Part 3 out of 4
As there was to be a dance that night in honour of a band of recently
returned hunters, Tarzan was left alone in the hut, the young men,
as M'ganwazam explained, having to take part in the festivities.
As soon as the ape-man was safely installed in the trap, M'Ganwazam
called about him the young warriors whom he had selected to spend
the night with the white devil!
None of them was overly enthusiastic about the plan, since deep in
their superstitious hearts lay an exaggerated fear of the strange
white giant; but the word of M'ganwazam was law among his people,
so not one dared refuse the duty he was called upon to perform.
As M'ganwazam unfolded his plan in whispers to the savages squatting
about him the old, toothless hag, to whom Tarzan had saved her hut
for the night, hovered about the conspirators ostensibly to replenish
the supply of firewood for the blaze about which the men sat, but
really to drink in as much of their conversation as possible.
Tarzan had slept for perhaps an hour or two despite the savage
din of the revellers when his keen senses came suddenly alert to
a suspiciously stealthy movement in the hut in which he lay. The
fire had died down to a little heap of glowing embers, which
accentuated rather than relieved the darkness that shrouded the
interior of the evil-smelling dwelling, yet the trained senses of
the ape-man warned him of another presence creeping almost silently
toward him through the gloom.
He doubted that it was one of his hut mates returning from the
festivities, for he still heard the wild cries of the dancers and
the din of the tom-toms in the village street without. Who could
it be that took such pains to conceal his approach?
As the presence came within reach of him the ape-man bounded
lightly to the opposite side of the hut, his spear poised ready at
"Who is it," he asked, "that creeps upon Tarzan of the Apes, like
a hungry lion out of the darkness?"
"Silence, bwana!" replied an old cracked voice. "It is Tambudza--she
whose hut you would not take, and thus drive an old woman out into
the cold night."
"What does Tambudza want of Tarzan of the Apes?" asked the ape-man.
"You were kind to me to whom none is now kind, and I have come to
warn you in payment of your kindness," answered the old hag.
"Warn me of what?"
"M'ganwazam has chosen the young men who are to sleep in the hut
with you," replied Tambudza. "I was near as he talked with them,
and heard him issuing his instructions to them. When the dance
is run well into the morning they are to come to the hut.
"If you are awake they are to pretend that they have come to sleep,
but if you sleep it is M'ganwazam's command that you be killed.
If you are not then asleep they will wait quietly beside you until
you do sleep, and then they will all fall upon you together and
slay you. M'ganwazam is determined to win the reward the white
man has offered."
"I had forgotten the reward," said Tarzan, half to himself, and
then he added, "How may M'ganwazam hope to collect the reward now
that the white men who are my enemies have left his country and
gone he knows not where?"
"Oh, they have not gone far," replied Tambudza. "M'ganwazam knows
where they camp. His runners could quickly overtake them--they
"Where are they?" asked Tarzan.
"Do you wish to come to them?" asked Tambudza in way of reply.
"I cannot tell you where they lie so that you could come to the
place yourself, but I could lead you to them, bwana."
In their interest in the conversation neither of the speakers had
noticed the little figure which crept into the darkness of the
hut behind them, nor did they see it when it slunk noiselessly out
It was little Buulaoo, the chief's son by one of his younger
wives--a vindictive, degenerate little rascal who hated Tambudza,
and was ever seeking opportunities to spy upon her and report her
slightest breach of custom to his father.
"Come, then," said Tarzan quickly, "let us be on our way."
This Buulaoo did not hear, for he was already legging it up the
village street to where his hideous sire guzzled native beer, and
watched the evolutions of the frantic dancers leaping high in the
air and cavorting wildly in their hysterical capers.
So it happened that as Tarzan and Tambudza sneaked warily from the
village and melted into the Stygian darkness of the jungle two lithe
runners took their way in the same direction, though by another
When they had come sufficiently far from the village to make it
safe for them to speak above a whisper, Tarzan asked the old woman
if she had seen aught of a white woman and a little child.
"Yes, bwana," replied Tambudza, "there was a woman with them and
a little child--a little white piccaninny. It died here in our
village of the fever and they buried it!"
A Black Scoundrel
When Jane Clayton regained consciousness she saw Anderssen standing
over her, holding the baby in his arms. As her eyes rested upon
them an expression of misery and horror overspread her countenance.
"What is the matter?" he asked. "You ban sick?"
"Where is my baby?" she cried, ignoring his questions.
Anderssen held out the chubby infant, but she shook her head.
"It is not mine," she said. "You knew that it was not mine. You
are a devil like the Russian."
Anderssen's blue eyes stretched in surprise.
"Not yours!" he exclaimed. "You tole me the kid aboard the Kincaid
ban your kid."
"Not this one," replied Jane dully. "The other. Where is the
other? There must have been two. I did not know about this one."
"There vasn't no other kid. Ay tank this ban yours. Ay am very
Anderssen fidgeted about, standing first on one foot and then upon
the other. It was perfectly evident to Jane that he was honest in
his protestations of ignorance of the true identity of the child.
Presently the baby commenced to crow, and bounce up and down in the
Swede's arms, at the same time leaning forward with little hands
out-reaching toward the young woman.
She could not withstand the appeal, and with a low cry she sprang
to her feet and gathered the baby to her breast.
For a few minutes she wept silently, her face buried in the baby's
soiled little dress. The first shock of disappointment that the
tiny thing had not been her beloved Jack was giving way to a great
hope that after all some miracle had occurred to snatch her baby
from Rokoff's hands at the last instant before the Kincaid sailed
Then, too, there was the mute appeal of this wee waif alone and
unloved in the midst of the horrors of the savage jungle. It was
this thought more than any other that had sent her mother's heart
out to the innocent babe, while still she suffered from disappointment
that she had been deceived in its identity.
"Have you no idea whose child this is?" she asked Anderssen.
The man shook his head.
"Not now," he said. "If he ain't ban your kid, Ay don' know whose
kid he do ban. Rokoff said it was yours. Ay tank he tank so, too.
"What do we do with it now? Ay can't go back to the Kincaid. Rokoff
would have me shot; but you can go back. Ay take you to the sea,
and then some of these black men they take you to the ship--eh?"
"No! no!" cried Jane. "Not for the world. I would rather die than
fall into the hands of that man again. No, let us go on and take
this poor little creature with us. If God is willing we shall be
saved in one way or another."
So they again took up their flight through the wilderness, taking
with them a half-dozen of the Mosulas to carry provisions and the
tents that Anderssen had smuggled aboard the small boat in preparation
for the attempted escape.
The days and nights of torture that the young woman suffered were
so merged into one long, unbroken nightmare of hideousness that
she soon lost all track of time. Whether they had been wandering
for days or years she could not tell. The one bright spot in
that eternity of fear and suffering was the little child whose tiny
hands had long since fastened their softly groping fingers firmly
about her heart.
In a way the little thing took the place and filled the aching
void that the theft of her own baby had left. It could never be
the same, of course, but yet, day by day, she found her mother-love,
enveloping the waif more closely until she sometimes sat with
closed eyes lost in the sweet imagining that the little bundle of
humanity at her breast was truly her own.
For some time their progress inland was extremely slow. Word came
to them from time to time through natives passing from the coast
on hunting excursions that Rokoff had not yet guessed the direction
of their flight. This, and the desire to make the journey as light
as possible for the gently bred woman, kept Anderssen to a slow
advance of short and easy marches with many rests.
The Swede insisted upon carrying the child while they travelled,
and in countless other ways did what he could to help Jane Clayton
conserve her strength. He had been terribly chagrined on discovering
the mistake he had made in the identity of the baby, but once the
young woman became convinced that his motives were truly chivalrous
she would not permit him longer to upbraid himself for the error
that he could not by any means have avoided.
At the close of each day's march Anderssen saw to the erection of
a comfortable shelter for Jane and the child. Her tent was always
pitched in the most favourable location. The thorn boma round
it was the strongest and most impregnable that the Mosula could
Her food was the best that their limited stores and the rifle of
the Swede could provide, but the thing that touched her heart the
closest was the gentle consideration and courtesy which the man
always accorded her.
That such nobility of character could lie beneath so repulsive an
exterior never ceased to be a source of wonder and amazement to
her, until at last the innate chivalry of the man, and his unfailing
kindliness and sympathy transformed his appearance in so far as
Jane was concerned until she saw only the sweetness of his character
mirrored in his countenance.
They had commenced to make a little better progress when word
reached them that Rokoff was but a few marches behind them, and
that he had at last discovered the direction of their flight. It
was then that Anderssen took to the river, purchasing a canoe from
a chief whose village lay a short distance from the Ugambi upon
the bank of a tributary.
Thereafter the little party of fugitives fled up the broad Ugambi,
and so rapid had their flight become that they no longer received
word of their pursuers. At the end of canoe navigation upon the
river, they abandoned their canoe and took to the jungle. Here
progress became at once arduous, slow, and dangerous.
The second day after leaving the Ugambi the baby fell ill with fever.
Anderssen knew what the outcome must be, but he had not the heart
to tell Jane Clayton the truth, for he had seen that the young
woman had come to love the child almost as passionately as though
it had been her own flesh and blood.
As the baby's condition precluded farther advance, Anderssen withdrew
a little from the main trail he had been following and built a camp
in a natural clearing on the bank of a little river.
Here Jane devoted her every moment to caring for the tiny sufferer,
and as though her sorrow and anxiety were not all that she could
bear, a further blow came with the sudden announcement of one of
the Mosula porters who had been foraging in the jungle adjacent
that Rokoff and his party were camped quite close to them, and
were evidently upon their trail to this little nook which all had
thought so excellent a hiding-place.
This information could mean but one thing, and that they must break
camp and fly onward regardless of the baby's condition. Jane
Clayton knew the traits of the Russian well enough to be positive
that he would separate her from the child the moment that he recaptured
them, and she knew that separation would mean the immediate death
of the baby.
As they stumbled forward through the tangled vegetation along an
old and almost overgrown game trail the Mosula porters deserted
them one by one.
The men had been staunch enough in their devotion and loyalty as
long as they were in no danger of being overtaken by the Russian
and his party. They had heard, however, so much of the atrocious
disposition of Rokoff that they had grown to hold him in mortal
terror, and now that they knew he was close upon them their timid
hearts would fortify them no longer, and as quickly as possible
they deserted the three whites.
Yet on and on went Anderssen and the girl. The Swede went ahead,
to hew a way through the brush where the path was entirely overgrown,
so that on this march it was necessary that the young woman carry
All day they marched. Late in the afternoon they realized that
they had failed. Close behind them they heard the noise of a large
safari advancing along the trail which they had cleared for their
When it became quite evident that they must be overtaken in a short
time Anderssen hid Jane behind a large tree, covering her and the
child with brush.
"There is a village about a mile farther on," he said to her. "The
Mosula told me its location before they deserted us. Ay try to
lead the Russian off your trail, then you go on to the village.
Ay tank the chief ban friendly to white men--the Mosula tal me he
ban. Anyhow, that was all we can do.
"After while you get chief to tak you down by the Mosula village
at the sea again, an' after a while a ship is sure to put into the
mouth of the Ugambi. Then you be all right. Gude-by an' gude luck
to you, lady!"
"But where are you going, Sven?" asked Jane. "Why can't you hide
here and go back to the sea with me?"
"Ay gotta tal the Russian you ban dead, so that he don't luke for
you no more," and Anderssen grinned.
"Why can't you join me then after you have told him that?" insisted
Anderssen shook his head.
"Ay don't tank Ay join anybody any more after Ay tal the Russian
you ban dead," he said.
"You don't mean that you think he will kill you?" asked Jane, and
yet in her heart she knew that that was exactly what the great
scoundrel would do in revenge for his having been thwarted by the
Swede. Anderssen did not reply, other than to warn her to silence
and point toward the path along which they had just come.
"I don't care," whispered Jane Clayton. "I shall not let you die
to save me if I can prevent it in any way. Give me your revolver.
I can use that, and together we may be able to hold them off until
we can find some means of escape."
"It won't work, lady," replied Anderssen. "They would only get us
both, and then Ay couldn't do you no good at all. Think of the
kid, lady, and what it would be for you both to fall into Rokoff's
hands again. For his sake you must do what Ay say. Here, take my
rifle and ammunition; you may need them."
He shoved the gun and bandoleer into the shelter beside Jane. Then
he was gone.
She watched him as he returned along the path to meet the oncoming
safari of the Russian. Soon a turn in the trail hid him from view.
Her first impulse was to follow. With the rifle she might be of
assistance to him, and, further, she could not bear the terrible
thought of being left alone at the mercy of the fearful jungle
without a single friend to aid her.
She started to crawl from her shelter with the intention of running
after Anderssen as fast as she could. As she drew the baby close
to her she glanced down into its little face.
How red it was! How unnatural the little thing looked. She raised
the cheek to hers. It was fiery hot with fever!
With a little gasp of terror Jane Clayton rose to her feet in the
jungle path. The rifle and bandoleer lay forgotten in the shelter
beside her. Anderssen was forgotten, and Rokoff, and her great
All that rioted through her fear-mad brain was the fearful fact
that this little, helpless child was stricken with the terrible
jungle-fever, and that she was helpless to do aught to allay its
sufferings--sufferings that were sure to coming during ensuing
intervals of partial consciousness.
Her one thought was to find some one who could help her--some
woman who had had children of her own--and with the thought came
recollection of the friendly village of which Anderssen had spoken.
If she could but reach it--in time!
There was no time to be lost. Like a startled antelope she turned
and fled up the trail in the direction Anderssen had indicated.
From far behind came the sudden shouting of men, the sound of shots,
and then silence. She knew that Anderssen had met the Russian.
A half-hour later she stumbled, exhausted, into a little thatched
village. Instantly she was surrounded by men, women, and children.
Eager, curious, excited natives plied her with a hundred questions,
no one of which she could understand or answer.
All that she could do was to point tearfully at the baby, now wailing
piteously in her arms, and repeat over and over, "Fever--fever--fever."
The blacks did not understand her words, but they saw the cause of
her trouble, and soon a young woman had pulled her into a hut and
with several others was doing her poor best to quiet the child and
allay its agony.
The witch doctor came and built a little fire before the infant,
upon which he boiled some strange concoction in a small earthen
pot, making weird passes above it and mumbling strange, monotonous
chants. Presently he dipped a zebra's tail into the brew, and
with further mutterings and incantations sprinkled a few drops of
the liquid over the baby's face.
After he had gone the women sat about and moaned and wailed until
Jane thought that she should go mad; but, knowing that they were
doing it all out of the kindness of their hearts, she endured the
frightful waking nightmare of those awful hours in dumb and patient
It must have been well toward midnight that she became conscious
of a sudden commotion in the village. She heard the voices of the
natives raised in controversy, but she could not understand the
Presently she heard footsteps approaching the hut in which she
squatted before a bright fire with the baby on her lap. The little
thing lay very still now, its lids, half-raised, showed the pupils
Jane Clayton looked into the little face with fear-haunted eyes.
It was not her baby--not her flesh and blood--but how close, how
dear the tiny, helpless thing had become to her. Her heart, bereft
of its own, had gone out to this poor, little, nameless waif, and
lavished upon it all the love that had been denied her during the
long, bitter weeks of her captivity aboard the Kincaid.
She saw that the end was near, and though she was terrified
at contemplation of her loss, still she hoped that it would come
quickly now and end the sufferings of the little victim.
The footsteps she had heard without the hut now halted before the
door. There was a whispered colloquy, and a moment later M'ganwazam,
chief of the tribe, entered. She had seen but little of him, as
the women had taken her in hand almost as soon as she had entered
M'ganwazam, she now saw, was an evil-appearing savage with every
mark of brutal degeneracy writ large upon his bestial countenance.
To Jane Clayton he looked more gorilla than human. He tried to
converse with her, but without success, and finally he called to
some one without.
In answer to his summons another Negro entered--a man of very
different appearance from M'ganwazam--so different, in fact, that
Jane Clayton immediately decided that he was of another tribe.
This man acted as interpreter, and almost from the first question
that M'ganwazam put to her, Jane felt an intuitive conviction that
the savage was attempting to draw information from her for some
She thought it strange that the fellow should so suddenly have
become interested in her plans, and especially in her intended
destination when her journey had been interrupted at his village.
Seeing no reason for withholding the information, she told him the
truth; but when he asked if she expected to meet her husband at
the end of the trip, she shook her head negatively.
Then he told her the purpose of his visit, talking through the
"I have just learned," he said, "from some men who live by the side
of the great water, that your husband followed you up the Ugambi
for several marches, when he was at last set upon by natives and
killed. Therefore I have told you this that you might not waste
your time in a long journey if you expected to meet your husband
at the end of it; but instead could turn and retrace your steps to
Jane thanked M'ganwazam for his kindness, though her heart was
numb with suffering at this new blow. She who had suffered so much
was at last beyond reach of the keenest of misery's pangs, for her
senses were numbed and calloused.
With bowed head she sat staring with unseeing eyes upon the face
of the baby in her lap. M'ganwazam had left the hut. Sometime
later she heard a noise at the entrance--another had entered. One
of the women sitting opposite her threw a faggot upon the dying
embers of the fire between them.
With a sudden flare it burst into renewed flame, lighting up the
hut's interior as though by magic.
The flame disclosed to Jane Clayton's horrified gaze that the baby
was quite dead. How long it had been so she could not guess.
A choking lump rose to her throat, her head drooped in silent misery
upon the little bundle that she had caught suddenly to her breast.
For a moment the silence of the hut was unbroken. Then the native
woman broke into a hideous wail.
A man coughed close before Jane Clayton and spoke her name.
With a start she raised her eyes to look into the sardonic countenance
of Nikolas Rokoff.
For a moment Rokoff stood sneering down upon Jane Clayton, then
his eyes fell to the little bundle in her lap. Jane had drawn one
corner of the blanket over the child's face, so that to one who
did not know the truth it seemed but to be sleeping.
"You have gone to a great deal of unnecessary trouble," said Rokoff,
"to bring the child to this village. If you had attended to your
own affairs I should have brought it here myself.
"You would have been spared the dangers and fatigue of the journey.
But I suppose I must thank you for relieving me of the inconvenience
of having to care for a young infant on the march.
"This is the village to which the child was destined from the first.
M'ganwazam will rear him carefully, making a good cannibal of him,
and if you ever chance to return to civilization it will doubtless
afford you much food for thought as you compare the luxuries and
comforts of your life with the details of the life your son is
living in the village of the Waganwazam.
"Again I thank you for bringing him here for me, and now I must ask
you to surrender him to me, that I may turn him over to his foster
parents." As he concluded Rokoff held out his hands for the child,
a nasty grin of vindictiveness upon his lips.
To his surprise Jane Clayton rose and, without a word of protest,
laid the little bundle in his arms.
"Here is the child," she said. "Thank God he is beyond your power
Grasping the import of her words, Rokoff snatched the blanket from
the child's face to seek confirmation of his fears. Jane Clayton
watched his expression closely.
She had been puzzled for days for an answer to the question of
Rokoff's knowledge of the child's identity. If she had been in
doubt before the last shred of that doubt was wiped away as she
witnessed the terrible anger of the Russian as he looked upon the
dead face of the baby and realized that at the last moment his
dearest wish for vengeance had been thwarted by a higher power.
Almost throwing the body of the child back into Jane Clayton's
arms, Rokoff stamped up and down the hut, pounding the air with his
clenched fists and cursing terribly. At last he halted in front
of the young woman, bringing his face down close to hers.
"You are laughing at me," he shrieked. "You think that you have
beaten me--eh? I'll show you, as I have shown the miserable ape
you call `husband,' what it means to interfere with the plans of
"You have robbed me of the child. I cannot make him the son of
a cannibal chief, but"--and he paused as though to let the full
meaning of his threat sink deep--"I can make the mother the wife
of a cannibal, and that I shall do--after I have finished with her
If he had thought to wring from Jane Clayton any sign of terror he
failed miserably. She was beyond that. Her brain and nerves were
numb to suffering and shock.
To his surprise a faint, almost happy smile touched her lips. She
was thinking with thankful heart that this poor little corpse was
not that of her own wee Jack, and that--best of all--Rokoff evidently
did not know the truth.
She would have liked to have flaunted the fact in his face, but
she dared not. If he continued to believe that the child had been
hers, so much safer would be the real Jack wherever he might be.
She had, of course, no knowledge of the whereabouts of her little
son--she did not know, even, that he still lived, and yet there
was the chance that he might.
It was more than possible that without Rokoff's knowledge this child
had been substituted for hers by one of the Russian's confederates,
and that even now her son might be safe with friends in London,
where there were many, both able and willing, to have paid any
ransom which the traitorous conspirator might have asked for the
safe release of Lord Greystoke's son.
She had thought it all out a hundred times since she had discovered
that the baby which Anderssen had placed in her arms that night upon
the Kincaid was not her own, and it had been a constant and gnawing
source of happiness to her to dream the whole fantasy through in
its every detail.
No, the Russian must never know that this was not her baby. She
realized that her position was hopeless--with Anderssen and her
husband dead there was no one in all the world with a desire to
succour her who knew where she might be found.
Rokoff's threat, she realized, was no idle one. That he would
do, or attempt to do, all that he had promised, she was perfectly
sure; but at the worst it meant but a little earlier release from
the hideous anguish that she had been enduring. She must find some
way to take her own life before the Russian could harm her further.
Just now she wanted time--time to think and prepare herself for the
end. She felt that she could not take the last, awful step until
she had exhausted every possibility of escape. She did not care
to live unless she might find her way back to her own child, but
slight as such a hope appeared she would not admit its impossibility
until the last moment had come, and she faced the fearful reality
of choosing between the final alternatives--Nikolas Rokoff on one
hand and self-destruction upon the other.
"Go away!" she said to the Russian. "Go away and leave me in peace
with my dead. Have you not brought sufficient misery and anguish
upon me without attempting to harm me further? What wrong have I
ever done you that you should persist in persecuting me?"
"You are suffering for the sins of the monkey you chose when you
might have had the love of a gentleman--of Nikolas Rokoff," he
replied. "But where is the use in discussing the matter? We shall
bury the child here, and you will return with me at once to my own
camp. Tomorrow I shall bring you back and turn you over to your
new husband--the lovely M'ganwazam. Come!"
He reached out for the child. Jane, who was on her feet now, turned
away from him.
"I shall bury the body," she said. "Send some men to dig a grave
outside the village."
Rokoff was anxious to have the thing over and get back to his camp
with his victim. He thought he saw in her apathy a resignation
to her fate. Stepping outside the hut, he motioned her to follow
him, and a moment later, with his men, he escorted Jane beyond the
village, where beneath a great tree the blacks scooped a shallow
Wrapping the tiny body in a blanket, Jane laid it tenderly in the
black hole, and, turning her head that she might not see the mouldy
earth falling upon the pitiful little bundle, she breathed a prayer
beside the grave of the nameless waif that had won its way to the
innermost recesses of her heart.
Then, dry-eyed but suffering, she rose and followed the Russian
through the Stygian blackness of the jungle, along the winding,
leafy corridor that led from the village of M'ganwazam, the black
cannibal, to the camp of Nikolas Rokoff, the white fiend.
Beside them, in the impenetrable thickets that fringed the path,
rising to arch above it and shut out the moon, the girl could hear
the stealthy, muffled footfalls of great beasts, and ever round
about them rose the deafening roars of hunting lions, until the
earth trembled to the mighty sound.
The porters lighted torches now and waved them upon either hand
to frighten off the beasts of prey. Rokoff urged them to greater
speed, and from the quavering note in his voice Jane Clayton knew
that he was weak from terror.
The sounds of the jungle night recalled most vividly the days
and nights that she had spent in a similar jungle with her forest
god--with the fearless and unconquerable Tarzan of the Apes. Then
there had been no thoughts of terror, though the jungle noises were
new to her, and the roar of a lion had seemed the most awe-inspiring
sound upon the great earth.
How different would it be now if she knew that he was somewhere
there in the wilderness, seeking her! Then, indeed, would there
be that for which to live, and every reason to believe that succour
was close at hand--but he was dead! It was incredible that it
should be so.
There seemed no place in death for that great body and those mighty
thews. Had Rokoff been the one to tell her of her lord's passing
she would have known that he lied. There could be no reason, she
thought, why M'ganwazam should have deceived her. She did not know
that the Russian had talked with the savage a few minutes before
the chief had come to her with his tale.
At last they reached the rude boma that Rokoff's porters had thrown
up round the Russian's camp. Here they found all in turmoil. She
did not know what it was all about, but she saw that Rokoff was
very angry, and from bits of conversation which she could translate
she gleaned that there had been further desertions while he had
been absent, and that the deserters had taken the bulk of his food
When he had done venting his rage upon those who remained he returned
to where Jane stood under guard of a couple of his white sailors.
He grasped her roughly by the arm and started to drag her toward
his tent. The girl struggled and fought to free herself, while
the two sailors stood by, laughing at the rare treat.
Rokoff did not hesitate to use rough methods when he found that he
was to have difficulty in carrying out his designs. Repeatedly
he struck Jane Clayton in the face, until at last, half-conscious,
she was dragged within his tent.
Rokoff's boy had lighted the Russian's lamp, and now at a word from
his master he made himself scarce. Jane had sunk to the floor in
the middle of the enclosure. Slowly her numbed senses were returning
to her and she was commencing to think very fast indeed. Quickly
her eyes ran round the interior of the tent, taking in every detail
of its equipment and contents.
Now the Russian was lifting her to her feet and attempting to drag
her to the camp cot that stood at one side of the tent. At his
belt hung a heavy revolver. Jane Clayton's eyes riveted themselves
upon it. Her palm itched to grasp the huge butt. She feigned
again to swoon, but through her half-closed lids she waited her
It came just as Rokoff was lifting her upon the cot. A noise at
the tent door behind him brought his head quickly about and away
from the girl. The butt of the gun was not an inch from her hand.
With a single, lightning-like move she snatched the weapon from
its holster, and at the same instant Rokoff turned back toward her,
realizing his peril.
She did not dare fire for fear the shot would bring his people about
him, and with Rokoff dead she would fall into hands no better than
his and to a fate probably even worse than he alone could have
imagined. The memory of the two brutes who stood and laughed as
Rokoff struck her was still vivid.
As the rage and fear-filled countenance of the Slav turned toward
her Jane Clayton raised the heavy revolver high above the pasty
face and with all her strength dealt the man a terrific blow between
Without a sound he sank, limp and unconscious, to the ground. A
moment later the girl stood beside him--for a moment at least free
from the menace of his lust.
Outside the tent she again heard the noise that had distracted
Rokoff's attention. What it was she did not know, but, fearing the
return of the servant and the discovery of her deed, she stepped
quickly to the camp table upon which burned the oil lamp and
extinguished the smudgy, evil-smelling flame.
In the total darkness of the interior she paused for a moment
to collect her wits and plan for the next step in her venture for
About her was a camp of enemies. Beyond these foes a black wilderness
of savage jungle peopled by hideous beasts of prey and still more
hideous human beasts.
There was little or no chance that she could survive even a few
days of the constant dangers that would confront her there; but
the knowledge that she had already passed through so many perils
unscathed, and that somewhere out in the faraway world a little
child was doubtless at that very moment crying for her, filled her
with determination to make the effort to accomplish the seemingly
impossible and cross that awful land of horror in search of the
sea and the remote chance of succour she might find there.
Rokoff's tent stood almost exactly in the centre of the boma.
Surrounding it were the tents and shelters of his white companions
and the natives of his safari. To pass through these and find
egress through the boma seemed a task too fraught with insurmountable
obstacles to warrant even the slightest consideration, and yet
there was no other way.
To remain in the tent until she should be discovered would be to
set at naught all that she had risked to gain her freedom, and so
with stealthy step and every sense alert she approached the back
of the tent to set out upon the first stage of her adventure.
Groping along the rear of the canvas wall, she found that there
was no opening there. Quickly she returned to the side of the
unconscious Russian. In his belt her groping fingers came upon
the hilt of a long hunting-knife, and with this she cut a hole in
the back wall of the tent.
Silently she stepped without. To her immense relief she saw that
the camp was apparently asleep. In the dim and flickering light
of the dying fires she saw but a single sentry, and he was dozing
upon his haunches at the opposite side of the enclosure.
Keeping the tent between him and herself, she crossed between the
small shelters of the native porters to the boma wall beyond.
Outside, in the darkness of the tangled jungle, she could hear
the roaring of lions, the laughing of hyenas, and the countless,
nameless noises of the midnight jungle.
For a moment she hesitated, trembling. The thought of the prowling
beasts out there in the darkness was appalling. Then, with a
sudden brave toss of her head, she attacked the thorny boma wall
with her delicate hands. Torn and bleeding though they were, she
worked on breathlessly until she had made an opening through which
she could worm her body, and at last she stood outside the enclosure.
Behind her lay a fate worse than death, at the hands of human
Before her lay an almost certain fate--but it was only death--sudden,
merciful, and honourable death.
Without a tremor and without regret she darted away from the camp,
and a moment later the mysterious jungle had closed about her.
Alone in the Jungle
Tambudza, leading Tarzan of the Apes toward the camp of the Russian,
moved very slowly along the winding jungle path, for she was old
and her legs stiff with rheumatism.
So it was that the runners dispatched by M'ganwazam to warn Rokoff
that the white giant was in his village and that he would be slain
that night reached the Russian's camp before Tarzan and his ancient
guide had covered half the distance.
The guides found the white man's camp in a turmoil. Rokoff had
that morning been discovered stunned and bleeding within his tent.
When he had recovered his senses and realized that Jane Clayton
had escaped, his rage was boundless.
Rushing about the camp with his rifle, he had sought to shoot down
the native sentries who had allowed the young woman to elude their
vigilance, but several of the other whites, realizing that they were
already in a precarious position owing to the numerous desertions
that Rokoff's cruelty had brought about, seized and disarmed him.
Then came the messengers from M'ganwazam, but scarce had they told
their story and Rokoff was preparing to depart with them for their
village when other runners, panting from the exertions of their swift
flight through the jungle, rushed breathless into the firelight,
crying that the great white giant had escaped from M'ganwazam and
was already on his way to wreak vengeance against his enemies.
Instantly confusion reigned within the encircling boma. The blacks
belonging to Rokoff's safari were terror-stricken at the thought
of the proximity of the white giant who hunted through the jungle
with a fierce pack of apes and panthers at his heels.
Before the whites realized what had happened the superstitious
fears of the natives had sent them scurrying into the bush--their
own carriers as well as the messengers from M'ganwazam--but even in
their haste they had not neglected to take with them every article
of value upon which they could lay their hands.
Thus Rokoff and the seven white sailors found themselves deserted
and robbed in the midst of a wilderness.
The Russian, following his usual custom, berated his companions,
laying all the blame upon their shoulders for the events which had
led up to the almost hopeless condition in which they now found
themselves; but the sailors were in no mood to brook his insults
and his cursing.
In the midst of this tirade one of them drew a revolver and fired
point-blank at the Russian. The fellow's aim was poor, but his
act so terrified Rokoff that he turned and fled for his tent.
As he ran his eyes chanced to pass beyond the boma to the edge of
the forest, and there he caught a glimpse of that which sent his
craven heart cold with a fear that almost expunged his terror of
the seven men at his back, who by this time were all firing in hate
and revenge at his retreating figure.
What he saw was the giant figure of an almost naked white man
emerging from the bush.
Darting into his tent, the Russian did not halt in his flight, but
kept right on through the rear wall, taking advantage of the long
slit that Jane Clayton had made the night before.
The terror-stricken Muscovite scurried like a hunted rabbit through
the hole that still gaped in the boma's wall at the point where
his own prey had escaped, and as Tarzan approached the camp upon
the opposite side Rokoff disappeared into the jungle in the wake
of Jane Clayton.
As the ape-man entered the boma with old Tambudza at his elbow the
seven sailors, recognizing him, turned and fled in the opposite
direction. Tarzan saw that Rokoff was not among them, and so he
let them go their way--his business was with the Russian, whom he
expected to find in his tent. As to the sailors, he was sure that
the jungle would exact from them expiation for their villainies,
nor, doubtless, was he wrong, for his were the last white man's
eyes to rest upon any of them.
Finding Rokoff's tent empty, Tarzan was about to set out in search
of the Russian when Tambudza suggested to him that the departure
of the white man could only have resulted from word reaching him
from M'ganwazam that Tarzan was in his village.
"He has doubtless hastened there," argued the old woman. "If you
would find him let us return at once."
Tarzan himself thought that this would probably prove to be the fact,
so he did not waste time in an endeavour to locate the Russian's
trail, but, instead, set out briskly for the village of M'ganwazam,
leaving Tambudza to plod slowly in his wake.
His one hope was that Jane was still safe and with Rokoff. If this
was the case, it would be but a matter of an hour or more before
he should be able to wrest her from the Russian.
He knew now that M'ganwazam was treacherous and that he might have
to fight to regain possession of his wife. He wished that Mugambi,
Sheeta, Akut, and the balance of the pack were with him, for he
realized that single-handed it would be no child's play to bring
Jane safely from the clutches of two such scoundrels as Rokoff and
the wily M'ganwazam.
To his surprise he found no sign of either Rokoff or Jane in the
village, and as he could not trust the word of the chief, he wasted
no time in futile inquiry. So sudden and unexpected had been
his return, and so quickly had he vanished into the jungle after
learning that those he sought were not among the Waganwazam, that
old M'ganwazam had no time to prevent his going.
Swinging through the trees, he hastened back to the deserted camp
he had so recently left, for here, he knew, was the logical place
to take up the trail of Rokoff and Jane.
Arrived at the boma, he circled carefully about the outside of the
enclosure until, opposite a break in the thorny wall, he came to
indications that something had recently passed into the jungle.
His acute sense of smell told him that both of those he sought had
fled from the camp in this direction, and a moment later he had
taken up the trail and was following the faint spoor.
Far ahead of him a terror-stricken young woman was slinking along
a narrow game-trail, fearful that the next moment would bring her
face to face with some savage beast or equally savage man. As she
ran on, hoping against hope that she had hit upon the direction
that would lead her eventually to the great river, she came suddenly
upon a familiar spot.
At one side of the trail, beneath a giant tree, lay a little heap
of loosely piled brush--to her dying day that little spot of jungle
would be indelibly impressed upon her memory. It was where Anderssen
had hidden her--where he had given up his life in the vain effort
to save her from Rokoff.
At sight of it she recalled the rifle and ammunition that the man
had thrust upon her at the last moment. Until now she had forgotten
them entirely. Still clutched in her hand was the revolver she
had snatched from Rokoff's belt, but that could contain at most
not over six cartridges--not enough to furnish her with food and
protection both on the long journey to the sea.
With bated breath she groped beneath the little mound, scarce daring
to hope that the treasure remained where she had left it; but, to
her infinite relief and joy, her hand came at once upon the barrel
of the heavy weapon and then upon the bandoleer of cartridges.
As she threw the latter about her shoulder and felt the weight of
the big game-gun in her hand a sudden sense of security suffused
her. It was with new hope and a feeling almost of assured success
that she again set forward upon her journey.
That night she slept in the crotch of a tree, as Tarzan had so
often told her that he was accustomed to doing, and early the next
morning was upon her way again. Late in the afternoon, as she was
about to cross a little clearing, she was startled at the sight of
a huge ape coming from the jungle upon the opposite side.
The wind was blowing directly across the clearing between them,
and Jane lost no time in putting herself downwind from the huge
creature. Then she hid in a clump of heavy bush and watched,
holding the rifle ready for instant use.
To her consternation she saw that the apes were pausing in the centre
of the clearing. They came together in a little knot, where they
stood looking backward, as though in expectation of the coming of
others of their tribe. Jane wished that they would go on, for she
knew that at any moment some little, eddying gust of wind might
carry her scent down to their nostrils, and then what would the
protection of her rifle amount to in the face of those gigantic
muscles and mighty fangs?
Her eyes moved back and forth between the apes and the edge of the
jungle toward which they were gazing until at last she perceived
the object of their halt and the thing that they awaited. They
were being stalked.
Of this she was positive, as she saw the lithe, sinewy form of
a panther glide noiselessly from the jungle at the point at which
the apes had emerged but a moment before.
Quickly the beast trotted across the clearing toward the anthropoids.
Jane wondered at their apparent apathy, and a moment later her wonder
turned to amazement as she saw the great cat come quite close to
the apes, who appeared entirely unconcerned by its presence, and,
squatting down in their midst, fell assiduously to the business of
preening, which occupies most of the waking hours of the cat family.
If the young woman was surprised by the sight of these natural
enemies fraternizing, it was with emotions little short of fear
for her own sanity that she presently saw a tall, muscular warrior
enter the clearing and join the group of savage beasts assembled
At first sight of the man she had been positive that he would be
torn to pieces, and she had half risen from her shelter, raising
her rifle to her shoulder to do what she could to avert the man's
Now she saw that he seemed actually conversing with the beasts--issuing
orders to them.
Presently the entire company filed on across the clearing and
disappeared in the jungle upon the opposite side.
With a gasp of mingled incredulity and relief Jane Clayton staggered
to her feet and fled on away from the terrible horde that had
just passed her, while a half-mile behind her another individual,
following the same trail as she, lay frozen with terror behind an
ant-hill as the hideous band passed quite close to him.
This one was Rokoff; but he had recognized the members of the awful
aggregation as allies of Tarzan of the Apes. No sooner, therefore,
had the beasts passed him than he rose and raced through the jungle
as fast as he could go, in order that he might put as much distance
as possible between himself and these frightful beasts.
So it happened that as Jane Clayton came to the bank of the river,
down which she hoped to float to the ocean and eventual rescue,
Nikolas Rokoff was but a short distance in her rear.
Upon the bank the girl saw a great dugout drawn half-way from the
water and tied securely to a near-by tree.
This, she felt, would solve the question of transportation to the
sea could she but launch the huge, unwieldy craft. Unfastening
the rope that had moored it to the tree, Jane pushed frantically
upon the bow of the heavy canoe, but for all the results that were
apparent she might as well have been attempting to shove the earth
out of its orbit.
She was about winded when it occurred to her to try working the
dugout into the stream by loading the stern with ballast and then
rocking the bow back and forth along the bank until the craft
eventually worked itself into the river.
There were no stones or rocks available, but along the shore she
found quantities of driftwood deposited by the river at a slightly
higher stage. These she gathered and piled far in the stern of the
boat, until at last, to her immense relief, she saw the bow rise
gently from the mud of the bank and the stern drift slowly with
the current until it again lodged a few feet farther down-stream.
Jane found that by running back and forth between the bow and stern
she could alternately raise and lower each end of the boat as she
shifted her weight from one end to the other, with the result that
each time she leaped to the stern the canoe moved a few inches
farther into the river.
As the success of her plan approached more closely to fruition she
became so wrapped in her efforts that she failed to note the figure
of a man standing beneath a huge tree at the edge of the jungle
from which he had just emerged.
He watched her and her labours with a cruel and malicious grin upon
his swarthy countenance.
The boat at last became so nearly free of the retarding mud and of
the bank that Jane felt positive that she could pole it off into
deeper water with one of the paddles which lay in the bottom of
the rude craft. With this end in view she seized upon one of these
implements and had just plunged it into the river bottom close to
the shore when her eyes happened to rise to the edge of the jungle.
As her gaze fell upon the figure of the man a little cry of terror
rose to her lips. It was Rokoff.
He was running toward her now and shouting to her to wait or he
would shoot--though he was entirely unarmed it was difficult to
discover just how he intended making good his threat.
Jane Clayton knew nothing of the various misfortunes that had
befallen the Russian since she had escaped from his tent, so she
believed that his followers must be close at hand.
However, she had no intention of falling again into the man's clutches.
She would rather die at once than that that should happen to her.
Another minute and the boat would be free.
Once in the current of the river she would be beyond Rokoff's power
to stop her, for there was no other boat upon the shore, and no
man, and certainly not the cowardly Rokoff, would dare to attempt
to swim the crocodile-infested water in an effort to overtake her.
Rokoff, on his part, was bent more upon escape than aught else. He
would gladly have forgone any designs he might have had upon Jane
Clayton would she but permit him to share this means of escape
that she had discovered. He would promise anything if she would
let him come aboard the dugout, but he did not think that it was
necessary to do so.
He saw that he could easily reach the bow of the boat before
it cleared the shore, and then it would not be necessary to make
promises of any sort. Not that Rokoff would have felt the slightest
compunction in ignoring any promises he might have made the girl,
but he disliked the idea of having to sue for favour with one who
had so recently assaulted and escaped him.
Already he was gloating over the days and nights of revenge that
would be his while the heavy dugout drifted its slow way to the
Jane Clayton, working furiously to shove the boat beyond his reach,
suddenly realized that she was to be successful, for with a little
lurch the dugout swung quickly into the current, just as the Russian
reached out to place his hand upon its bow.
His fingers did not miss their goal by a half-dozen inches. The
girl almost collapsed with the reaction from the terrific mental,
physical, and nervous strain under which she had been labouring
for the past few minutes. But, thank Heaven, at last she was safe!
Even as she breathed a silent prayer of thanksgiving, she saw a
sudden expression of triumph lighten the features of the cursing
Russian, and at the same instant he dropped suddenly to the ground,
grasping firmly upon something which wriggled through the mud toward
Jane Clayton crouched, wide-eyed and horror-stricken, in the bottom
of the boat as she realized that at the last instant success had
been turned to failure, and that she was indeed again in the power
of the malignant Rokoff.
For the thing that the man had seen and grasped was the end of the
trailing rope with which the dugout had been moored to the tree.
Down the Ugambi
Halfway between the Ugambi and the village of the Waganwazam, Tarzan
came upon the pack moving slowly along his old spoor. Mugambi
could scarce believe that the trail of the Russian and the mate of
his savage master had passed so close to that of the pack.
It seemed incredible that two human beings should have come so close
to them without having been detected by some of the marvellously
keen and alert beasts; but Tarzan pointed out the spoor of the two
he trailed, and at certain points the black could see that the man
and the woman must have been in hiding as the pack passed them,
watching every move of the ferocious creatures.
It had been apparent to Tarzan from the first that Jane and Rokoff
were not travelling together. The spoor showed distinctly that the
young woman had been a considerable distance ahead of the Russian
at first, though the farther the ape-man continued along the trail
the more obvious it became that the man was rapidly overhauling
At first there had been the spoor of wild beasts over the footprints
of Jane Clayton, while upon the top of all Rokoff's spoor showed
that he had passed over the trail after the animals had left their
records upon the ground. But later there were fewer and fewer
animal imprints occurring between those of Jane's and the Russian's
feet, until as he approached the river the ape-man became aware
that Rokoff could not have been more than a few hundred yards behind
He felt they must be close ahead of him now, and, with a little
thrill of expectation, he leaped rapidly forward ahead of the pack.
Swinging swiftly through the trees, he came out upon the river-bank
at the very point at which Rokoff had overhauled Jane as she
endeavoured to launch the cumbersome dugout.
In the mud along the bank the ape-man saw the footprints of the
two he sought, but there was neither boat nor people there when he
arrived, nor, at first glance, any sign of their whereabouts.
It was plain that they had shoved off a native canoe and embarked
upon the bosom of the stream, and as the ape-man's eye ran swiftly
down the course of the river beneath the shadows of the overarching
trees he saw in the distance, just as it rounded a bend that shut
it off from his view, a drifting dugout in the stern of which was
the figure of a man.
Just as the pack came in sight of the river they saw their agile
leader racing down the river's bank, leaping from hummock to
hummock of the swampy ground that spread between them and a little
promontory which rose just where the river curved inward from their
To follow him it was necessary for the heavy, cumbersome apes to
make a wide detour, and Sheeta, too, who hated water. Mugambi
followed after them as rapidly as he could in the wake of the great
A half-hour of rapid travelling across the swampy neck of land and
over the rising promontory brought Tarzan, by a short cut, to the
inward bend of the winding river, and there before him upon the
bosom of the stream he saw the dugout, and in its stern Nikolas
Jane was not with the Russian.
At sight of his enemy the broad scar upon the ape-man's brow burned
scarlet, and there rose to his lips the hideous, bestial challenge
of the bull-ape.
Rokoff shuddered as the weird and terrible alarm fell upon his
ears. Cowering in the bottom of the boat, his teeth chattering
in terror, he watched the man he feared above all other creatures
upon the face of the earth as he ran quickly to the edge of the
Even though the Russian knew that he was safe from his enemy, the
very sight of him threw him into a frenzy of trembling cowardice,
which became frantic hysteria as he saw the white giant dive
fearlessly into the forbidding waters of the tropical river.
With steady, powerful strokes the ape-man forged out into the stream
toward the drifting dugout. Now Rokoff seized one of the paddles
lying in the bottom of the craft, and, with terrorwide eyes still
glued upon the living death that pursued him, struck out madly in
an effort to augment the speed of the unwieldy canoe.
And from the opposite bank a sinister ripple, unseen by either man,
moving steadily toward the half-naked swimmer.
Tarzan had reached the stern of the craft at last. One hand upstretched
grasped the gunwale. Rokoff sat frozen with fear, unable to move
a hand or foot, his eyes riveted upon the face of his Nemesis.
Then a sudden commotion in the water behind the swimmer caught his
attention. He saw the ripple, and he knew what caused it.
At the same instant Tarzan felt mighty jaws close upon his right
leg. He tried to struggle free and raise himself over the side of
the boat. His efforts would have succeeded had not this unexpected
interruption galvanized the malign brain of the Russian into instant
action with its sudden promise of deliverance and revenge.
Like a venomous snake the man leaped toward the stern of the boat,
and with a single swift blow struck Tarzan across the head with the
heavy paddle. The ape-man's fingers slipped from their hold upon
There was a short struggle at the surface, and then a swirl of
waters, a little eddy, and a burst of bubbles soon smoothed out by
the flowing current marked for the instant the spot where Tarzan
of the Apes, Lord of the Jungle, disappeared from the sight of men
beneath the gloomy waters of the dark and forbidding Ugambi.
Weak from terror, Rokoff sank shuddering into the bottom of the
dugout. For a moment he could not realize the good fortune that
had befallen him--all that he could see was the figure of a silent,
struggling white man disappearing beneath the surface of the river
to unthinkable death in the slimy mud of the bottom.
Slowly all that it meant to him filtered into the mind of the
Russian, and then a cruel smile of relief and triumph touched his
lips; but it was short-lived, for just as he was congratulating
himself that he was now comparatively safe to proceed upon his
way to the coast unmolested, a mighty pandemonium rose from the
river-bank close by.
As his eyes sought the authors of the frightful sound he saw
standing upon the shore, glaring at him with hate-filled eyes, a
devil-faced panther surrounded by the hideous apes of Akut, and in
the forefront of them a giant black warrior who shook his fist at
him, threatening him with terrible death.
The nightmare of that flight down the Ugambi with the hideous
horde racing after him by day and by night, now abreast of him, now
lost in the mazes of the jungle far behind for hours and once for
a whole day, only to reappear again upon his trail grim, relentless,
and terrible, reduced the Russian from a strong and robust man to
an emaciated, white-haired, fear-gibbering thing before ever the
bay and the ocean broke upon his hopeless vision.
Past populous villages he had fled. Time and again warriors had
put out in their canoes to intercept him, but each time the hideous
horde had swept into view to send the terrified natives shrieking
back to the shore to lose themselves in the jungle.
Nowhere in his flight had he seen aught of Jane Clayton. Not once
had his eyes rested upon her since that moment at the river's brim
his hand had closed upon the rope attached to the bow of her dugout
and he had believed her safely in his power again, only to be
thwarted an instant later as the girl snatched up a heavy express
rifle from the bottom of the craft and levelled it full at his
Quickly he had dropped the rope then and seen her float away beyond
his reach, but a moment later he had been racing up-stream toward
a little tributary in the mouth of which was hidden the canoe
in which he and his party had come thus far upon their journey in
pursuit of the girl and Anderssen.
What had become of her?
There seemed little doubt in the Russian's mind, however, but that
she had been captured by warriors from one of the several villages
she would have been compelled to pass on her way down to the sea.
Well, he was at least rid of most of his human enemies.
But at that he would gladly have had them all back in the land of
the living could he thus have been freed from the menace of the
frightful creatures who pursued him with awful relentlessness,
screaming and growling at him every time they came within sight
of him. The one that filled him with the greatest terror was the
panther--the flaming-eyed, devil-faced panther whose grinning jaws
gaped wide at him by day, and whose fiery orbs gleamed wickedly out
across the water from the Cimmerian blackness of the jungle nights.
The sight of the mouth of the Ugambi filled Rokoff with renewed
hope, for there, upon the yellow waters of the bay, floated the
Kincaid at anchor. He had sent the little steamer away to coal
while he had gone up the river, leaving Paulvitch in charge of her,
and he could have cried aloud in his relief as he saw that she had
returned in time to save him.
Frantically he alternately paddled furiously toward her and rose
to his feet waving his paddle and crying aloud in an attempt to
attract the attention of those on board. But loud as he screamed
his cries awakened no answering challenge from the deck of the
Upon the shore behind him a hurried backward glance revealed the
presence of the snarling pack. Even now, he thought, these manlike
devils might yet find a way to reach him even upon the deck of the
steamer unless there were those there to repel them with firearms.
What could have happened to those he had left upon the Kincaid?
Where was Paulvitch? Could it be that the vessel was deserted,
and that, after all, he was doomed to be overtaken by the terrible
fate that he had been flying from through all these hideous days
and nights? He shivered as might one upon whose brow death has
already laid his clammy finger.
Yet he did not cease to paddle frantically toward the steamer,
and at last, after what seemed an eternity, the bow of the dugout
bumped against the timbers of the Kincaid. Over the ship's side
hung a monkey-ladder, but as the Russian grasped it to ascend to
the deck he heard a warning challenge from above, and, looking up,
gazed into the cold, relentless muzzle of a rifle.
After Jane Clayton, with rifle levelled at the breast of Rokoff,
had succeeded in holding him off until the dugout in which she had
taken refuge had drifted out upon the bosom of the Ugambi beyond
the man's reach, she had lost no time in paddling to the swiftest
sweep of the channel, nor did she for long days and weary nights
cease to hold her craft to the most rapidly moving part of the river,
except when during the hottest hours of the day she had been wont
to drift as the current would take her, lying prone in the bottom
of the canoe, her face sheltered from the sun with a great palm
Thus only did she gain rest upon the voyage; at other times she
continually sought to augment the movement of the craft by wielding
the heavy paddle.
Rokoff, on the other hand, had used little or no intelligence in
his flight along the Ugambi, so that more often than not his craft
had drifted in the slow-going eddies, for he habitually hugged the
bank farthest from that along which the hideous horde pursued and
Thus it was that, though he had put out upon the river but a short
time subsequent to the girl, yet she had reached the bay fully two
hours ahead of him. When she had first seen the anchored ship upon
the quiet water, Jane Clayton's heart had beat fast with hope and
thanksgiving, but as she drew closer to the craft and saw that it
was the Kincaid, her pleasure gave place to the gravest misgivings.
It was too late, however, to turn back, for the current that
carried her toward the ship was much too strong for her muscles.
She could not have forced the heavy dugout upstream against it,
and all that was left her was to attempt either to make the shore
without being seen by those upon the deck of the Kincaid, or to
throw herself upon their mercy--otherwise she must be swept out to
She knew that the shore held little hope of life for her, as she
had no knowledge of the location of the friendly Mosula village to
which Anderssen had taken her through the darkness of the night of
their escape from the Kincaid.
With Rokoff away from the steamer it might be possible that by
offering those in charge a large reward they could be induced to
carry her to the nearest civilized port. It was worth risking--if
she could make the steamer at all.
The current was bearing her swiftly down the river, and she found
that only by dint of the utmost exertion could she direct the
awkward craft toward the vicinity of the Kincaid. Having reached
the decision to board the steamer, she now looked to it for aid,
but to her surprise the decks appeared to be empty and she saw no
sign of life aboard the ship.
The dugout was drawing closer and closer to the bow of the vessel,
and yet no hail came over the side from any lookout aboard. In a
moment more, Jane realized, she would be swept beyond the steamer,
and then, unless they lowered a boat to rescue her, she would be
carried far out to sea by the current and the swift ebb tide that
The young woman called loudly for assistance, but there was no
reply other than the shrill scream of some savage beast upon the
jungle-shrouded shore. Frantically Jane wielded the paddle in an
effort to carry her craft close alongside the steamer.
For a moment it seemed that she should miss her goal by but a few
feet, but at the last moment the canoe swung close beneath the
steamer's bow and Jane barely managed to grasp the anchor chain.
Heroically she clung to the heavy iron links, almost dragged from
the canoe by the strain of the current upon her craft. Beyond
her she saw a monkey-ladder dangling over the steamer's side. To
release her hold upon the chain and chance clambering to the
ladder as her canoe was swept beneath it seemed beyond the pale of
possibility, yet to remain clinging to the anchor chain appeared
equally as futile.
Finally her glance chanced to fall upon the rope in the bow of the
dugout, and, making one end of this fast to the chain, she succeeded
in drifting the canoe slowly down until it lay directly beneath
the ladder. A moment later, her rifle slung about her shoulders,
she had clambered safely to the deserted deck.
Her first task was to explore the ship, and this she did, her rifle
ready for instant use should she meet with any human menace aboard
the Kincaid. She was not long in discovering the cause of the
apparently deserted condition of the steamer, for in the forecastle
she found the sailors, who had evidently been left to guard the
ship, deep in drunken slumber.
With a shudder of disgust she clambered above, and to the best of
her ability closed and made fast the hatch above the heads of the
sleeping guard. Next she sought the galley and food, and, having
appeased her hunger, she took her place on deck, determined that
none should board the Kincaid without first having agreed to her
For an hour or so nothing appeared upon the surface of the river to
cause her alarm, but then, about a bend upstream, she saw a canoe
appear in which sat a single figure. It had not proceeded far in
her direction before she recognized the occupant as Rokoff, and
when the fellow attempted to board he found a rifle staring him in
When the Russian discovered who it was that repelled his advance he
became furious, cursing and threatening in a most horrible manner;
but, finding that these tactics failed to frighten or move the
girl, he at last fell to pleading and promising.
Jane had but a single reply for his every proposition, and that
was that nothing would ever persuade her to permit Rokoff upon the
same vessel with her. That she would put her threats into action
and shoot him should he persist in his endeavour to board the ship
he was convinced.
So, as there was no other alternative, the great coward dropped
back into his dugout and, at imminent risk of being swept to sea,
finally succeeded in making the shore far down the bay and upon the
opposite side from that on which the horde of beasts stood snarling
Jane Clayton knew that the fellow could not alone and unaided bring
his heavy craft back up-stream to the Kincaid, and so she had no
further fear of an attack by him. The hideous crew upon the shore
she thought she recognized as the same that had passed her in the
jungle far up the Ugambi several days before, for it seemed quite
beyond reason that there should be more than one such a strangely
assorted pack; but what had brought them down-stream to the mouth
of the river she could not imagine.
Toward the day's close the girl was suddenly alarmed by the shouting
of the Russian from the opposite bank of the stream, and a moment
later, following the direction of his gaze, she was terrified to
see a ship's boat approaching from up-stream, in which, she felt
assured, there could be only members of the Kincaid's missing
crew--only heartless ruffians and enemies.
In the Darkness of the Night
When Tarzan of the Apes realized that he was in the grip of the
great jaws of a crocodile he did not, as an ordinary man might have
done, give up all hope and resign himself to his fate.
Instead, he filled his lungs with air before the huge reptile
dragged him beneath the surface, and then, with all the might of
his great muscles, fought bitterly for freedom. But out of his
native element the ape-man was too greatly handicapped to do more
than excite the monster to greater speed as it dragged its prey
swiftly through the water.
Tarzan's lungs were bursting for a breath of pure fresh air. He
knew that he could survive but a moment more, and in the last
paroxysm of his suffering he did what he could to avenge his own
His body trailed out beside the slimy carcass of his captor, and
into the tough armour the ape-man attempted to plunge his stone
knife as he was borne to the creature's horrid den.
His efforts but served to accelerate the speed of the crocodile, and
just as the ape-man realized that he had reached the limit of his
endurance he felt his body dragged to a muddy bed and his nostrils
rise above the water's surface. All about him was the blackness
of the pit--the silence of the grave.
For a moment Tarzan of the Apes lay gasping for breath upon the
slimy, evil-smelling bed to which the animal had borne him. Close
at his side he could feel the cold, hard plates of the creatures
coat rising and falling as though with spasmodic efforts to breathe.
For several minutes the two lay thus, and then a sudden convulsion
of the giant carcass at the man's side, a tremor, and a stiffening
brought Tarzan to his knees beside the crocodile. To his utter
amazement he found that the beast was dead. The slim knife had
found a vulnerable spot in the scaly armour.
Staggering to his feet, the ape-man groped about the reeking, oozy
den. He found that he was imprisoned in a subterranean chamber
amply large enough to have accommodated a dozen or more of the huge
animals such as the one that had dragged him thither.
He realized that he was in the creature's hidden nest far under the
bank of the stream, and that doubtless the only means of ingress
or egress lay through the submerged opening through which the
crocodile had brought him.
His first thought, of course, was of escape, but that he could make
his way to the surface of the river beyond and then to the shore
seemed highly improbable. There might be turns and windings in the
neck of the passage, or, most to be feared, he might meet another
of the slimy inhabitants of the retreat upon his journey outward.
Even should he reach the river in safety, there was still the danger
of his being again attacked before he could effect a safe landing.
Still there was no alternative, and, filling his lungs with the close
and reeking air of the chamber, Tarzan of the Apes dived into the
dark and watery hole which he could not see but had felt out and
found with his feet and legs.
The leg which had been held within the jaws of the crocodile was
badly lacerated, but the bone had not been broken, nor were the
muscles or tendons sufficiently injured to render it useless. It
gave him excruciating pain, that was all.
But Tarzan of the Apes was accustomed to pain, and gave it
no further thought when he found that the use of his legs was not
greatly impaired by the sharp teeth of the monster.
Rapidly he crawled and swam through the passage which inclined
downward and finally upward to open at last into the river bottom
but a few feet from the shore line. As the ape-man reached the
surface he saw the heads of two great crocodiles but a short distance
from him. They were making rapidly in his direction, and with a
superhuman effort the man struck out for the overhanging branches
of a near-by tree.
Nor was he a moment too soon, for scarcely had he drawn himself to
the safety of the limb than two gaping mouths snapped venomously
below him. For a few minutes Tarzan rested in the tree that had
proved the means of his salvation. His eyes scanned the river
as far down-stream as the tortuous channel would permit, but there
was no sign of the Russian or his dugout.
When he had rested and bound up his wounded leg he started on in
pursuit of the drifting canoe. He found himself upon the opposite
of the river to that at which he had entered the stream, but as his
quarry was upon the bosom of the water it made little difference
to the ape-man upon which side he took up the pursuit.
To his intense chagrin he soon found that his leg was more badly
injured than he had thought, and that its condition seriously
impeded his progress. It was only with the greatest difficulty
that he could proceed faster than a walk upon the ground, and in
the trees he discovered that it not only impeded his progress, but
rendered travelling distinctly dangerous.
From the old negress, Tambudza, Tarzan had gathered a suggestion
that now filled his mind with doubts and misgivings. When the old
woman had told him of the child's death she had also added that
the white woman, though grief-stricken, had confided to her that
the baby was not hers.
Tarzan could see no reason for believing that Jane could have found
it advisable to deny her identity or that of the child; the only
explanation that he could put upon the matter was that, after all,
the white woman who had accompanied his son and the Swede into the
jungle fastness of the interior had not been Jane at all.
The more he gave thought to the problem, the more firmly convinced
he became that his son was dead and his wife still safe in London, and
in ignorance of the terrible fate that had overtaken her first-born.
After all, then, his interpretation of Rokoff's sinister taunt
had been erroneous, and he had been bearing the burden of a double
apprehension needlessly--at least so thought the ape-man. From
this belief he garnered some slight surcease from the numbing grief
that the death of his little son had thrust upon him.
And such a death! Even the savage beast that was the real Tarzan,
inured to the sufferings and horrors of the grim jungle, shuddered
as he contemplated the hideous fate that had overtaken the innocent
As he made his way painfully towards the coast, he let his mind
dwell so constantly upon the frightful crimes which the Russian
had perpetrated against his loved ones that the great scar upon his
forehead stood out almost continuously in the vivid scarlet that
marked the man's most relentless and bestial moods of rage. At
times he startled even himself and sent the lesser creatures of
the wild jungle scampering to their hiding places as involuntary
roars and growls rumbled from his throat.
Could he but lay his hand upon the Russian!
Twice upon the way to the coast bellicose natives ran threateningly
from their villages to bar his further progress, but when the awful
cry of the bull-ape thundered upon their affrighted ears, and the
great white giant charged bellowing upon them, they had turned and
fled into the bush, nor ventured thence until he had safely passed.
Though his progress seemed tantalizingly slow to the ape-man whose
idea of speed had been gained by such standards as the lesser apes
attain, he made, as a matter of fact, almost as rapid progress as
the drifting canoe that bore Rokoff on ahead of him, so that he
came to the bay and within sight of the ocean just after darkness
had fallen upon the same day that Jane Clayton and the Russian
ended their flights from the interior.
The darkness lowered so heavily upon the black river and the
encircling jungle that Tarzan, even with eyes accustomed to much
use after dark, could make out nothing a few yards from him. His
idea was to search the shore that night for signs of the Russian
and the woman who he was certain must have preceded Rokoff down the
Ugambi. That the Kincaid or other ship lay at anchor but a hundred
yards from him he did not dream, for no light showed on board the
Even as he commenced his search his attention was suddenly attracted
by a noise that he had not at first perceived--the stealthy dip
of paddles in the water some distance from the shore, and about
opposite the point at which he stood. Motionless as a statue he
stood listening to the faint sound.
Presently it ceased, to be followed by a shuffling noise that
the ape-man's trained ears could interpret as resulting from but
a single cause--the scraping of leather-shod feet upon the rounds
of a ship's monkey-ladder. And yet, as far as he could see, there
was no ship there--nor might there be one within a thousand miles.
As he stood thus, peering out into the darkness of the cloud-enshrouded
night, there came to him from across the water, like a slap in the
face, so sudden and unexpected was it, the sharp staccato of an
exchange of shots and then the scream of a woman.
Wounded though he was, and with the memory of his recent horrible
experience still strong upon him, Tarzan of the Apes did not hesitate
as the notes of that frightened cry rose shrill and piercing upon
the still night air. With a bound he cleared the intervening
bush--there was a splash as the water closed about him--and then,
with powerful strokes, he swam out into the impenetrable night
with no guide save the memory of an illusive cry, and for company
the hideous denizens of an equatorial river.
The boat that had attracted Jane's attention as she stood guard
upon the deck of the Kincaid had been perceived by Rokoff upon one
bank and Mugambi and the horde upon the other. The cries of the
Russian had brought the dugout first to him, and then, after a
conference, it had been turned toward the Kincaid, but before ever
it covered half the distance between the shore and the steamer a
rifle had spoken from the latter's deck and one of the sailors in
the bow of the canoe had crumpled and fallen into the water.
After that they went more slowly, and presently, when Jane's rifle
had found another member of the party, the canoe withdrew to the
shore, where it lay as long as daylight lasted.
The savage, snarling pack upon the opposite shore had been directed in
their pursuit by the black warrior, Mugambi, chief of the Wagambi.
Only he knew which might be foe and which friend of their lost
Could they have reached either the canoe or the Kincaid they would
have made short work of any whom they found there, but the gulf
of black water intervening shut them off from farther advance as
effectually as though it had been the broad ocean that separated
them from their prey.
Mugambi knew something of the occurrences which had led up to the
landing of Tarzan upon Jungle Island and the pursuit of the whites
up the Ugambi. He knew that his savage master sought his wife and
child who had been stolen by the wicked white man whom they had
followed far into the interior and now back to the sea.
He believed also that this same man had killed the great white
giant whom he had come to respect and love as he had never loved
the greatest chiefs of his own people. And so in the wild breast
of Mugambi burned an iron resolve to win to the side of the wicked
one and wreak vengeance upon him for the murder of the ape-man.
But when he saw the canoe come down the river and take in Rokoff,
when he saw it make for the Kincaid, he realized that only by
possessing himself of a canoe could he hope to transport the beasts
of the pack within striking distance of the enemy.
So it happened that even before Jane Clayton fired the first shot
into Rokoff's canoe the beasts of Tarzan had disappeared into the
After the Russian and his party, which consisted of Paulvitch and
the several men he had left upon the Kincaid to attend to the matter
of coaling, had retreated before her fire, Jane realized that it
would be but a temporary respite from their attentions which she
had gained, and with the conviction came a determination to make
a bold and final stroke for freedom from the menacing threat of
Rokoff's evil purpose.
With this idea in view she opened negotiations with the two sailors
she had imprisoned in the forecastle, and having forced their consent
to her plans, upon pain of death should they attempt disloyalty,
she released them just as darkness closed about the ship.
With ready revolver to compel obedience, she let them up one by
one, searching them carefully for concealed weapons as they stood
with hands elevated above their heads. Once satisfied that they
were unarmed, she set them to work cutting the cable which held the
Kincaid to her anchorage, for her bold plan was nothing less than
to set the steamer adrift and float with her out into the open
sea, there to trust to the mercy of the elements, which she was
confident would be no more merciless than Nikolas Rokoff should he
again capture her.
There was, too, the chance that the Kincaid might be sighted by
some passing ship, and as she was well stocked with provisions and
water--the men had assured her of this fact--and as the season of
storm was well over, she had every reason to hope for the eventual
success of her plan.
The night was deeply overcast, heavy clouds riding low above the
jungle and the water--only to the west, where the broad ocean spread
beyond the river's mouth, was there a suggestion of lessening gloom.
It was a perfect night for the purposes of the work in hand.
Her enemies could not see the activity aboard the ship nor mark
her course as the swift current bore her outward into the ocean.
Before daylight broke the ebb-tide would have carried the Kincaid
well into the Benguela current which flows northward along the
coast of Africa, and, as a south wind was prevailing, Jane hoped
to be out of sight of the mouth of the Ugambi before Rokoff could
become aware of the departure of the steamer.
Standing over the labouring seamen, the young woman breathed a sigh
of relief as the last strand of the cable parted and she knew that
the vessel was on its way out of the maw of the savage Ugambi.
With her two prisoners still beneath the coercing influence of
her rifle, she ordered them upon deck with the intention of again
imprisoning them in the forecastle; but at length she permitted
herself to be influenced by their promises of loyalty and the
arguments which they put forth that they could be of service to
her, and permitted them to remain above.
For a few minutes the Kincaid drifted rapidly with the current, and
then, with a grinding jar, she stopped in midstream. The ship had
run upon a low-lying bar that splits the channel about a quarter
of a mile from the sea.
For a moment she hung there, and then, swinging round until her
bow pointed toward the shore, she broke adrift once more.
At the same instant, just as Jane Clayton was congratulating herself
that the ship was once more free, there fell upon her ears from a
point up the river about where the Kincaid had been anchored the
rattle of musketry and a woman's scream--shrill, piercing, fear-laden.
The sailors heard the shots with certain conviction that they
announced the coming of their employer, and as they had no relish
for the plan that would consign them to the deck of a drifting
derelict, they whispered together a hurried plan to overcome the
young woman and hail Rokoff and their companions to their rescue.
It seemed that fate would play into their hands, for with the reports
of the guns Jane Clayton's attention had been distracted from her
unwilling assistants, and instead of keeping one eye upon them as
she had intended doing, she ran to the bow of the Kincaid to peer
through the darkness toward the source of the disturbance upon the
Seeing that she was off her guard, the two sailors crept stealthily
upon her from behind.
The scraping upon the deck of the shoes of one of them startled
the girl to a sudden appreciation of her danger, but the warning
had come too late.
As she turned, both men leaped upon her and bore her to the deck,
and as she went down beneath them she saw, outlined against the
lesser gloom of the ocean, the figure of another man clamber over
the side of the Kincaid.
After all her pains her heroic struggle for freedom had failed.
With a stifled sob she gave up the unequal battle.
On the Deck of the "Kincaid"
When Mugambi had turned back into the jungle with the pack he had
a definite purpose in view. It was to obtain a dugout wherewith
to transport the beasts of Tarzan to the side of the Kincaid. Nor
was he long in coming upon the object which he sought.
Just at dusk he found a canoe moored to the bank of a small tributary
of the Ugambi at a point where he had felt certain that he should
Without loss of time he piled his hideous fellows into the craft and
shoved out into the stream. So quickly had they taken possession
of the canoe that the warrior had not noticed that it was already
occupied. The huddled figure sleeping in the bottom had entirely
escaped his observation in the darkness of the night that had now
But no sooner were they afloat than a savage growling from one of
the apes directly ahead of him in the dugout attracted his attention
to a shivering and cowering figure that trembled between him and
the great anthropoid. To Mugambi's astonishment he saw that it was
a native woman. With difficulty he kept the ape from her throat,
and after a time succeeded in quelling her fears.
It seemed that she had been fleeing from marriage with an old man
she loathed and had taken refuge for the night in the canoe she
had found upon the river's edge.
Mugambi did not wish her presence, but there she was, and rather
than lose time by returning her to the shore the black permitted
her to remain on board the canoe.
As quickly as his awkward companions could paddle the dugout
down-stream toward the Ugambi and the Kincaid they moved through
the darkness. It was with difficulty that Mugambi could make out
the shadowy form of the steamer, but as he had it between himself
and the ocean it was much more apparent than to one upon either
shore of the river.
As he approached it he was amazed to note that it seemed to be
receding from him, and finally he was convinced that the vessel
was moving down-stream. Just as he was about to urge his creatures
to renewed efforts to overtake the steamer the outline of another
canoe burst suddenly into view not three yards from the bow of his
At the same instant the occupants of the stranger discovered the
proximity of Mugambi's horde, but they did not at first recognize
the nature of the fearful crew. A man in the bow of the oncoming
boat challenged them just as the two dugouts were about to touch.
For answer came the menacing growl of a panther, and the fellow
found himself gazing into the flaming eyes of Sheeta, who had raised
himself with his forepaws upon the bow of the boat, ready to leap
in upon the occupants of the other craft.
Instantly Rokoff realized the peril that confronted him and his
fellows. He gave a quick command to fire upon the occupants of the
other canoe, and it was this volley and the scream of the terrified
native woman in the canoe with Mugambi that both Tarzan and Jane
Before the slower and less skilled paddlers in Mugambi's canoe
could press their advantage and effect a boarding of the enemy the
latter had turned swiftly down-stream and were paddling for their
lives in the direction of the Kincaid, which was now visible to
The vessel after striking upon the bar had swung loose again into
a slow-moving eddy, which returns up-stream close to the southern
shore of the Ugambi only to circle out once more and join the
downward flow a hundred yards or so farther up. Thus the Kincaid
was returning Jane Clayton directly into the hands of her enemies.
It so happened that as Tarzan sprang into the river the vessel was
not visible to him, and as he swam out into the night he had no
idea that a ship drifted so close at hand. He was guided by the
sounds which he could hear coming from the two canoes.
As he swam he had vivid recollections of the last occasion upon
which he had swum in the waters of the Ugambi, and with them a
sudden shudder shook the frame of the giant.
But, though he twice felt something brush his legs from the slimy
depths below him, nothing seized him, and of a sudden he quite
forgot about crocodiles in the astonishment of seeing a dark mass
loom suddenly before him where he had still expected to find the
So close was it that a few strokes brought him up to the thing,
when to his amazement his outstretched hand came in contact with
a ship's side.
As the agile ape-man clambered over the vessel's rail there came
to his sensitive ears the sound of a struggle at the opposite side
of the deck.
Noiselessly he sped across the intervening space.
The moon had risen now, and, though the sky was still banked with
clouds, a lesser darkness enveloped the scene than that which had
blotted out all sight earlier in the night. His keen eyes, therefore,
saw the figures of two men grappling with a woman.
That it was the woman who had accompanied Anderssen toward the
interior he did not know, though he suspected as much, as he was
now quite certain that this was the deck of the Kincaid upon which
chance had led him.
But he wasted little time in idle speculation. There was a woman
in danger of harm from two ruffians, which was enough excuse for
the ape-man to project his giant thews into the conflict without
The first that either of the sailors knew that there was a new
force at work upon the ship was the falling of a mighty hand upon
a shoulder of each. As if they had been in the grip of a fly-wheel,
they were jerked suddenly from their prey.
"What means this?" asked a low voice in their ears.
They were given no time to reply, however, for at the sound of that
voice the young woman had sprung to her feet and with a little cry
of joy leaped toward their assailant.
"Tarzan!" she cried.
The ape-man hurled the two sailors across the deck, where they
rolled, stunned and terrified, into the scuppers upon the opposite
side, and with an exclamation of incredulity gathered the girl into
Brief, however, were the moments for their greeting.
Scarcely had they recognized one another than the clouds above them
parted to show the figures of a half-dozen men clambering over the
side of the Kincaid to the steamer's deck.
Foremost among them was the Russian. As the brilliant rays of
the equatorial moon lighted the deck, and he realized that the man
before him was Lord Greystoke, he screamed hysterical commands to
his followers to fire upon the two.
Tarzan pushed Jane behind the cabin near which they had been standing,
and with a quick bound started for Rokoff. The men behind the
Russian, at least two of them, raised their rifles and fired at the
charging ape-man; but those behind them were otherwise engaged--for
up the monkey-ladder in their rear was thronging a hideous horde.
First came five snarling apes, huge, manlike beasts, with bared
fangs and slavering jaws; and after them a giant black warrior,
his long spear gleaming in the moonlight.
Behind him again scrambled another creature, and of all the horrid
horde it was this they most feared--Sheeta, the panther, with gleaming