of this creature which,
above all others, they feared.
"As we advance, Oldwick," said the ape-man, "fire one shot. It
may frighten them, and after that fire only when necessary. All
ready? Let's go!" and he moved forward toward the gate. At the
same time, Smith-Oldwick discharged his weapon and a yellow-coated
warrior screamed and crumpled forward upon his face. For a minute
the others showed symptoms of panic but one, who seemed to be an
officer, rallied them. "Now," said Tarzan, "all together!" and he
started at a run for the gate. Simultaneously the lion, evidently
scenting the purpose of the Tarmangani, broke into a full charge
toward the guard.
Shaken by the report of the unfamiliar weapon, the ranks of the
guardsmen broke before the furious assault of the great beast.
The officer screamed forth a volley of commands in a mad fury of
uncontrolled rage but the guardsmen, obeying the first law of nature
as well as actuated by their inherent fear of the black denizen of
the forest scattered to right and left to elude the monster. With
ferocious growls Numa wheeled to the right, and with raking talons
struck right and left among a little handful of terrified guardsmen
who were endeavoring to elude him, and then Tarzan and Smith-Oldwick
closed with the others.
For a moment their most formidable antagonist was the officer in
command. He wielded his curved saber as only an adept might as he
faced Tarzan, to whom the similar weapon in his own hand was most
unfamiliar. Smith-Oldwick could not fire for fear of hitting the
ape-man when suddenly to his dismay he saw Tarzan's weapon fly from
his grasp as the Xujan warrior neatly disarmed his opponent. With
a scream the fellow raised his saber for the final cut that would
terminate the earthly career of Tarzan of the Apes when, to the
astonishment of both the ape-man and Smith-Oldwick, the fellow
stiffened rigidly, his weapon dropped from the nerveless fingers
of his upraised hand, his mad eyes rolled upward and foam flecked
his bared lip. Gasping as though in the throes of strangulation
the fellow pitched forward at Tarzan's feet.
Tarzan stooped and picked up the dead man's weapon, a smile upon
his face as he turned and glanced toward the young Englishman.
"The fellow is an epileptic," said Smith-Oldwick. "I suppose
many of them are. Their nervous condition is not without its good
points--a normal man would have gotten you."
The other guardsmen seemed utterly demoralized at the loss of their
leader. They were huddled upon the opposite side of the street at
the left of the gate, screaming at the tops of their voices and
looking in the direction from which sounds of reinforcements were
coming, as though urging on the men and lions that were already too
close for the comfort of the fugitives. Six guardsmen still stood
with their backs against the gate, their weapons flashing in the
light of the flares and their parchment-like faces distorted in
horrid grimaces of rage and terror.
Numa had pursued two fleeing warriors down the street which paralleled
the wall for a short distance at this point. The ape-man turned to
Smith-Oldwick. "You will have to use your pistol now," he said, "and
we must get by these fellows at once;" and as the young Englishman
fired, Tarzan rushed in to close quarters as though he had not
already discovered that with the saber he was no match for these
trained swordsmen. Two men fell to Smith-Oldwick's first two shots
and then he missed, while the four remaining divided, two leaping
for the aviator and two for Tarzan.
The ape-man rushed in in an effort to close with one of his
antagonists where the other's saber would be comparatively useless.
Smith-Oldwick dropped one of his assailants with a bullet through
the chest and pulled his trigger on the second, only to have the
hammer fall futilely upon an empty chamber. The cartridges in his
weapon were exhausted and the warrior with his razor-edged, gleaming
saber was upon him.
Tarzan raised his own weapon but once and that to divert a vicious
cut for his head. Then he was upon one of his assailants and
before the fellow could regain his equilibrium and leap back after
delivering his cut, the ape-man had seized him by the neck and
crotch. Tarzan's other antagonist was edging around to one side
where he might use his weapon, and as he raised the blade to strike
at the back of the Tarmangani's neck, the latter swung the body of
his comrade upward so that it received the full force of the blow.
The blade sank deep into the body of the warrior, eliciting a single
frightful scream, and then Tarzan hurled the dying man in the face
of his final adversary.
Smith-Oldwick, hard pressed and now utterly defenseless, had given
up all hope in the instant that he realized his weapon was empty,
when, from his left, a living bolt of black-maned ferocity shot
past him to the breast of his opponent. Down went the Xujan, his
face bitten away by one snap of the powerful jaws of Numa of the
In the few seconds that had been required for the consummation
of these rapidly ensuing events, Otobu had dragged Bertha Kircher
to the gate which he had unbarred and thrown open, and with the
vanquishing of the last of the active guardsmen, the party passed
out of the maniac city of Xuja into the outer darkness beyond. At
the same moment a half dozen lions rounded the last turn in the
road leading back toward the plaza, and at sight of them Numa of
the pit wheeled and charged. For a moment the lions of the city
stood their ground, but only for a moment, and then before the
black beast was upon them, they turned and fled, while Tarzan and
his party moved rapidly toward the blackness of the forest beyond
"Will they follow us out of the city?" Tarzan asked Otobu.
"Not at night," replied the black. "I have been a slave here for
five years but never have I known these people to leave the city
by night. If they go beyond the forest in the daytime they usually
wait until the dawn of another day before they return, as they fear
to pass through the country of the black lions after dark. No, I
think, Master, that they will not follow us tonight, but tomorrow
they will come, and, O Bwana, then will they surely get us, or
those that are left of us, for at least one among us must be the
toll of the black lions as we pass through their forest."
As they crossed the garden, Smith-Oldwick refilled the magazine
of his pistol and inserted a cartridge in the chamber. The girl
moved silently at Tarzan's left, between him and the aviator. Suddenly
the ape-man stopped and turned toward the city, his mighty frame,
clothed in the yellow tunic of Herog's soldiery, plainly visible
to the others beneath the light of the stars. They saw him raise
his head and they heard break from his lips the plaintive note of
a lion calling to his fellows. Smith-Oldwick felt a distinct shudder
pass through his frame, while Otobu, rolling the whites of his eyes
in terrified surprise, sank tremblingly to his knees. But the girl
thrilled and she felt her heart beat in a strange exultation, and
then she drew nearer to the beast-man until her shoulder touched his
arm. The act was involuntary and for a moment she scarce realized
what she had done, and then she stepped silently back, thankful
that the light of the stars was not sufficient to reveal to the
eyes of her companions the flush which she felt mantling her cheek.
Yet she was not ashamed of the impulse that had prompted her, but
rather of the act itself which she knew, had Tarzan noticed it,
would have been repulsive to him.
From the open gate of the city of maniacs came the answering cry
of a lion. The little group waited where they stood until presently
they saw the majestic proportions of the black lion as he approached
them along the trail. When he had rejoined them Tarzan fastened
the fingers of one hand in the black mane and started on once more
toward the forest. Behind them, from the city, rose a bedlam of
horrid sounds, the roaring of lions mingling with the raucous voices
of the screaming parrots and the mad shrieks of the maniacs. As
they entered the Stygian darkness of the forest the girl once again
involuntarily shrank closer to the ape-man, and this time Tarzan
was aware of the contact.
Himself without fear, he yet instinctively appreciated how terrified
the girl must be. Actuated by a sudden kindly impulse he found
her hand and took it in his own and thus they continued upon their
way, groping through the blackness of the trail. Twice they were
approached by forest lions, but upon both occasions the deep growls
of Numa of the pit drove off their assailants. Several times they
were compelled to rest, for Smith-Oldwick was constantly upon the
verge of exhaustion, and toward morning Tarzan was forced to carry
him on the steep ascent from the bed of the valley.
Daylight overtook them after they had entered the gorge, but, tired
as they all were with the exception of Tarzan, they realized that
they must keep on at all costs until they found a spot where they
might ascend the precipitous side of the gorge to the floor of the
plateau above. Tarzan and Otobu were both equally confident that
the Xujans would not follow them beyond the gorge, but though they
scanned every inch of the frowning cliffs upon either hand noon
came and there was still no indication of any avenue of escape
to right or left. There were places where the ape-man alone might
have negotiated the ascent but none where the others could hope
successfully to reach the plateau, nor where Tarzan, powerful and
agile as he was, could have ventured safely to carry them aloft.
For half a day the ape-man had been either carrying or supporting
Smith-Oldwick and now, to his chagrin, he saw that the girl was
faltering. He had realized well how much she had undergone and
how greatly the hardships and dangers and the fatigue of the past
weeks must have told upon her vitality. He saw how bravely she
attempted to keep up, yet how often she stumbled and staggered as
she labored through the sand and gravel of the gorge. Nor could
he help but admire her fortitude and the uncomplaining effort she
was making to push on.
The Englishman must have noticed her condition too, for some time
after noon, he stopped suddenly and sat down in the sand. "It's
no use," he said to Tarzan. "I can go no farther. Miss Kircher is
rapidly weakening. You will have to go on without me."
"No," said the girl, "we cannot do that. We have all been through
so much together and the chances of our escape are still so remote
that whatever comes, let us remain together, unless," and she looked
up at Tarzan, "you, who have done so much for us to whom you are
under no obligations, will go on without us. I for one wish that
you would. It must be as evident to you as it is to me that you
cannot save us, for though you succeeded in dragging us from the
path of our pursuers, even your great strength and endurance could
never take one of us across the desert waste which lies between
here and the nearest fertile country."
The ape-man returned her serious look with a smile. "You are
not dead," he said to her, "nor is the lieutenant, nor Otobu, nor
myself. One is either dead or alive, and until we are dead we should
plan only upon continuing to live. Because we remain here and rest
is no indication that we shall die here. I cannot carry you both
to the country of the Wamabos, which is the nearest spot at which
we may expect to find game and water, but we shall not give up on
that account. So far we have found a way. Let us take things as
they come. Let us rest now because you and Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick
need the rest, and when you are stronger we will go on again."
"But the Xujans--?" she asked, "may they not follow us here?"
"Yes," he said, "they probably will. But we need not be concerned
with them until they come."
"I wish," said the girl, "that I possessed your philosophy but I
am afraid it is beyond me."
"You were not born and reared in the jungle by wild beasts and
among wild beasts, or you would possess, as I do, the fatalism of
And so they moved to the side of the gorge beneath the shade of an
overhanging rock and lay down in the hot sand to rest. Numa wandered
restlessly to and fro and finally, after sprawling for a moment
close beside the ape-man, rose and moved off up the gorge to be
lost to view a moment later beyond the nearest turn.
For an hour the little party rested and then Tarzan suddenly
rose and, motioning the others to silence, listened. For a minute
he stood motionless, his keen ears acutely receptive to sounds so
faint and distant that none of the other three could detect the
slightest break in the utter and deathlike quiet of the gorge.
Finally the ape-man relaxed and turned toward them. "What is it?"
asked the girl.
"They are coming," he replied. "They are yet some distance away,
though not far, for the sandaled feet of the men and the pads of
the lions make little noise upon the soft sands."
"What shall we do--try to go on?" asked Smith-Oldwick. "I believe
I could make a go of it now for a short way. I am much rested. How
about you Miss Kircher?"
"Oh, yes," she said, "I am much stronger. Yes, surely I can go on."
Tarzan knew that neither of them quite spoke the truth, that people
do not recover so quickly from utter exhaustion, but he saw no
other way and there was always the hope that just beyond the next
turn would be a way out of the gorge.
"You help the lieutenant, Otobu," he said, turning to the black,
"and I will carry Miss Kircher," and though the girl objected,
saying that he must not waste his strength, he lifted her lightly
in his arms and moved off up the canyon, followed by Otobu and
the Englishman. They had gone no great distance when the others of
the party became aware of the sounds of pursuit, for now the lions
were whining as though the fresh scent spoor of their quarry had
reached their nostrils.
"I wish that your Numa would return," said the girl.
"Yes," said Tarzan, "but we shall have to do the best we can
without him. I should like to find some place where we can barricade
ourselves against attack from all sides. Possibly then we might
hold them off. Smith-Oldwick is a good shot and if there are not
too many men he might be able to dispose of them provided they can
only come at him one at a time. The lions don't bother me so much.
Sometimes they are stupid animals, and I am sure that these that
pursue us, and who are so dependent upon the masters that have
raised and trained them, will be easily handled after the warriors
are disposed of."
"You think there is some hope, then?" she asked.
"We are still alive," was his only answer.
"There," he said presently, "I thought I recalled this very spot."
He pointed toward a fragment that had evidently fallen from the
summit of the cliff and which now lay imbedded in the sand a few
feet from the base. It was a jagged fragment of rock which rose some
ten feet above the surface of the sand, leaving a narrow aperture
between it and the cliff behind. Toward this they directed their
steps and when finally they reached their goal they found a space
about two feet wide and ten feet long between the rock and the
cliff. To be sure it was open at both ends but at least they could
not be attacked upon all sides at once.
They had scarcely concealed themselves before Tarzan's quick ears
caught a sound upon the face of the cliff above them, and looking
up he saw a diminutive monkey perched upon a slight projection--an
ugly-faced little monkey who looked down upon them for a moment and
then scampered away toward the south in the direction from which
their pursuers were coming. Otobu had seen the monkey too. "He will
tell the parrots," said the black, "and the parrots will tell the
"It is all the same," replied Tarzan; "the lions would have found
us here. We could not hope to hide from them."
He placed Smith-Oldwick, with his pistol, at the north opening of
their haven and told Otobu to stand with his spear at the Englishman's
shoulder, while he himself prepared to guard the southern approach.
Between them he had the girl lie down in the sand. "You will be
safe there in the event that they use their spears," he said.
The minutes that dragged by seemed veritable eternities to Bertha
Kircher and then at last, and almost with relief, she knew that the
pursuers were upon them. She heard the angry roaring of the lions
and the cries of the madmen. For several minutes the men seemed to
be investigating the stronghold which their quarry had discovered.
She could hear them both to the north and south and then from
where she lay she saw a lion charging for the ape-man before her.
She saw the giant arm swing back with the curved saber and she
saw it fall with terrific velocity and meet the lion as he rose to
grapple with the man, cleaving his skull as cleanly as a butcher
opens up a sheep.
Then she heard footsteps running rapidly toward Smith-Oldwick and,
as his pistol spoke, there was a scream and the sound of a falling
body. Evidently disheartened by the failure of their first attempt
the assaulters drew off, but only for a short time. Again they came,
this time a man opposing Tarzan and a lion seeking to overcome
Smith-Oldwick. Tarzan had cautioned the young Englishman not
to waste his cartridges upon the lions and it was Otobu with the
Xujan spear who met the beast, which was not subdued until both
he and Smith-Oldwick had been mauled, and the latter had succeeded
in running the point of the saber the girl had carried, into the
beast's heart. The man who opposed Tarzan inadvertently came too
close in an attempt to cut at the ape-man's head, with the result
that an instant later his corpse lay with the neck broken upon the
body of the lion.
Once again the enemy withdrew, but again only for a short time,
and now they came in full force, the lions and the men, possibly
a half dozen of each, the men casting their spears and the lions
waiting just behind, evidently for the signal to charge.
"Is this the end?" asked the girl.
"No," cried the ape-man, "for we still live!"
The words had scarcely passed his lips when the remaining warriors,
rushing in, cast their spears simultaneously from both sides. In
attempting to shield the girl, Tarzan received one of the shafts
in the shoulder, and so heavily had the weapon been hurled that it
bore him backward to the ground. Smith-Oldwick fired his pistol
twice when he too was struck down, the weapon entering his right
leg midway between hip and knee. Only Otobu remained to face the
enemy, for the Englishman, already weak from his wounds and from
the latest mauling he had received at the claws of the lion, had
lost consciousness as he sank to the ground with this new hurt.
As he fell his pistol dropped from his fingers, and the girl, seeing,
snatched it up. As Tarzan struggled to rise, one of the warriors
leaped full upon his breast and bore him back as, with fiendish
shrieks, he raised the point of his saber above the other's heart.
Before he could drive it home the girl leveled Smith-Oldwick's
pistol and fired point-blank at the fiend's face.
Simultaneously there broke upon the astonished ears of both attackers
and attacked a volley of shots from the gorge. With the sweetness
of the voice of an angel from heaven the Europeans heard the
sharp-barked commands of an English noncom. Even above the roars
of the lions and the screams of the maniacs, those beloved tones
reached the ears of Tarzan and the girl at the very moment that
even the ape-man had given up the last vestige of hope.
Rolling the body of the warrior to one side Tarzan struggled to
his feet, the spear still protruding from his shoulder. The girl
rose too, and as Tarzan wrenched the weapon from his flesh and stepped
out from behind the concealment of their refuge, she followed at
his side. The skirmish that had resulted in their rescue was soon
over. Most of the lions escaped but all of the pursuing Xujans
had been slain. As Tarzan and the girl came into full view of the
group, a British Tommy leveled his rifle at the ape-man. Seeing the
fellow's actions and realizing instantly the natural error that
Tarzan's yellow tunic had occasioned the girl sprang between him
and the soldier. "Don't shoot," she cried to the latter, "we are
"Hold up your hands, you, then," he commanded Tarzan. "I ain't
taking no chances with any duffer with a yellow shirt."
At this juncture the British sergeant who had been in command of
the advance guard approached and when Tarzan and the girl spoke
to him in English, explaining their disguises, he accepted their
word, since they were evidently not of the same race as the creatures
which lay dead about them. Ten minutes later the main body of the
expedition came into view. Smith-Oldwick's wounds were dressed,
as well as were those of the ape-man, and in half an hour they were
on their way to the camp of their rescuers.
That night it was arranged that the following day Smith-Oldwick and
Bertha Kircher should be transported to British headquarters near
the coast by aeroplane, the two planes attached to the expeditionary
force being requisitioned for the purpose. Tarzan and Otobu declined
the offers of the British captain to accompany his force overland
on the return march as Tarzan explained that his country lay to
the west, as did Otobu's, and that they would travel together as
far as the country of the Wamabos.
"You are not going back with us, then?" asked the girl.
"No," replied the ape-man. "My home is upon the west coast. I will
continue my journey in that direction."
She cast appealing eyes toward him. "You will go back into that
terrible jungle?" she asked. "We shall never see you again?"
He looked at her a moment in silence. "Never," he said, and without
another word turned and walked away.
In the morning Colonel Capell came from the base camp in one of the
planes that was to carry Smith-Oldwick and the girl to the east.
Tarzan was standing some distance away as the ship landed and
the officer descended to the ground. He saw the colonel greet his
junior in command of the advance detachment, and then he saw him
turn toward Bertha Kircher who was standing a few paces behind the
captain. Tarzan wondered how the German spy felt in this situation,
especially when she must know that there was one there who knew her
real status. He saw Colonel Capell walk toward her with outstretched
hands and smiling face and, although he could not hear the words of
his greeting, he saw that it was friendly and cordial to a degree.
Tarzan turned away scowling, and if any had been close by they
might have heard a low growl rumble from his chest. He knew that
his country was at war with Germany and that not only his duty to
the land of his fathers, but also his personal grievance against
the enemy people and his hatred of them, demanded that he expose
the girl's perfidy, and yet he hesitated, and because he hesitated
he growled--not at the German spy but at himself for his weakness.
He did not see her again before she entered a plane and was borne
away toward the east. He bid farewell to Smith-Oldwick and received
again the oft-repeated thanks of the young Englishman. And then
he saw him too borne aloft in the high circling plane and watched
until the ship became a speck far above the eastern horizon to
disappear at last high in air.
The Tommies, their packs and accouterments slung, were waiting the
summons to continue their return march. Colonel Capell had, through
a desire to personally observe the stretch of country between the
camp of the advance detachment and the base, decided to march back
his troops. Now that all was in readiness for departure he turned to
Tarzan. "I wish you would come back with us, Greystoke," he said,
"and if my appeal carries no inducement possibly that of Smith-Oldwick
'and the young lady who just left us may. They asked me to urge
you to return to civilization."
"No;" said Tarzan, "I shall go my own way. Miss Kircher and
Lieutenant Smith-Oldwick were only prompted by a sense of gratitude
in considering my welfare."
"Miss Kircher?" exclaimed Capell and then he laughed, "You know
her then as Bertha Kircher, the German spy?"
Tarzan looked at the other a moment in silence. It was beyond him
to conceive that a British officer should thus laconically speak
of an enemy spy whom he had had within his power and permitted to
escape. "Yes," he replied, "I knew that she was Bertha Kircher,
the German spy?"
"Is that all you knew?" asked Capell.
"That is all," said the ape-man.
"She is the Honorable Patricia Canby," said Capell, "one of the
most valuable members of the British Intelligence Service attached
to the East African forces. Her father and I served in India together
and I have known her ever since she was born.
"Why, here's a packet of papers she took from a German officer and
has been carrying it through all her vicissitudes-single-minded
in the performance of her duty. Look! I haven't yet had time to
examine them but as you see here is a military sketch map, a bundle
of reports, and the diary of one Hauptmann Fritz Schneider."
"The diary of Hauptmann Fritz Schneider!" repeated Tarzan in a
constrained voice. "May I see it, Capell? He is the man who murdered
The Englishman handed the little volume over to the other without
a word. Tarzan ran through the pages quickly looking for a certain
date--the date that the horror had been committed--and when he found
it he read rapidly. Suddenly a gasp of incredulity burst from his
lips. Capell looked at him questioningly.
"God!" exclaimed the ape-man. "Can this be true? Listen!" and he
read an excerpt from the closely written page:
"'Played a little joke on the English pig. When he comes home he
will find the burned body of his wife in her boudoir-but he will
only think it is his wife. Had von Goss substitute the body of a
dead Negress and char it after putting Lady Greystoke's rings on
it--Lady G will be of more value to the High Command alive than
"She lives!" cried Tarzan.
"Thank God!" exclaimed Capell. "And now?"
"I will return with you, of course. How terribly I have wronged
Miss Canby, but how could I know? I even told Smith-Oldwick, who
loves her, that she was a German spy.
"Not only must I return to find my wife but I must right this
"Don't worry about that," said Capell, "she must have convinced him
that she is no enemy spy, for just before they left this morning
he told me she had promised to marry him."
Note: I have made the following changes to the text:
PAGE LINE ORIGINAL CHANGED TO
25 10 noislessly noiselessly
40 34 hole bole
41 45 later latter
53 43 but "but
66 19 half-smiled half-smile
69 45 to many too many
75 16 fine find
81 3 forth fourth
86 14 hoplessly hopelessly
86 42 interferred interfered
93 15 born borne
101 40 Englishman Englishmen
108 16 divertisements divertissements
110 29 asid said
127 14 apppreciate appreciate
128 45 fuseluge fuselage
138 25 as the at the
142 34 girls' girl's
146 44 sourroundings, surroundings,
148 30 spirit on spirit of
149 33 upon upon.
153 3 immediately immediate
153 39 nothwithstanding notwithstanding
159 43 "The The
163 45 known know
171 8 one the on the
172 8 sandled sandaled
175 2 junlgle jungle
181 46 swifty swiftly
189 23 not, not.
198 45 "Come," Come,"
219 1 still sill
225 21 sigh or sigh of
227 20 occasionaly occasionally
228 5 gazing grazing
234 24 prisoners. prisoners.
237 11 qiuckly quickly
237 16 opproached approached
243 16 is his in his
244 32 second seconds
I have also omitted the page-wide line beneath each chapter