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The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part 4 out of 6

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were restrung; and all the while the village witch doctor passed
through the busy throngs disposing of various charms and amulets
designed to protect the possessor from hurt, or bring him good
fortune in the morrow's hunt.

At dawn the hunters were off. There were fifty sleek, black
warriors, and in their midst, lithe and active as a young forest
god, strode Tarzan of the Apes, his brown skin contrasting oddly
with the ebony of his companions. Except for color he was one of
them. His ornaments and weapons were the same as theirs--he spoke
their language--he laughed and joked with them, and leaped and
shouted in the brief wild dance that preceded their departure from
the village, to all intent and purpose a savage among savages.
Nor, had he questioned himself, is it to be doubted that he would
have admitted that he was far more closely allied to these people
and their life than to the Parisian friends whose ways, apelike,
he had successfully mimicked for a few short months.

But he did think of D'Arnot, and a grin of amusement showed his strong
white teeth as he pictured the immaculate Frenchman's expression
could he by some means see Tarzan as he was that minute. Poor
Paul, who had prided himself on having eradicated from his friend
the last traces of wild savagery. "How quickly have I fallen!"
thought Tarzan; but in his heart he did not consider it a fall--rather,
he pitied the poor creatures of Paris, penned up like prisoners in
their silly clothes, and watched by policemen all their poor lives,
that they might do nothing that was not entirely artificial and

A two hours' march brought them close to the vicinity in which
the elephants had been seen the previous day. From there on they
moved very quietly indeed searching for the spoor of the great
beasts. At length they found the well-marked trail along which
the herd had passed not many hours before. In single file they
followed it for about half an hour. It was Tarzan who first raised
his hand in signal that the quarry was at hand--his sensitive nose
had warned him that the elephants were not far ahead of them.

The blacks were skeptical when he told them how he knew.

"Come with me," said Tarzan, "and we shall see."

With the agility of a squirrel he sprang into a tree and ran nimbly
to the top. One of the blacks followed more slowly and carefully.
When he had reached a lofty limb beside the ape-man the latter
pointed to the south, and there, some few hundred yards away, the
black saw a number of huge black backs swaying back and forth above
the top of the lofty jungle grasses. He pointed the direction to
the watchers below, indicating with his fingers the number of beasts
he could count.

Immediately the hunters started toward the elephants. The black in
the tree hastened down, but Tarzan stalked, after his own fashion,
along the leafy way of the middle terrace.

It is no child's play to hunt wild elephants with the crude weapons of
primitive man. Tarzan knew that few native tribes ever attempted
it, and the fact that his tribe did so gave him no little pride--already
he was commencing to think of himself as a member of the little
community. As Tarzan moved silently through the trees he saw the
warriors below creeping in a half circle upon the still unsuspecting
elephants. Finally they were within sight of the great beasts.
Now they singled out two large tuskers, and at a signal the fifty
men rose from the ground where they had lain concealed, and hurled
their heavy war spears at the two marked beasts. There was not a
single miss; twenty-five spears were embedded in the sides of each
of the giant animals. One never moved from the spot where it stood
when the avalanche of spears struck it, for two, perfectly aimed,
had penetrated its heart, and it lunged forward upon its knees,
rolling to the ground without a struggle.

The other, standing nearly head-on toward the hunters, had not proved
so good a mark, and though every spear struck not one entered the
great heart. For a moment the huge bull stood trumpeting in rage
and pain, casting about with its little eyes for the author of its
hurt. The blacks had faded into the jungle before the weak eyes
of the monster had fallen upon any of them, but now he caught the
sound of their retreat, and, amid a terrific crashing of underbrush
and branches, he charged in the direction of the noise.

It so happened that chance sent him in the direction of Busuli,
whom he was overtaking so rapidly that it was as though the black
were standing still instead of racing at full speed to escape the
certain death which pursued him. Tarzan had witnessed the entire
performance from the branches of a nearby tree, and now that he saw
his friend's peril he raced toward the infuriated beast with loud
cries, hoping to distract him.

But it had been as well had he saved his breath, for the brute was
deaf and blind to all else save the particular object of his rage
that raced futilely before him. And now Tarzan saw that only a
miracle could save Busuli, and with the same unconcern with which
he had once hunted this very man he hurled himself into the path
of the elephant to save the black warrior's life.

He still grasped his spear, and while Tantor was yet six or eight
paces behind his prey, a sinewy white warrior dropped as from the
heavens, almost directly in his path. With a vicious lunge the
elephant swerved to the right to dispose of this temerarious foeman
who dared intervene between himself and his intended victim; but
he had not reckoned on the lightning quickness that could galvanize
those steel muscles into action so marvelously swift as to baffle
even a keener eyesight than Tantor's.

And so it happened that before the elephant realized that his new
enemy had leaped from his path Tarzan had driven his iron-shod spear
from behind the massive shoulder straight into the fierce heart,
and the colossal pachyderm had toppled to his death at the feet of
the ape-man.

Busuli had not beheld the manner of his deliverance, but Waziri,
the old chief, had seen, and several of the other warriors, and
they hailed Tarzan with delight as they swarmed about him and his
great kill. When he leaped upon the mighty carcass, and gave voice
to the weird challenge with which he announced a great victory,
the blacks shrank back in fear, for to them it marked the brutal
Bolgani, whom they feared fully as much as they feared Numa, the
lion; but with a fear with which was mixed a certain uncanny awe
of the manlike thing to which they attributed supernatural powers.

But when Tarzan lowered his raised head and smiled upon them they
were reassured, though they did not understand. Nor did they ever
fully understand this strange creature who ran through the trees
as quickly as Manu, yet was even more at home upon the ground than
themselves; who was except as to color like unto themselves, yet as
powerful as ten of them, and singlehanded a match for the fiercest
denizens of the fierce jungle.

When the remainder of the warriors had gathered, the hunt was again
taken up and the stalking of the retreating herd once more begun;
but they had covered a bare hundred yards when from behind them,
at a great distance, sounded faintly a strange popping.

For an instant they stood like a group of statuary, intently
listening. Then Tarzan spoke.

"Guns!" he said. "The village is being attacked."

"Come!" cried Waziri. "The Arab raiders have returned with their
cannibal slaves for our ivory and our women!"

Chapter 16

The Ivory Raiders

Waziri's warriors marched at a rapid trot through the jungle in the
direction of the village. For a few minutes, the sharp cracking of
guns ahead warned them to haste, but finally the reports dwindled
to an occasional shot, presently ceasing altogether. Nor was this
less ominous than the rattle of musketry, for it suggested but
a single solution to the little band of rescuers--that the illy
garrisoned village had already succumbed to the onslaught of a
superior force.

The returning hunters had covered a little more than three miles
of the five that had separated them from the village when they met
the first of the fugitives who had escaped the bullets and clutches
of the foe. There were a dozen women, youths, and girls in the
party, and so excited were they that they could scarce make themselves
understood as they tried to relate to Waziri the calamity that had
befallen his people.

"They are as many as the leaves of the forest," cried one of the
women, in attempting to explain the enemy's force. "There are many
Arabs and countless Manyuema, and they all have guns. They crept
close to the village before we knew that they were about, and then,
with many shouts, they rushed in upon us, shooting down men, and
women, and children. Those of us who could fled in all directions
into the jungle, but more were killed. I do not know whether they
took any prisoners or not--they seemed only bent upon killing us
all. The Manyuema called us many names, saying that they would eat
us all before they left our country--that this was our punishment
for killing their friends last year. I did not hear much, for I
ran away quickly."

The march toward the village was now resumed, more slowly and with
greater stealth, for Waziri knew that it was too late to rescue--their
only mission could be one of revenge. Inside the next mile a hundred
more fugitives were met. There were many men among these, and so
the fighting strength of the party was augmented.

Now a dozen warriors were sent creeping ahead to reconnoiter.
Waziri remained with the main body, which advanced in a thin line
that spread in a great crescent through the forest. By the chief's
side walked Tarzan.

Presently one of the scouts returned. He had come within sight of
the village.

"They are all within the palisade," he whispered.

"Good!" said Waziri. "We shall rush in upon them and slay them
all," and he made ready to send word along the line that they were
to halt at the edge of the clearing until they saw him rush toward
the village--then all were to follow.

"Wait!" cautioned Tarzan. "If there are even fifty guns within
the palisade we shall be repulsed and slaughtered. Let me go alone
through the trees, so that I may look down upon them from above,
and see just how many there be, and what chance we might have were
we to charge. It were foolish to lose a single man needlessly if
there be no hope of success. I have an idea that we can accomplish
more by cunning than by force. Will you wait, Waziri?"

"Yes," said the old chief. "Go!"

So Tarzan sprang into the trees and disappeared in the direction
of the village. He moved more cautiously than was his wont, for
he knew that men with guns could reach him quite as easily in the
treetops as on the ground. And when Tarzan of the Apes elected to
adopt stealth, no creature in all the jungle could move so silently
or so completely efface himself from the sight of an enemy.

In five minutes he had wormed his way to the great tree that
overhung the palisade at one end of the village, and from his point
of vantage looked down upon the savage horde beneath. He counted
fifty Arabs and estimated that there were five times as many
Manyuema. The latter were gorging themselves upon food and, under
the very noses of their white masters, preparing the gruesome feast
which is the PIECE DE RESISTANCE that follows a victory in which
the bodies of their slain enemies fall into their horrid hands.

The ape-man saw that to charge that wild horde, armed as they were
with guns, and barricaded behind the locked gates of the village,
would be a futile task, and so he returned to Waziri and advised
him to wait; that he, Tarzan, had a better plan.

But a moment before one of the fugitives had related to Waziri
the story of the atrocious murder of the old chief's wife, and so
crazed with rage was the old man that he cast discretion to the
winds. Calling his warriors about him, he commanded them to charge,
and, with brandishing spears and savage yells, the little force of
scarcely more than a hundred dashed madly toward the village gates.
Before the clearing had been half crossed the Arabs opened up a
withering fire from behind the palisade.

With the first volley Waziri fell. The speed of the chargers
slackened. Another volley brought down a half dozen more. A few
reached the barred gates, only to be shot in their tracks, without
the ghost of a chance to gain the inside of the palisade, and then
the whole attack crumpled, and the remaining warriors scampered
back into the forest. As they ran the raiders opened the gates,
rushing after them, to complete the day's work with the utter
extermination of the tribe. Tarzan had been among the last to turn
back toward the forest, and now, as he ran slowly, he turned from
time to time to speed a well-aimed arrow into the body of a pursuer.

Once within the jungle, he found a little knot of determined blacks
waiting to give battle to the oncoming horde, but Tarzan cried to
them to scatter, keeping out of harm's way until they could gather
in force after dark.

"Do as I tell you," he urged, "and I will lead you to victory over
these enemies of yours. Scatter through the forest, picking up as
many stragglers as you can find, and at night, if you think that
you have been followed, come by roundabout ways to the spot where
we killed the elephants today. Then I will explain my plan, and
you will find that it is good. You cannot hope to pit your puny
strength and simple weapons against the numbers and the guns of
the Arabs and the Manyuema."

They finally assented. "When you scatter," explained Tarzan, in
conclusion, "your foes will have to scatter to follow you, and so
it may happen that if you are watchful you can drop many a Manyuema
with your arrows from behind some great trees."

They had barely time to hasten away farther into the forest before
the first of the raiders had crossed the clearing and entered it
in pursuit of them.

Tarzan ran a short distance along the ground before he took to the
trees. Then he raced quickly to the upper terrace, there doubling
on his tracks and making his way rapidly back toward the village.
Here he found that every Arab and Manyuema had joined in the pursuit,
leaving the village deserted except for the chained prisoners and
a single guard.

The sentry stood at the open gate, looking in the direction of
the forest, so that he did not see the agile giant that dropped to
the ground at the far end of the village street. With drawn bow
the ape-man crept stealthily toward his unsuspecting victim. The
prisoners had already discovered him, and with wide eyes filled with
wonder and with hope they watched their would-be rescuer. Now he
halted not ten paces from the unconscious Manyuema. The shaft was
drawn back its full length at the height of the keen gray eye that
sighted along its polished surface. There was a sudden twang as the
brown fingers released their hold, and without a sound the raider
sank forward upon his face, a wooden shaft transfixing his heart
and protruding a foot from his black chest.

Then Tarzan turned his attention to the fifty women and youths chained
neck to neck on the long slave chain. There was no releasing of
the ancient padlocks in the time that was left him, so the ape-man
called to them to follow him as they were, and, snatching the gun
and cartridge belt from the dead sentry, he led the now happy band
out through the village gate and into the forest upon the far side
of the clearing.

It was a slow and arduous march, for the slave chain was new to
these people, and there were many delays as one of their number
would stumble and fall, dragging others down with her. Then, too,
Tarzan had been forced to make a wide detour to avoid any possibility
of meeting with returning raiders. He was partially guided by
occasional shots which indicated that the Arab horde was still in
touch with the villagers; but he knew that if they would but follow
his advice there would be but few casualties other than on the side
of the marauders.

Toward dusk the firing ceased entirely, and Tarzan knew that the
Arabs had all returned to the village. He could scarce repress a
smile of triumph as he thought of their rage on discovering that
their guard had been killed and their prisoners taken away. Tarzan
had wished that he might have taken some of the great store of
ivory the village contained, solely for the purpose of still further
augmenting the wrath of his enemies; but he knew that that was not
necessary for its salvation, since he already had a plan mapped
out which would effectually prevent the Arabs leaving the country
with a single tusk. And it would have been cruel to have needlessly
burdened these poor, overwrought women with the extra weight of
the heavy ivory.

It was after midnight when Tarzan, with his slow-moving caravan,
approached the spot where the elephants lay. Long before they
reached it they had been guided by the huge fire the natives had
built in the center of a hastily improvised BOMA, partially for
warmth and partially to keep off chance lions.

When they had come close to the encampment Tarzan called aloud to
let them know that friends were coming. It was a joyous reception
the little party received when the blacks within the BOMA saw the
long file of fettered friends and relatives enter the firelight.
These had all been given up as lost forever, as had Tarzan as well,
so that the happy blacks would have remained awake all night to
feast on elephant meat and celebrate the return of their fellows,
had not Tarzan insisted that they take what sleep they could,
against the work of the coming day.

At that, sleep was no easy matter, for the women who had lost their
men or their children in the day's massacre and battle made night
hideous with their continued wailing and howling. Finally, however,
Tarzan succeeded in silencing them, on the plea that their noise
would attract the Arabs to their hiding-place, when all would be

When dawn came Tarzan explained his plan of battle to the warriors,
and without demur one and all agreed that it was the safest and
surest way in which to rid themselves of their unwelcome visitors
and be revenged for the murder of their fellows.

First the women and children, with a guard of some twenty old
warriors and youths, were started southward, to be entirely out
of the zone of danger. They had instructions to erect temporary
shelter and construct a protecting BOMA of thorn bush; for the plan
of campaign which Tarzan had chosen was one which might stretch
out over many days, or even weeks, during which time the warriors
would not return to the new camp.

Two hours after daylight a thin circle of black warriors surrounded
the village. At intervals one was perched high in the branches
of a tree which could overlook the palisade. Presently a Manyuema
within the village fell, pierced by a single arrow. There had been
no sound of attack--none of the hideous war-cries or vainglorious
waving of menacing spears that ordinarily marks the attack of
savages--just a silent messenger of death from out of the silent

The Arabs and their followers were thrown into a fine rage at this
unprecedented occurrence. They ran for the gates, to wreak dire
vengeance upon the foolhardy perpetrator of the outrage; but they
suddenly realized that they did not know which way to turn to find
the foe. As they stood debating with many angry shouts and much
gesticulating, one of the Arabs sank silently to the ground in
their very midst--a thin arrow protruding from his heart.

Tarzan had placed the finest marksmen of the tribe in the surrounding
trees, with directions never to reveal themselves while the enemy
was faced in their direction. As a black released his messenger
of death he would slink behind the sheltering stem of the tree he
had selected, nor would he again aim until a watchful eye told him
that none was looking toward his tree.

Three times the Arabs started across the clearing in the direction
from which they thought the arrows came, but each time another arrow
would come from behind to take its toll from among their number.
Then they would turn and charge in a new direction. Finally they
set out upon a determined search of the forest, but the blacks
melted before them, so that they saw no sign of an enemy.

But above them lurked a grim figure in the dense foliage of the
mighty trees--it was Tarzan of the Apes, hovering over them as if
he had been the shadow of death. Presently a Manyuema forged ahead
of his companions; there was none to see from what direction death
came, and so it came quickly, and a moment later those behind
stumbled over the dead body of their comrade--the inevitable arrow
piercing the still heart.

It does not take a great deal of this manner of warfare to get
upon the nerves of white men, and so it is little to be wondered at
that the Manyuema were soon panic-stricken. Did one forge ahead an
arrow found his heart; did one lag behind he never again was seen
alive; did one stumble to one side, even for a bare moment from
the sight of his fellows, he did not return--and always when they
came upon the bodies of their dead they found those terrible arrows
driven with the accuracy of superhuman power straight through the
victim's heart. But worse than all else was the hideous fact that
not once during the morning had they seen or heard the slightest
sign of an enemy other than the pitiless arrows.

When finally they returned to the village it was no better. Every
now and then, at varying intervals that were maddening in the
terrible suspense they caused, a man would plunge forward dead.
The blacks besought their masters to leave this terrible place, but
the Arabs feared to take up the march through the grim and hostile
forest beset by this new and terrible enemy while laden with the
great store of ivory they had found within the village; but, worse
yet, they hated to leave the ivory behind.

Finally the entire expedition took refuge within the thatched
huts--here, at least, they would be free from the arrows. Tarzan,
from the tree above the village, had marked the hut into which the
chief Arabs had gone, and, balancing himself upon an overhanging
limb, he drove his heavy spear with all the force of his giant
muscles through the thatched roof. A howl of pain told him that it
had found a mark. With this parting salute to convince them that
there was no safety for them anywhere within the country, Tarzan
returned to the forest, collected his warriors, and withdrew a mile
to the south to rest and eat. He kept sentries in several trees
that commanded a view of the trail toward the village, but there
was no pursuit.

An inspection of his force showed not a single casualty--not even
a minor wound; while rough estimates of the enemies' loss convinced
the blacks that no fewer than twenty had fallen before their arrows.
They were wild with elation, and were for finishing the day in one
glorious rush upon the village, during which they would slaughter
the last of their foemen. They were even picturing the various
tortures they would inflict, and gloating over the suffering of the
Manyuema, for whom they entertained a peculiar hatred, when Tarzan
put his foot down flatly upon the plan.

"You are crazy!" he cried. "I have shown you the only way to fight
these people. Already you have killed twenty of them without the
loss of a single warrior, whereas, yesterday, following your own
tactics, which you would now renew, you lost at least a dozen,
and killed not a single Arab or Manyuema. You will fight just as
I tell you to fight, or I shall leave you and go back to my own

They were frightened when he threatened this, and promised to obey
him scrupulously if he would but promise not to desert them.

"Very well," he said. "We shall return to the elephant BOMA for
the night. I have a plan to give the Arabs a little taste of what
they may expect if they remain in our country, but I shall need
no help. Come! If they suffer no more for the balance of the day
they will feel reassured, and the relapse into fear will be even
more nerve-racking than as though we continued to frighten them
all afternoon."

So they marched back to their camp of the previous night, and,
lighting great fires, ate and recounted the adventures of the day
until long after dark. Tarzan slept until midnight, then he arose
and crept into the Cimmerian blackness of the forest. An hour later
he came to the edge of the clearing before the village. There was
a camp-fire burning within the palisade. The ape-man crept across
the clearing until he stood before the barred gates. Through the
interstices he saw a lone sentry sitting before the fire.

Quietly Tarzan went to the tree at the end of the village street.
He climbed softly to his place, and fitted an arrow to his bow.
For several minutes he tried to sight fairly upon the sentry, but
the waving branches and flickering firelight convinced him that
the danger of a miss was too great--he must touch the heart full
in the center to bring the quiet and sudden death his plan required.

He had brought, besides, his bow, arrows, and rope, the gun he had
taken the previous day from the other sentry he had killed. Caching
all these in a convenient crotch of the tree, he dropped lightly
to the ground within the palisade, armed only with his long knife.
The sentry's back was toward him. Like a cat Tarzan crept upon the
dozing man. He was within two paces of him now--another instant
and the knife would slide silently into the fellow's heart.

Tarzan crouched for a spring, for that is ever the quickest and
surest attack of the jungle beast--when the man, warned, by some
subtle sense, sprang to his feet and faced the ape-man.

Chapter 17

The White Chief of the Waziri

When the eyes of the black Manyuema savage fell upon the strange
apparition that confronted him with menacing knife they went wide
in horror. He forgot the gun within his hands; he even forgot to
cry out--his one thought was to escape this fearsome-looking white
savage, this giant of a man upon whose massive rolling muscles and
mighty chest the flickering firelight played.

But before he could turn Tarzan was upon him, and then the sentry
thought to scream for aid, but it was too late. A great hand was
upon his windpipe, and he was being borne to the earth. He battled
furiously but futilely--with the grim tenacity of a bulldog those
awful fingers were clinging to his throat. Swiftly and surely life
was being choked from him. His eyes bulged, his tongue protruded,
his face turned to a ghastly purplish hue--there was a convulsive
tremor of the stiffening muscles, and the Manyuema sentry lay quite

The ape-man threw the body across one of his broad shoulders and,
gathering up the fellow's gun, trotted silently up the sleeping
village street toward the tree that gave him such easy ingress to
the palisaded village. He bore the dead sentry into the midst of
the leafy maze above.

First he stripped the body of cartridge belt and such ornaments
as he craved, wedging it into a convenient crotch while his nimble
fingers ran over it in search of the loot he could not plainly see
in the dark. When he had finished he took the gun that had belonged
to the man, and walked far out upon a limb, from the end of which
he could obtain a better view of the huts. Drawing a careful bead
on the beehive structure in which he knew the chief Arabs to be,
he pulled the trigger. Almost instantly there was an answering
groan. Tarzan smiled. He had made another lucky hit.

Following the shot there was a moment's silence in the camp, and
then Manyuema and Arab came pouring from the huts like a swarm
of angry hornets; but if the truth were known they were even more
frightened than they were angry. The strain of the preceding day
had wrought upon the fears of both black and white, and now this
single shot in the night conjured all manner of terrible conjectures
in their terrified minds.

When they discovered that their sentry had disappeared, their fears
were in no way allayed, and as though to bolster their courage by
warlike actions, they began to fire rapidly at the barred gates of
the village, although no enemy was in sight. Tarzan took advantage
of the deafening roar of this fusillade to fire into the mob beneath

No one heard his shot above the din of rattling musketry in the
street, but some who were standing close saw one of their number
crumple suddenly to the earth. When they leaned over him he was
dead. They were panic-stricken, and it took all the brutal authority
of the Arabs to keep the Manyuema from rushing helter-skelter into
the jungle--anywhere to escape from this terrible village.

After a time they commenced to quiet down, and as no further
mysterious deaths occurred among them they took heart again. But
it was a short-lived respite, for just as they had concluded that
they would not be disturbed again Tarzan gave voice to a weird
moan, and as the raiders looked up in the direction from which the
sound seemed to come, the ape-man, who stood swinging the dead body
of the sentry gently to and fro, suddenly shot the corpse far out
above their heads.

With howls of alarm the throng broke in all directions to escape
this new and terrible creature who seemed to be springing upon
them. To their fear-distorted imaginations the body of the sentry,
falling with wide-sprawled arms and legs, assumed the likeness of
a great beast of prey. In their anxiety to escape, many of the
blacks scaled the palisade, while others tore down the bars from
the gates and rushed madly across the clearing toward the jungle.

For a time no one turned back toward the thing that had frightened
them, but Tarzan knew that they would in a moment, and when they
discovered that it was but the dead body of their sentry, while
they would doubtless be still further terrified, he had a rather
definite idea as to what they would do, and so he faded silently
away toward the south, taking the moonlit upper terrace back toward
the camp of the Waziri.

Presently one of the Arabs turned and saw that the thing that had
leaped from the tree upon them lay still and quiet where it had
fallen in the center of the village street. Cautiously he crept
back toward it until he saw that it was but a man. A moment later
he was beside the figure, and in another had recognized it as the
corpse of the Manyuema who had stood on guard at the village gate.

His companions rapidly gathered around at his call, and after a
moment's excited conversation they did precisely what Tarzan had
reasoned they would. Raising their guns to their shoulders, they
poured volley after volley into the tree from which the corpse had
been thrown--had Tarzan remained there he would have been riddled
by a hundred bullets.

When the Arabs and Manyuema discovered that the only marks of violence
upon the body of their dead comrade were giant finger prints upon
his swollen throat they were again thrown into deeper apprehension
and despair. That they were not even safe within a palisaded
village at night came as a distinct shock to them. That an enemy
could enter into the midst of their camp and kill their sentry
with bare hands seemed outside the bounds of reason, and so the
superstitious Manyuema commenced to attribute their ill luck to
supernatural causes; nor were the Arabs able to offer any better

With at least fifty of their number flying through the black jungle,
and without the slightest knowledge of when their uncanny foemen
might resume the cold-blooded slaughter they had commenced, it was
a desperate band of cut-throats that waited sleeplessly for the
dawn. Only on the promise of the Arabs that they would leave the
village at daybreak, and hasten onward toward their own land, would
the remaining Manyuema consent to stay at the village a moment
longer. Not even fear of their cruel masters was sufficient to
overcome this new terror.

And so it was that when Tarzan and his warriors returned to the
attack the next morning they found the raiders prepared to march
out of the village. The Manyuema were laden with stolen ivory.
As Tarzan saw it he grinned, for he knew that they would not carry
it far. Then he saw something which caused him anxiety--a number
of the Manyuema were lighting torches in the remnant of the camp-fire.
They were about to fire the village.

Tarzan was perched in a tall tree some hundred yards from the
palisade. Making a trumpet of his hands, he called loudly in the
Arab tongue: "Do not fire the huts, or we shall kill you all! Do
not fire the huts, or we shall kill you all!"

A dozen times he repeated it. The Manyuema hesitated, then one of
them flung his torch into the campfire. The others were about to
do the same when an Arab sprung upon them with a stick, beating them
toward the huts. Tarzan could see that he was commanding them to
fire the little thatched dwellings. Then he stood erect upon the
swaying branch a hundred feet above the ground, and, raising one
of the Arab guns to his shoulder, took careful aim and fired. With
the report the Arab who was urging on his men to burn the village
fell in his tracks, and the Manyuema threw away their torches and
fled from the village. The last Tarzan saw of them they were racing
toward the jungle, while their former masters knelt upon the ground
and fired at them.

But however angry the Arabs might have been at the insubordination
of their slaves, they were at least convinced that it would be the
better part of wisdom to forego the pleasure of firing the village
that had given them two such nasty receptions. In their hearts,
however, they swore to return again with such force as would enable
them to sweep the entire country for miles around, until no vestige
of human life remained.

They had looked in vain for the owner of the voice which had
frightened off the men who had been detailed to put the torch to
the huts, but not even the keenest eye among them had been able to
locate him. They had seen the puff of smoke from the tree following
the shot that brought down the Arab, but, though a volley had
immediately been loosed into its foliage, there had been no indication
that it had been effective.

Tarzan was too intelligent to be caught in any such trap, and so
the report of his shot had scarcely died away before the ape-man
was on the ground and racing for another tree a hundred yards away.
Here he again found a suitable perch from which he could watch
the preparations of the raiders. It occurred to him that he might
have considerable more fun with them, so again he called to them
through his improvised trumpet.

"Leave the ivory!" he cried. "Leave the ivory! Dead men have no
use for ivory!"

Some of the Manyuema started to lay down their loads, but this was
altogether too much for the avaricious Arabs. With loud shouts
and curses they aimed their guns full upon the bearers, threatening
instant death to any who might lay down his load. They could give
up firing the village, but the thought of abandoning this enormous
fortune in ivory was quite beyond their conception--better death
than that.

And so they marched out of the village of the Waziri, and on the
shoulders of their slaves was the ivory ransom of a score of kings.
Toward the north they marched, back toward their savage settlement
in the wild and unknown country which lies back from the Kongo in
the uttermost depths of The Great Forest, and on either side of
them traveled an invisible and relentless foe.

Under Tarzan's guidance the black Waziri warriors stationed themselves
along the trail on either side in the densest underbrush. They
stood at far intervals, and, as the column passed, a single arrow
or a heavy spear, well aimed, would pierce a Manyuema or an Arab.
Then the Waziri would melt into the distance and run ahead to take
his stand farther on. They did not strike unless success were
sure and the danger of detection almost nothing, and so the arrows
and the spears were few and far between, but so persistent and
inevitable that the slow-moving column of heavy-laden raiders was
in a constant state of panic--panic at the uncertainty of who the
next would be to fall, and when.

It was with the greatest difficulty that the Arabs prevented their
men a dozen times from throwing away their burdens and fleeing like
frightened rabbits up the trail toward the north. And so the day
wore on--a frightful nightmare of a day for the raiders--a day
of weary but well-repaid work for the Waziri. At night the Arabs
constructed a rude BOMA in a little clearing by a river, and went
into camp.

At intervals during the night a rifle would bark close above their
heads, and one of the dozen sentries which they now had posted
would tumble to the ground. Such a condition was insupportable,
for they saw that by means of these hideous tactics they would be
completely wiped out, one by one, without inflicting a single death
upon their enemy. But yet, with the persistent avariciousness of
the white man, the Arabs clung to their loot, and when morning came
forced the demoralized Manyuema to take up their burdens of death
and stagger on into the jungle.

For three days the withering column kept up its frightful march.
Each hour was marked by its deadly arrow or cruel spear. The
nights were made hideous by the barking of the invisible gun that
made sentry duty equivalent to a death sentence.

On the morning of the fourth day the Arabs were compelled to shoot
two of their blacks before they could compel the balance to take
up the hated ivory, and as they did so a voice rang out, clear and
strong, from the jungle: "Today you die, oh, Manyuema, unless you
lay down the ivory. Fall upon your cruel masters and kill them!
You have guns, why do you not use them? Kill the Arabs, and we
will not harm you. We will take you back to our village and feed
you, and lead you out of our country in safety and in peace. Lay
down the ivory, and fall upon your masters--we will help you. Else
you die!"

As the voice died down the raiders stood as though turned to stone.
The Arabs eyed their Manyuema slaves; the slaves looked first at
one of their fellows, and then at another--they were but waiting
for some one to take the initiative. There were some thirty Arabs
left, and about one hundred and fifty blacks. All were armed--even
those who were acting as porters had their rifles slung across
their backs.

The Arabs drew together. The sheik ordered the Manyuema to take
up the march, and as he spoke he cocked his rifle and raised it.
But at the same instant one of the blacks threw down his load, and,
snatching his rifle from his back, fired point-black at the group
of Arabs. In an instant the camp was a cursing, howling mass of
demons, fighting with guns and knives and pistols. The Arabs stood
together, and defended their lives valiantly, but with the rain of
lead that poured upon them from their own slaves, and the shower
of arrows and spears which now leaped from the surrounding jungle
aimed solely at them, there was little question from the first
what the outcome would be. In ten minutes from the time the first
porter had thrown down his load the last of the Arabs lay dead.

When the firing had ceased Tarzan spoke again to the Manyuema:

"Take up our ivory, and return it to our village, from whence you
stole it. We shall not harm you."

For a moment the Manyuema hesitated. They had no stomach to
retrace that difficult three days' trail. They talked together in
low whispers, and one turned toward the jungle, calling aloud to
the voice that had spoken to them from out of the foliage.

"How do we know that when you have us in your village you will not
kill us all?" he asked.

"You do not know," replied Tarzan, "other than that we have promised
not to harm you if you will return our ivory to us. But this you
do know, that it lies within our power to kill you all if you do
not return as we direct, and are we not more likely to do so if
you anger us than if you do as we bid?"

"Who are you that speaks the tongue of our Arab masters?" cried
the Manyuema spokesman. "Let us see you, and then we shall give
you our answer."

Tarzan stepped out of the jungle a dozen paces from them.

"Look!" he said. When they saw that he was white they were filled
with awe, for never had they seen a white savage before, and at
his great muscles and giant frame they were struck with wonder and

"You may trust me," said Tarzan. "So long as you do as I tell
you, and harm none of my people, we shall do you no hurt. Will you
take up our ivory and return in peace to our village, or shall we
follow along your trail toward the north as we have followed for
the past three days?"

The recollection of the horrid days that had just passed was the
thing that finally decided the Manyuema, and so, after a short
conference, they took up their burdens and set off to retrace their
steps toward the village of the Waziri. At the end of the third
day they marched into the village gate, and were greeted by the
survivors of the recent massacre, to whom Tarzan had sent a messenger
in their temporary camp to the south on the day that the raiders
had quitted the village, telling them that they might return in

It took all the mastery and persuasion that Tarzan possessed
to prevent the Waziri falling on the Manyuema tooth and nail, and
tearing them to pieces, but when he had explained that he had given
his word that they would not be molested if they carried the ivory
back to the spot from which they had stolen it, and had further
impressed upon his people that they owed their entire victory to
him, they finally acceded to his demands, and allowed the cannibals
to rest in peace within their palisade.

That night the village warriors held a big palaver to celebrate
their victories, and to choose a new chief. Since old Waziri's
death Tarzan had been directing the warriors in battle, and the
temporary command had been tacitly conceded to him. There had been
no time to choose a new chief from among their own number, and, in
fact, so remarkably successful had they been under the ape-man's
generalship that they had had no wish to delegate the supreme
authority to another for fear that what they already had gained
might be lost. They had so recently seen the results of running
counter to this savage white man's advice in the disastrous charge
ordered by Waziri, in which he himself had died, that it had not
been difficult for them to accept Tarzan's authority as final.

The principal warriors sat in a circle about a small fire to discuss
the relative merits of whomever might be suggested as old Waziri's
successor. It was Busuli who spoke first:

"Since Waziri is dead, leaving no son, there is but one among
us whom we know from experience is fitted to make us a good king.
There is only one who has proved that he can successfully lead us
against the guns of the white man, and bring us easy victory without
the loss of a single life. There is only one, and that is the
white man who has led us for the past few days," and Busuli sprang
to his feet, and with uplifted spear and half-bent, crouching body
commenced to dance slowly about Tarzan, chanting in time to his
steps: "Waziri, king of the Waziri; Waziri, killer of Arabs; Waziri,
king of the Waziri."

One by one the other warriors signified their acceptance of Tarzan
as their king by joining in the solemn dance. The women came and
squatted about the rim of the circle, beating upon tom-toms, clapping
their hands in time to the steps of the dancers, and joining in the
chant of the warriors. In the center of the circle sat Tarzan of
the Apes--Waziri, king of the Waziri, for, like his predecessor,
he was to take the name of his tribe as his own.

Faster and faster grew the pace of the dancers, louder and louder
their wild and savage shouts. The women rose and fell in unison,
shrieking now at the tops of their voices. The spears were brandishing
fiercely, and as the dancers stooped down and beat their shields
upon the hard-tramped earth of the village street the whole sight
was as terribly primeval and savage as though it were being staged
in the dim dawn of humanity, countless ages in the past.

As the excitement waxed the ape-man sprang to his feet and joined
in the wild ceremony. In the center of the circle of glittering
black bodies he leaped and roared and shook his heavy spear in
the same mad abandon that enthralled his fellow savages. The last
remnant of his civilization was forgotten--he was a primitive man
to the fullest now; reveling in the freedom of the fierce, wild
life he loved, gloating in his kingship among these wild blacks.

Ah, if Olga de Coude had but seen him then--could she have
recognized the well-dressed, quiet young man whose well-bred face
and irreproachable manners had so captivated her but a few short
months ago? And Jane Porter! Would she have still loved this savage
warrior chieftain, dancing naked among his naked savage subjects?
And D'Arnot! Could D'Arnot have believed that this was the same
man he had introduced into half a dozen of the most select clubs
of Paris? What would his fellow peers in the House of Lords have
said had one pointed to this dancing giant, with his barbaric
headdress and his metal ornaments, and said: "There, my lords, is
John Clayton, Lord Greystoke."

And so Tarzan of the Apes came into a real kingship among men--slowly
but surely was he following the evolution of his ancestors, for
had he not started at the very bottom?

Chapter 18

The Lottery of Death

Jane Porter had been the first of those in the lifeboat to awaken
the morning after the wreck of the LADY ALICE. The other members
of the party were asleep upon the thwarts or huddled in cramped
positions in the bottom of the boat.

When the girl realized that they had become separated from the other
boats she was filled with alarm. The sense of utter loneliness
and helplessness which the vast expanse of deserted ocean aroused
in her was so depressing that, from the first, contemplation of
the future held not the slightest ray of promise for her. She was
confident that they were lost--lost beyond possibility of succor.

Presently Clayton awoke. It was several minutes before he could
gather his senses sufficiently to realize where he was, or recall
the disaster of the previous night. Finally his bewildered eyes
fell upon the girl.

"Jane!" he cried. "Thank God that we are together!"

"Look," said the girl dully, indicating the horizon with an apathetic
gesture. "We are all alone."

Clayton scanned the water in every direction.

"Where can they be?" he cried. "They cannot have gone down, for
there has been no sea, and they were afloat after the yacht sank--I
saw them all."

He awoke the other members of the party, and explained their plight.

"It is just as well that the boats are scattered, sir," said one of
the sailors. "They are all provisioned, so that they do not need
each other on that score, and should a storm blow up they could
be of no service to one another even if they were together, but
scattered about the ocean there is a much better chance that one at
least will be picked up, and then a search will be at once started
for the others. Were we together there would be but one chance of
rescue, where now there may be four."

They saw the wisdom of his philosophy, and were cheered by it, but
their joy was short-lived, for when it was decided that they should
row steadily toward the east and the continent, it was discovered
that the sailors who had been at the only two oars with which the
boat had been provided had fallen asleep at their work, and allowed
both to slip into the sea, nor were they in sight anywhere upon
the water.

During the angry words and recriminations which followed the sailors
nearly came to blows, but Clayton succeeded in quieting them; though
a moment later Monsieur Thuran almost precipitated another row by
making a nasty remark about the stupidity of all Englishmen, and
especially English sailors.

"Come, come, mates," spoke up one of the men, Tompkins, who had
taken no part in the altercation, "shootin' off our bloomin' mugs
won't get us nothin'. As Spider 'ere said afore, we'll all bloody
well be picked up, anyway, sez 'e, so wot's the use o' squabblin'?
Let's eat, sez I."

"That's not a bad idea," said Monsieur Thuran, and then, turning
to the third sailor, Wilson, he said: "Pass one of those tins aft,
my good man."

"Fetch it yerself," retorted Wilson sullenly. "I ain't a-takin'
no orders from no--furriner--you ain't captain o' this ship yet."

The result was that Clayton himself had to get the tin, and then
another angry altercation ensued when one of the sailors accused
Clayton and Monsieur Thuran of conspiring to control the provisions
so that they could have the lion's share.

"Some one should take command of this boat," spoke up Jane Porter,
thoroughly disgusted with the disgraceful wrangling that had marked
the very opening of a forced companionship that might last for many
days. "It is terrible enough to be alone in a frail boat on the
Atlantic, without having the added misery and danger of constant
bickering and brawling among the members of our party. You
men should elect a leader, and then abide by his decisions in all
matters. There is greater need for strict discipline here than
there is upon a well-ordered ship."

She had hoped before she voiced her sentiments that it would not
be necessary for her to enter into the transaction at all, for she
believed that Clayton was amply able to cope with every emergency,
but she had to admit that so far at least he had shown no greater
promise of successfully handling the situation than any of the
others, though he had at least refrained from adding in any way
to the unpleasantness, even going so far as to give up the tin to
the sailors when they objected to its being opened by him.

The girl's words temporarily quieted the men, and finally it was
decided that the two kegs of water and the four tins of food should
be divided into two parts, one-half going forward to the three
sailors to do with as they saw best, and the balance aft to the
three passengers.

Thus was the little company divided into two camps, and when the
provisions had been apportioned each immediately set to work to
open and distribute food and water. The sailors were the first to
get one of the tins of "food" open, and their curses of rage and
disappointment caused Clayton to ask what the trouble might be.

"Trouble!" shrieked Spider. "Trouble! It's worse than trouble--it's
death! This---tin is full of coal oil!"

Hastily now Clayton and Monsieur Thuran tore open one of theirs,
only to learn the hideous truth that it also contained, not food,
but coal oil. One after another the four tins on board were opened.
And as the contents of each became known howls of anger announced
the grim truth--there was not an ounce of food upon the boat.

"Well, thank Gawd it wasn't the water," cried Thompkins. "It's
easier to get along without food than it is without water. We can
eat our shoes if worse comes to worst, but we couldn't drink 'em."

As he spoke Wilson had been boring a hole in one of the water kegs,
and as Spider held a tin cup he tilted the keg to pour a draft
of the precious fluid. A thin stream of blackish, dry particles
filtered slowly through the tiny aperture into the bottom of the
cup. With a groan Wilson dropped the keg, and sat staring at the
dry stuff in the cup, speechless with horror.

"The kegs are filled with gunpowder," said Spider, in a low tone,
turning to those aft. And so it proved when the last had been

"Coal oil and gunpowder!" cried Monsieur Thuran. "SAPRISTI! What
a diet for shipwrecked mariners!"

With the full knowledge that there was neither food nor water on
board, the pangs of hunger and thirst became immediately aggravated,
and so on the first day of their tragic adventure real suffering
commenced in grim earnest, and the full horrors of shipwreck were
upon them.

As the days passed conditions became horrible. Aching eyes scanned
the horizon day and night until the weak and weary watchers would
sink exhausted to the bottom of the boat, and there wrest in
dream-disturbed slumber a moment's respite from the horrors of the
waking reality.

The sailors, goaded by the remorseless pangs of hunger, had eaten
their leather belts, their shoes, the sweatbands from their caps,
although both Clayton and Monsieur Thuran had done their best to
convince them that these would only add to the suffering they were

Weak and hopeless, the entire party lay beneath the pitiless tropic
sun, with parched lips and swollen tongues, waiting for the death
they were beginning to crave. The intense suffering of the first
few days had become deadened for the three passengers who had
eaten nothing, but the agony of the sailors was pitiful, as their
weak and impoverished stomachs attempted to cope with the bits of
leather with which they had filled them. Tompkins was the first
to succumb. Just a week from the day the LADY ALICE went down the
sailor died horribly in frightful convulsions.

For hours his contorted and hideous features lay grinning back
at those in the stern of the little boat, until Jane Porter could
endure the sight no longer. "Can you not drop his body overboard,
William?" she asked.

Clayton rose and staggered toward the corpse. The two remaining
sailors eyed him with a strange, baleful light in their sunken orbs.
Futilely the Englishman tried to lift the corpse over the side of
the boat, but his strength was not equal to the task.

"Lend me a hand here, please," he said to Wilson, who lay nearest

"Wot do you want to throw 'im over for?" questioned the sailor, in
a querulous voice.

"We've got to before we're too weak to do it," replied Clayton.
"He'd be awful by tomorrow, after a day under that broiling sun."

"Better leave well enough alone," grumbled Wilson. "We may need
him before tomorrow."

Slowly the meaning of the man's words percolated into Clayton's
understanding. At last he realized the fellow's reason for objecting
to the disposal of the dead man.

"God!" whispered Clayton, in a horrified tone. "You don't mean--"

"W'y not?" growled Wilson. "Ain't we gotta live? He's dead," he
added, jerking his thumb in the direction of the corpse. "He won't

"Come here, Thuran," said Clayton, turning toward the Russian.
"We'll have something worse than death aboard us if we don't get
rid of this body before dark."

Wilson staggered up menacingly to prevent the contemplated act,
but when his comrade, Spider, took sides with Clayton and Monsieur
Thuran he gave up, and sat eying the corpse hungrily as the three
men, by combining their efforts, succeeded in rolling it overboard.

All the balance of the day Wilson sat glaring at Clayton, in his
eyes the gleam of insanity. Toward evening, as the sun was sinking
into the sea, he commenced to chuckle and mumble to himself, but
his eyes never left Clayton.

After it became quite dark Clayton could still feel those terrible
eyes upon him. He dared not sleep, and yet so exhausted was he
that it was a constant fight to retain consciousness. After what
seemed an eternity of suffering his head dropped upon a thwart,
and he slept. How long he was unconscious he did not know--he was
awakened by a shuffling noise quite close to him. The moon had
risen, and as he opened his startled eyes he saw Wilson creeping
stealthily toward him, his mouth open and his swollen tongue hanging

The slight noise had awakened Jane Porter at the same time, and as
she saw the hideous tableau she gave a shrill cry of alarm, and at
the same instant the sailor lurched forward and fell upon Clayton.
Like a wild beast his teeth sought the throat of his intended prey,
but Clayton, weak though he was, still found sufficient strength
to hold the maniac's mouth from him.

At Jane Porter's scream Monsieur Thuran and Spider awoke. On seeing
the cause of her alarm, both men crawled to Clayton's rescue, and
between the three of them were able to subdue Wilson and hurl him
to the bottom of the boat. For a few minutes he lay there chattering
and laughing, and then, with an awful scream, and before any of
his companions could prevent, he staggered to his feet and leaped

The reaction from the terrific strain of excitement left the weak
survivors trembling and prostrated. Spider broke down and wept;
Jane Porter prayed; Clayton swore softly to himself; Monsieur
Thuran sat with his head in his hands, thinking. The result of
his cogitation developed the following morning in a proposition he
made to Spider and Clayton.

"Gentlemen," said Monsieur Thuran, "you see the fate that awaits
us all unless we are picked up within a day or two. That there is
little hope of that is evidenced by the fact that during all the
days we have drifted we have seen no sail, nor the faintest smudge
of smoke upon the horizon.

"There might be a chance if we had food, but without food there
is none. There remains for us, then, but one of two alternatives,
and we must choose at once. Either we must all die together within
a few days, or one must be sacrificed that the others may live.
Do you quite clearly grasp my meaning?"

Jane Porter, who had overheard, was horrified. If the proposition
had come from the poor, ignorant sailor, she might possibly have
not been so surprised; but that it should come from one who posed
as a man of culture and refinement, from a gentleman, she could
scarcely credit.

"It is better that we die together, then," said Clayton.

"That is for the majority to decide," replied Monsieur Thuran.
"As only one of us three will be the object of sacrifice, we shall
decide. Miss Porter is not interested, since she will be in no

"How shall we know who is to be first?" asked Spider.

"It may be fairly fixed by lot," replied Monsieur Thuran. "I have
a number of franc pieces in my pocket. We can choose a certain
date from among them--the one to draw this date first from beneath
a piece of cloth will be the first."

"I shall have nothing to do with any such diabolical plan," muttered
Clayton; "even yet land may be sighted or a ship appear--in time."

"You will do as the majority decide, or you will be `the first'
without the formality of drawing lots," said Monsieur Thuran
threateningly. "Come, let us vote on the plan; I for one am in
favor of it. How about you, Spider?" "And I," replied the sailor.

"It is the will of the majority," announced Monsieur Thuran, "and
now let us lose no time in drawing lots. It is as fair for one
as for another. That three may live, one of us must die perhaps
a few hours sooner than otherwise."

Then he began his preparation for the lottery of death, while Jane
Porter sat wide-eyed and horrified at thought of the thing that
she was about to witness. Monsieur Thuran spread his coat upon the
bottom of the boat, and then from a handful of money he selected
six franc pieces. The other two men bent close above him as he
inspected them. Finally he handed them all to Clayton.

"Look at them carefully," he said. "The oldest date is
eighteen-seventy-five, and there is only one of that year."

Clayton and the sailor inspected each coin. To them there seemed
not the slightest difference that could be detected other than the
dates. They were quite satisfied. Had they known that Monsieur
Thuran's past experience as a card sharp had trained his sense of
touch to so fine a point that he could almost differentiate between
cards by the mere feel of them, they would scarcely have felt that
the plan was so entirely fair. The 1875 piece was a hair thinner
than the other coins, but neither Clayton nor Spider could have
detected it without the aid of a micrometer.

"In what order shall we draw?" asked Monsieur Thuran, knowing from
past experience that the majority of men always prefer last chance
in a lottery where the single prize is some distasteful thing--there
is always the chance and the hope that another will draw it first.
Monsieur Thuran, for reasons of his own, preferred to draw first
if the drawing should happen to require a second adventure beneath
the coat.

And so when Spider elected to draw last he graciously offered to
take the first chance himself. His hand was under the coat for
but a moment, yet those quick, deft fingers had felt of each coin,
and found and discarded the fatal piece. When he brought forth his
hand it contained an 1888 franc piece. Then Clayton drew. Jane
Porter leaned forward with a tense and horrified expression on her
face as the hand of the man she was to marry groped about beneath
the coat. Presently he withdrew it, a franc piece lying in the
palm. For an instant he dared not look, but Monsieur Thuran, who
had leaned nearer to see the date, exclaimed that he was safe.

Jane Porter sank weak and trembling against the side of the boat.
She felt sick and dizzy. And now, if Spider should not draw the
1875 piece she must endure the whole horrid thing again.

The sailor already had his hand beneath the coat. Great beads
of sweat were standing upon his brow. He trembled as though with
a fit of ague. Aloud he cursed himself for having taken the last
draw, for now his chances for escape were but three to one, whereas
Monsieur Thuran's had been five to one, and Clayton's four to one.

The Russian was very patient, and did not hurry the man, for he
knew that he himself was quite safe whether the 1875 piece came out
this time or not. When the sailor withdrew his hand and looked at
the piece of money within, he dropped fainting to the bottom of the
boat. Both Clayton and Monsieur Thuran hastened weakly to examine
the coin, which had rolled from the man's hand and lay beside him.
It was not dated 1875. The reaction from the state of fear he had
been in had overcome Spider quite as effectually as though he had
drawn the fated piece.

But now the whole proceeding must be gone through again. Once more
the Russian drew forth a harmless coin. Jane Porter closed her
eyes as Clayton reached beneath the coat. Spider bent, wide-eyed,
toward the hand that was to decide his fate, for whatever luck was
Clayton's on this last draw, the opposite would be Spider's. Then
William Cecil Clayton, Lord Greystoke, removed his hand from beneath
the coat, and with a coin tight pressed within his palm where none
might see it, he looked at Jane Porter. He did not dare open his

"Quick!" hissed Spider. "My Gawd, let's see it."

Clayton opened his fingers. Spider was the first to see the date,
and ere any knew what his intention was he raised himself to his
feet, and lunged over the side of the boat, to disappear forever
into the green depths beneath--the coin had not been the 1875 piece.

The strain had exhausted those who remained to such an extent
that they lay half unconscious for the balance of the day, nor was
the subject referred to again for several days. Horrible days of
increasing weakness and hopelessness. At length Monsieur Thuran
crawled to where Clayton lay.

"We must draw once more before we are too weak even to eat," he

Clayton was in such a state that he was scarcely master of his own
will. Jane Porter had not spoken for three days. He knew that
she was dying. Horrible as the thought was, he hoped that the
sacrifice of either Thuran or himself might be the means of giving
her renewed strength, and so he immediately agreed to the Russian's

They drew under the same plan as before, but there could be but
one result--Clayton drew the 1875 piece.

"When shall it be?" he asked Thuran.

The Russian had already drawn a pocketknife from his trousers, and
was weakly attempting to open it.

"Now," he muttered, and his greedy eyes gloated upon the Englishman.

"Can't you wait until dark?" asked Clayton. "Miss Porter must not
see this thing done. We were to have been married, you know."

A look of disappointment came over Monsieur Thuran's face.

"Very well," he replied hesitatingly. "It will not be long until
night. I have waited for many days--I can wait a few hours longer."

"Thank you, my friend," murmured Clayton. "Now I shall go to her
side and remain with her until it is time. I would like to have
an hour or two with her before I die."

When Clayton reached the girl's side she was unconscious--he knew
that she was dying, and he was glad that she should not have to
see or know the awful tragedy that was shortly to be enacted. He
took her hand and raised it to his cracked and swollen lips. For
a long time he lay caressing the emaciated, clawlike thing that had
once been the beautiful, shapely white hand of the young Baltimore

It was quite dark before he knew it, but he was recalled to himself
by a voice out of the night. It was the Russian calling him to
his doom.

"I am coming, Monsieur Thuran," he hastened to reply.

Thrice he attempted to turn himself upon his hands and knees, that
he might crawl back to his death, but in the few hours that he had
lain there he had become too weak to return to Thuran's side.

"You will have to come to me, monsieur," he called weakly. "I have
not sufficient strength to gain my hands and knees."

"SAPRISTI!" muttered Monsieur Thuran. "You are attempting to cheat
me out of my winnings."

Clayton heard the man shuffling about in the bottom of the boat.
Finally there was a despairing groan. "I cannot crawl," he heard
the Russian wail. "It is too late. You have tricked me, you dirty
English dog."

"I have not tricked you, monsieur," replied Clayton. "I have done
my best to rise, but I shall try again, and if you will try possibly
each of us can crawl halfway, and then you shall have your `winnings.'"

Again Clayton exerted his remaining strength to the utmost, and he
heard Thuran apparently doing the same. Nearly an hour later the
Englishman succeeded in raising himself to his hands and knees,
but at the first forward movement he pitched upon his face.

A moment later he heard an exclamation of relief from Monsieur

"I am coming," whispered the Russian.

Again Clayton essayed to stagger on to meet his fate, but once more
he pitched headlong to the boat's bottom, nor, try as he would,
could he again rise. His last effort caused him to roll over on
his back, and there he lay looking up at the stars, while behind
him, coming ever nearer and nearer, he could hear the laborious
shuffling, and the stertorous breathing of the Russian.

It seemed that he must have lain thus an hour waiting for the thing
to crawl out of the dark and end his misery. It was quite close
now, but there were longer and longer pauses between its efforts to
advance, and each forward movement seemed to the waiting Englishman
to be almost imperceptible.

Finally he knew that Thuran was quite close beside him. He heard
a cackling laugh, something touched his face, and he lost consciousness.

Chapter 19

The City of Gold

The very night that Tarzan of the Apes became chief of the Waziri
the woman he loved lay dying in a tiny boat two hundred miles west
of him upon the Atlantic. As he danced among his naked fellow
savages, the firelight gleaming against his great, rolling muscles,
the personification of physical perfection and strength, the woman
who loved him lay thin and emaciated in the last coma that precedes
death by thirst and starvation.

The week following the induction of Tarzan into the kingship of the
Waziri was occupied in escorting the Manyuema of the Arab raiders
to the northern boundary of Waziri in accordance with the promise
which Tarzan had made them. Before he left them he exacted a
pledge from them that they would not lead any expeditions against
the Waziri in the future, nor was it a difficult promise to obtain.
They had had sufficient experience with the fighting tactics of
the new Waziri chief not to have the slightest desire to accompany
another predatory force within the boundaries of his domain.

Almost immediately upon his return to the village Tarzan commenced
making preparations for leading an expedition in search of the ruined
city of gold which old Waziri had described to him. He selected
fifty of the sturdiest warriors of his tribe, choosing only men
who seemed anxious to accompany him on the arduous march, and share
the dangers of a new and hostile country.

The fabulous wealth of the fabled city had been almost constantly
in his mind since Waziri had recounted the strange adventures of the
former expedition which had stumbled upon the vast ruins by chance.
The lure of adventure may have been quite as powerful a factor
in urging Tarzan of the Apes to undertake the journey as the lure
of gold, but the lure of gold was there, too, for he had learned
among civilized men something of the miracles that may be wrought
by the possessor of the magic yellow metal. What he would do with
a golden fortune in the heart of savage Africa it had not occurred
to him to consider--it would be enough to possess the power to work
wonders, even though he never had an opportunity to employ it.

So one glorious tropical morning Waziri, chief of the Waziri, set
out at the head of fifty clean-limbed ebon warriors in quest of
adventure and of riches. They followed the course which old Waziri
had described to Tarzan. For days they marched--up one river,
across a low divide; down another river; up a third, until at the
end of the twenty-fifth day they camped upon a mountainside, from
the summit of which they hoped to catch their first view of the
marvelous city of treasure.

Early the next morning they were climbing the almost perpendicular
crags which formed the last, but greatest, natural barrier between
them and their destination. It was nearly noon before Tarzan, who
headed the thin line of climbing warriors, scrambled over the top
of the last cliff and stood upon the little flat table-land of the

On either hand towered mighty peaks thousands of feet higher than
the pass through which they were entering the forbidden valley.
Behind him stretched the wooded valley across which they had marched
for many days, and at the opposite side the low range which marked
the boundary of their own country.

But before him was the view that centered his attention. Here lay
a desolate valley--a shallow, narrow valley dotted with stunted
trees and covered with many great bowlders. And on the far side of
the valley lay what appeared to be a mighty city, its great walls,
its lofty spires, its turrets, minarets, and domes showing red and
yellow in the sunlight. Tarzan was yet too far away to note the
marks of ruin--to him it appeared a wonderful city of magnificent
beauty, and in imagination he peopled its broad avenues and its
huge temples with a throng of happy, active people.

For an hour the little expedition rested upon the mountain-top,
and then Tarzan led them down into the valley below. There was no
trail, but the way was less arduous than the ascent of the opposite
face of the mountain had been. Once in the valley their progress
was rapid, so that it was still light when they halted before the
towering walls of the ancient city.

The outer wall was fifty feet in height where it had not fallen
into ruin, but nowhere as far as they could see had more than ten
or twenty feet of the upper courses fallen away. It was still a
formidable defense. On several occasions Tarzan had thought that
he discerned things moving behind the ruined portions of the wall
near to them, as though creatures were watching them from behind
the bulwarks of the ancient pile. And often he felt the sensation
of unseen eyes upon him, but not once could he be sure that it was
more than imagination.

That night they camped outside the city. Once, at midnight, they
were awakened by a shrill scream from beyond the great wall. It
was very high at first, descending gradually until it ended in a
series of dismal moans. It had a strange effect upon the blacks,
almost paralyzing them with terror while it lasted, and it was an
hour before the camp settled down to sleep once more. In the morning
the effects of it were still visible in the fearful, sidelong glances
that the Waziri continually cast at the massive and forbidding
structure which loomed above them.

It required considerable encouragement and urging on Tarzan's part
to prevent the blacks from abandoning the venture on the spot and
hastening back across the valley toward the cliffs they had scaled
the day before. But at length, by dint of commands, and threats
that he would enter the city alone, they agreed to accompany him.

For fifteen minutes they marched along the face of the wall before
they discovered a means of ingress. Then they came to a narrow
cleft about twenty inches wide. Within, a flight of concrete steps,
worn hollow by centuries of use, rose before them, to disappear at
a sharp turning of the passage a few yards ahead.

Into this narrow alley Tarzan made his way, turning his giant
shoulders sideways that they might enter at all. Behind him trailed
his black warriors. At the turn in the cleft the stairs ended,
and the path was level; but it wound and twisted in a serpentine
fashion, until suddenly at a sharp angle it debouched upon a narrow
court, across which loomed an inner wall equally as high as the
outer. This inner wall was set with little round towers alternating
along its entire summit with pointed monoliths. In places these
had fallen, and the wall was ruined, but it was in a much better
state of preservation than the outer wall.

Another narrow passage led through this wall, and at its end
Tarzan and his warriors found themselves in a broad avenue, on the
opposite side of which crumbling edifices of hewn granite loomed
dark and forbidding. Upon the crumbling debris along the face of
the buildings trees had grown, and vines wound in and out of the
hollow, staring windows; but the building directly opposite them
seemed less overgrown than the others, and in a much better state
of preservation. It was a massive pile, surmounted by an enormous
dome. At either side of its great entrance stood rows of tall
pillars, each capped by a huge, grotesque bird carved from the
solid rock of the monoliths.

As the ape-man and his companions stood gazing in varying degrees
of wonderment at this ancient city in the midst of savage Africa,
several of them became aware of movement within the structure at
which they were looking. Dim, shadowy shapes appeared to be moving
about in the semi-darkness of the interior. There was nothing
tangible that the eye could grasp--only an uncanny suggestion of
life where it seemed that there should be no life, for living things
seemed out of place in this weird, dead city of the long-dead past.

Tarzan recalled something that he had read in the library at Paris
of a lost race of white men that native legend described as living
in the heart of Africa. He wondered if he were not looking upon
the ruins of the civilization that this strange people had wrought
amid the savage surroundings of their strange and savage home. Could
it be possible that even now a remnant of that lost race inhabited
the ruined grandeur that had once been their progenitor? Again
he became conscious of a stealthy movement within the great temple
before him. "Come!" he said, to his Waziri. "Let us have a look
at what lies behind those ruined walls."

His men were loath to follow him, but when they saw that he
was bravely entering the frowning portal they trailed a few paces
behind in a huddled group that seemed the personification of nervous
terror. A single shriek such as they had heard the night before
would have been sufficient to have sent them all racing madly for
the narrow cleft that led through the great walls to the outer

As Tarzan entered the building he was distinctly aware of many
eyes upon him. There was a rustling in the shadows of a near-by
corridor, and he could have sworn that he saw a human hand withdrawn
from an embrasure that opened above him into the domelike rotunda
in which he found himself.

The floor of the chamber was of concrete, the walls of smooth
granite, upon which strange figures of men and beasts were carved.
In places tablets of yellow metal had been set in the solid masonry
of the walls.

When he approached closer to one of these tablets he saw that it
was of gold, and bore many hieroglyphics. Beyond this first chamber
there were others, and back of them the building branched out into
enormous wings. Tarzan passed through several of these chambers,
finding many evidences of the fabulous wealth of the original
builders. In one room were seven pillars of solid gold, and in
another the floor itself was of the precious metal. And all the
while that he explored, his blacks huddled close together at his
back, and strange shapes hovered upon either hand and before them
and behind, yet never close enough that any might say that they
were not alone.

The strain, however, was telling upon the nerves of the Waziri.
They begged Tarzan to return to the sunlight. They said that no
good could come of such an expedition, for the ruins were haunted
by the spirits of the dead who had once inhabited them.

"They are watching us, O king," whispered Busuli. "They are
waiting until they have led us into the innermost recesses of their
stronghold, and then they will fall upon us and tear us to pieces
with their teeth. That is the way with spirits. My mother's uncle,
who is a great witch doctor, has told me all about it many times."

Tarzan laughed. "Run back into the sunlight, my children," he
said. "I will join you when I have searched this old ruin from
top to bottom, and found the gold, or found that there is none. At
least we may take the tablets from the walls, though the pillars
are too heavy for us to handle; but there should be great storerooms
filled with gold--gold that we can carry away upon our backs with
ease. Run on now, out into the fresh air where you may breathe

Some of the warriors started to obey their chief with alacrity,
but Busuli and several others hesitated to leave him--hesitated
between love and loyalty for their king, and superstitious fear
of the unknown. And then, quite unexpectedly, that occurred which
decided the question without the necessity for further discussion.
Out of the silence of the ruined temple there rang, close to their
ears, the same hideous shriek they had heard the previous night,
and with horrified cries the black warriors turned and fled through
the empty halls of the age-old edifice.

Behind them stood Tarzan of the Apes where they had left him, a
grim smile upon his lips--waiting for the enemy he fully expected
was about to pounce upon him. But again silence reigned, except for
the faint suggestion of the sound of naked feet moving stealthily
in near-by places.

Then Tarzan wheeled and passed on into the depths of the temple.
From room to room he went, until he came to one at which a rude,
barred door still stood, and as he put his shoulder against it to
push it in, again the shriek of warning rang out almost beside him.
It was evident that he was being warned to refrain from desecrating
this particular room. Or could it be that within lay the secret
to the treasure stores?

At any rate, the very fact that the strange, invisible guardians
of this weird place had some reason for wishing him not to enter
this particular chamber was sufficient to treble Tarzan's desire
to do so, and though the shrieking was repeated continuously, he
kept his shoulder to the door until it gave before his giant strength
to swing open upon creaking wooden hinges.

Within all was black as the tomb. There was no window to let in
the faintest ray of light, and as the corridor upon which it opened
was itself in semi-darkness, even the open door shed no relieving
rays within. Feeling before him upon the floor with the butt of
his spear, Tarzan entered the Stygian gloom. Suddenly the door
behind him closed, and at the same time hands clutched him from
every direction out of the darkness.

The ape-man fought with all the savage fury of self-preservation
backed by the herculean strength that was his. But though he felt
his blows land, and his teeth sink into soft flesh, there seemed
always two new hands to take the place of those that he fought
off. At last they dragged him down, and slowly, very slowly, they
overcame him by the mere weight of their numbers. And then they
bound him--his hands behind his back and his feet trussed up to
meet them. He had heard no sound except the heavy breathing of his
antagonists, and the noise of the battle. He knew not what manner
of creatures had captured him, but that they were human seemed
evident from the fact that they had bound him.

Presently they lifted him from the floor, and half dragging, half
pushing him, they brought him out of the black chamber through
another doorway into an inner courtyard of the temple. Here he
saw his captors. There must have been a hundred of them--short,
stocky men, with great beards that covered their faces and fell
upon their hairy breasts.

The thick, matted hair upon their heads grew low over their receding
brows, and hung about their shoulders and their backs. Their
crooked legs were short and heavy, their arms long and muscular.
About their loins they wore the skins of leopards and lions, and
great necklaces of the claws of these same animals depended upon
their breasts. Massive circlets of virgin gold adorned their arms
and legs. For weapons they carried heavy, knotted bludgeons, and
in the belts that confined their single garments each had a long,
wicked-looking knife.

But the feature of them that made the most startling impression
upon their prisoner was their white skins--neither in color nor
feature was there a trace of the negroid about them. Yet, with
their receding foreheads, wicked little close-set eyes, and yellow
fangs, they were far from prepossessing in appearance.

During the fight within the dark chamber, and while they had been
dragging Tarzan to the inner court, no word had been spoken, but
now several of them exchanged grunting, monosyllabic conversation
in a language unfamiliar to the ape-man, and presently they left
him lying upon the concrete floor while they trooped off on their
short legs into another part of the temple beyond the court.

As Tarzan lay there upon his back he saw that the temple entirely
surrounded the little inclosure, and that on all sides its lofty
walls rose high above him. At the top a little patch of blue sky
was visible, and, in one direction, through an embrasure, he could
see foliage, but whether it was beyond or within the temple he did
not know.

About the court, from the ground to the top of the temple, were
series of open galleries, and now and then the captive caught
glimpses of bright eyes gleaming from beneath masses of tumbling
hair, peering down upon him from above.

The ape-man gently tested the strength of the bonds that held
him, and while he could not be sure it seemed that they were of
insufficient strength to withstand the strain of his mighty muscles
when the time came to make a break for freedom; but he did not dare
to put them to the crucial test until darkness had fallen, or he
felt that no spying eyes were upon him.

He had lain within the court for several hours before the first rays
of sunlight penetrated the vertical shaft; almost simultaneously
he heard the pattering of bare feet in the corridors about him,
and a moment later saw the galleries above fill with crafty faces
as a score or more entered the courtyard.

For a moment every eye was bent upon the noonday sun, and then in
unison the people in the galleries and those in the court below
took up the refrain of a low, weird chant. Presently those about
Tarzan began to dance to the cadence of their solemn song. They
circled him slowly, resembling in their manner of dancing a number
of clumsy, shuffling bears; but as yet they did not look at him,
keeping their little eyes fixed upon the sun.

For ten minutes or more they kept up their monotonous chant and
steps, and then suddenly, and in perfect unison, they turned toward
their victim with upraised bludgeons and emitting fearful howls,
the while they contorted their features into the most diabolical
expressions, they rushed upon him.

At the same instant a female figure dashed into the midst of the
bloodthirsty horde, and, with a bludgeon similar to their own,
except that it was wrought from gold, beat back the advancing men.

Chapter 20


For a moment Tarzan thought that by some strange freak of fate
a miracle had saved him, but when he realized the ease with which
the girl had, single-handed, beaten off twenty gorilla-like males,
and an instant later, as he saw them again take up their dance
about him while she addressed them in a singsong monotone, which
bore every evidence of rote, he came to the conclusion that it was
all but a part of the ceremony of which he was the central figure.

After a moment or two the girl drew a knife from her girdle, and,
leaning over Tarzan, cut the bonds from his legs. Then, as the men
stopped their dance, and approached, she motioned to him to rise.
Placing the rope that had been about his legs around his neck, she
led him across the courtyard, the men following in twos.

Through winding corridors she led, farther and farther into the
remoter precincts of the temple, until they came to a great chamber
in the center of which stood an altar. Then it was that Tarzan
translated the strange ceremony that had preceded his introduction
into this holy of holies.

He had fallen into the hands of descendants of the ancient sun
worshippers. His seeming rescue by a votaress of the high priestess
of the sun had been but a part of the mimicry of their heathen
ceremony--the sun looking down upon him through the opening at the
top of the court had claimed him as his own, and the priestess had
come from the inner temple to save him from the polluting hands of
worldlings--to save him as a human offering to their flaming deity.

And had he needed further assurance as to the correctness of his
theory he had only to cast his eyes upon the brownish-red stains
that caked the stone altar and covered the floor in its immediate
vicinity, or to the human skulls which grinned from countless niches
in the towering walls.

The priestess led the victim to the altar steps. Again the galleries
above filled with watchers, while from an arched doorway at the
east end of the chamber a procession of females filed slowly into
the room. They wore, like the men, only skins of wild animals
caught about their waists with rawhide belts or chains of gold; but
the black masses of their hair were incrusted with golden headgear
composed of many circular and oval pieces of gold ingeniously held
together to form a metal cap from which depended at each side of
the head, long strings of oval pieces falling to the waist.

The females were more symmetrically proportioned than the males,
their features were much more perfect, the shapes of their heads
and their large, soft, black eyes denoting far greater intelligence
and humanity than was possessed by their lords and masters.

Each priestess bore two golden cups, and as they formed in line
along one side of the altar the men formed opposite them, advancing
and taking each a cup from the female opposite. Then the chant
began once more, and presently from a dark passageway beyond the
altar another female emerged from the cavernous depths beneath the

The high priestess, thought Tarzan. She was a young woman with a
rather intelligent and shapely face. Her ornaments were similar
to those worn by her votaries, but much more elaborate, many being
set with diamonds. Her bare arms and legs were almost concealed
by the massive, bejeweled ornaments which covered them, while her
single leopard skin was supported by a close-fitting girdle of golden
rings set in strange designs with innumerable small diamonds. In
the girdle she carried a long, jeweled knife, and in her hand a
slender wand in lieu of a bludgeon.

As she advanced to the opposite side of the altar she halted, and
the chanting ceased. The priests and priestesses knelt before her,
while with wand extended above them she recited a long and tiresome
prayer. Her voice was soft and musical--Tarzan could scarce realize
that its possessor in a moment more would be transformed by the
fanatical ecstasy of religious zeal into a wild-eyed and bloodthirsty
executioner, who, with dripping knife, would be the first to drink
her victim's red, warm blood from the little golden cup that stood
upon the altar.

As she finished her prayer she let her eyes rest for the first time
upon Tarzan. With every indication of considerable curiosity she
examined him from head to foot. Then she addressed him, and when
she had finished stood waiting, as though she expected a reply.

"I do not understand your language," said Tarzan. "Possibly we
may speak together in another tongue?" But she could not understand
him, though he tried French, English, Arab, Waziri, and, as a last
resort, the mongrel tongue of the West Coast.

She shook her head, and it seemed that there was a note of weariness
in her voice as she motioned to the priests to continue with the
rites. These now circled in a repetition of their idiotic dance,
which was terminated finally at a command from the priestess, who
had stood throughout, still looking intently upon Tarzan.

At her signal the priests rushed upon the ape-man, and, lifting him
bodily, laid him upon his back across the altar, his head hanging
over one edge, his legs over the opposite. Then they and the
priestesses formed in two lines, with their little golden cups in
readiness to capture a share of the victim's lifeblood after the
sacrificial knife had accomplished its work.

In the line of priests an altercation arose as to who should have
first place. A burly brute with all the refined intelligence of
a gorilla stamped upon his bestial face was attempting to push a
smaller man to second place, but the smaller one appealed to the
high priestess, who in a cold peremptory voice sent the larger to
the extreme end of the line. Tarzan could hear him growling and
rumbling as he went slowly to the inferior station.

Then the priestess, standing above him, began reciting what Tarzan
took to be an invocation, the while she slowly raised her thin,
sharp knife aloft. It seemed ages to the ape-man before her arm
ceased its upward progress and the knife halted high above his
unprotected breast.

Then it started downward, slowly at first, but as the incantation
increased in rapidity, with greater speed. At the end of the line
Tarzan could still hear the grumbling of the disgruntled priest.
The man's voice rose louder and louder. A priestess near him spoke
in sharp tones of rebuke. The knife was quite near to Tarzan's
breast now, but it halted for an instant as the high priestess
raised her eyes to shoot her swift displeasure at the instigator
of this sacrilegious interruption.

There was a sudden commotion in the direction of the disputants,
and Tarzan rolled his head in their direction in time to see the
burly brute of a priest leap upon the woman opposite him, dashing
out her brains with a single blow of his heavy cudgel. Then that
happened which Tarzan had witnessed a hundred times before among
the wild denizens of his own savage jungle. He had seen the thing
fall upon Kerchak, and Tublat, and Terkoz; upon a dozen of the
other mighty bull apes of his tribe; and upon Tantor, the elephant;
there was scarce any of the males of the forest that did not at
times fall prey to it. The priest went mad, and with his heavy
bludgeon ran amuck among his fellows.

His screams of rage were frightful as he dashed hither and thither,
dealing terrific blows with his giant weapon, or sinking his yellow
fangs into the flesh of some luckless victim. And during it the
priestess stood with poised knife above Tarzan, her eyes fixed
in horror upon the maniacal thing that was dealing out death and
destruction to her votaries.

Presently the room was emptied except for the dead and dying on
the floor, the victim upon the altar, the high priestess, and the
madman. As the cunning eyes of the latter fell upon the woman they
lighted with a new and sudden lust. Slowly he crept toward her,
and now he spoke; but this time there fell upon Tarzan's surprised
ears a language he could understand; the last one that he would
ever have thought of employing in attempting to converse with human
beings--the low guttural barking of the tribe of great anthropoids--his
own mother tongue. And the woman answered the man in the same

He was threatening--she attempting to reason with him, for it was
quite evident that she saw that he was past her authority. The
brute was quite close now--creeping with clawlike hands extended
toward her around the end of the altar. Tarzan strained at the
bonds which held his arms pinioned behind him. The woman did not
see--she had forgotten her prey in the horror of the danger that
threatened herself. As the brute leaped past Tarzan to clutch his
victim, the ape-man gave one superhuman wrench at the thongs that
held him. The effort sent him rolling from the altar to the stone
floor on the opposite side from that on which the priestess stood;
but as he sprang to his feet the thongs dropped from his freed
arms, and at the same time he realized that he was alone in the
inner temple--the high priestess and the mad priest had disappeared.

And then a muffled scream came from the cavernous mouth of the dark
hole beyond the sacrificial altar through which the priestess had
entered the temple. Without even a thought for his own safety, or
the possibility for escape which this rapid series of fortuitous
circumstances had thrust upon him, Tarzan of the Apes answered the
call of the woman in danger. With a little bound he was at the
gaping entrance to the subterranean chamber, and a moment later was
running down a flight of age-old concrete steps that led he knew
not where.

The faint light that filtered in from above showed him a large,
low-ceiled vault from which several doorways led off into inky
darkness, but there was no need to thread an unknown way, for
there before him lay the objects of his search--the mad brute had
the girl upon the floor, and gorilla-like fingers were clutching
frantically at her throat as she struggled to escape the fury of
the awful thing upon her.

As Tarzan's heavy hand fell upon his shoulder the priest dropped
his victim, and turned upon her would-be rescuer. With foam-flecked
lips and bared fangs the mad sun-worshiper battled with the tenfold
power of the maniac. In the blood lust of his fury the creature
had undergone a sudden reversion to type, which left him a wild
beast, forgetful of the dagger that projected from his belt--thinking
only of nature's weapons with which his brute prototype had battled.

But if he could use his teeth and hands to advantage, he found one
even better versed in the school of savage warfare to which he had
reverted, for Tarzan of the Apes closed with him, and they fell to
the floor tearing and rending at one another like two bull apes;
while the primitive priestess stood flattened against the wall,
watching with wide, fear-fascinated eyes the growing, snapping
beasts at her feet.

At last she saw the stranger close one mighty hand upon the throat
of his antagonist, and as he forced the bruteman's head far back
rain blow after blow upon the upturned face. A moment later he
threw the still thing from him, and, arising, shook himself like
a lion. He placed a foot upon the carcass before him, and raised
his head to give the victory cry of his kind, but as his eyes
fell upon the opening above him leading into the temple of human
sacrifice he thought better of his intended act.

The girl, who had been half paralyzed by fear as the two men fought,
had just commenced to give thought to her probable fate now that,
though released from the clutches of a madman, she had fallen into
the hands of one whom but a moment before she had been upon the
point of killing. She looked about for some means of escape. The
black mouth of a diverging corridor was near at hand, but as she
turned to dart into it the ape-man's eyes fell upon her, and with
a quick leap he was at her side, and a restraining hand was laid
upon her arm.

"Wait!" said Tarzan of the Apes, in the language of the tribe of

The girl looked at him in astonishment.

"Who are you," she whispered, "who speaks the language of the first

"I am Tarzan of the Apes," he answered in the vernacular of the

"What do you want of me?" she continued. "For what purpose did
you save me from Tha?"

"I could not see a woman murdered?" It was a half question that
answered her.

"But what do you intend to do with me now?" she continued.

"Nothing," he replied, "but you can do something for me--you can lead
me out of this place to freedom." He made the suggestion without
the slightest thought that she would accede. He felt quite sure
that the sacrifice would go on from the point where it had been
interrupted if the high priestess had her way, though he was equally
positive that they would find Tarzan of the Apes unbound and with
a long dagger in his hand a much less tractable victim than Tarzan
disarmed and bound.

The girl stood looking at him for a long moment before she spoke.

"You are a very wonderful man," she said. "You are such a man as
I have seen in my daydreams ever since I was a little girl. You
are such a man as I imagine the forbears of my people must have
been--the great race of people who built this mighty city in the
heart of a savage world that they might wrest from the bowels of
the earth the fabulous wealth for which they had sacrificed their
far-distant civilization.

"I cannot understand why you came to my rescue in the first place,
and now I cannot understand why, having me within your power, you
do not wish to be revenged upon me for having sentenced you to
death--for having almost put you to death with my own hand."

"I presume," replied the ape-man, "that you but followed the
teachings of your religion. I cannot blame YOU for that, no matter
what I may think of your creed. But who are you--what people have
I fallen among?"

"I am La, high priestess of the Temple of the Sun, in the city of
Opar. We are descendants of a people who came to this savage world
more than ten thousand years ago in search of gold. Their cities
stretched from a great sea under the rising sun to a great sea into
which the sun descends at night to cool his flaming brow. They
were very rich and very powerful, but they lived only a few months
of the year in their magnificent palaces here; the rest of the time
they spent in their native land, far, far to the north.

"Many ships went back and forth between this new world and the
old. During the rainy season there were but few of the inhabitants
remained here, only those who superintended the working of the mines
by the black slaves, and the merchants who had to stay to supply
their wants, and the soldiers who guarded the cities and the mines.

"It was at one of these times that the great calamity occurred.
When the time came for the teeming thousands to return none came.
For weeks the people waited. Then they sent out a great galley
to learn why no one came from the mother country, but though they
sailed about for many months, they were unable to find any trace
of the mighty land that had for countless ages borne their ancient
civilization--it had sunk into the sea.

"From that day dated the downfall of my people. Disheartened and
unhappy, they soon became a prey to the black hordes of the north
and the black hordes of the south. One by one the cities were deserted
or overcome. The last remnant was finally forced to take shelter
within this mighty mountain fortress. Slowly we have dwindled in
power, in civilization, in intellect, in numbers, until now we are
no more than a small tribe of savage apes.

"In fact, the apes live with us, and have for many ages. We call
them the first men--we speak their language quite as much as we do
our own; only in the rituals of the temple do we make any attempt
to retain our mother tongue. In time it will be forgotten, and we
will speak only the language of the apes; in time we will no longer
banish those of our people who mate with apes, and so in time we
shall descend to the very beasts from which ages ago our progenitors
may have sprung."

"But why are you more human than the others?" asked the man.

"For some reason the women have not reverted to savagery so rapidly

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