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The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part 5 out of 6

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as the men. It may be because only the lower types of men remained
here at the time of the great catastrophe, while the temples were
filled with the noblest daughters of the race. My strain has remained
clearer than the rest because for countless ages my foremothers
were high priestesses--the sacred office descends from mother to
daughter. Our husbands are chosen for us from the noblest in the
land. The most perfect man, mentally and physically, is selected
to be the husband of the high priestess."

"From what I saw of the gentlemen above," said Tarzan, with a grin,
"there should be little trouble in choosing from among them."

The girl looked at him quizzically for a moment.

"Do not be sacrilegious," she said. "They are very holy men--they
are priests."

"Then there are others who are better to look upon?" he asked.

"The others are all more ugly than the priests," she replied.

Tarzan shuddered at her fate, for even in the dim light of the
vault he was impressed by her beauty.

"But how about myself?" he asked suddenly. "Are you going to lead
me to liberty?"

"You have been chosen by The Flaming God as his own," she answered
solemnly. "Not even I have the power to save you--should they find
you again. But I do not intend that they shall find you. You
risked your life to save mine. I may do no less for you. It will
be no easy matter--it may require days; but in the end I think that
I can lead you beyond the walls. Come, they will look here for me
presently, and if they find us together we shall both be lost--they
would kill me did they think that I had proved false to my god."

"You must not take the risk, then," he said quickly. "I will return
to the temple, and if I can fight my way to freedom there will be
no suspicion thrown upon you."

But she would not have it so, and finally persuaded him to follow
her, saying that they had already remained in the vault too long
to prevent suspicion from falling upon her even if they returned
to the temple.

"I will hide you, and then return alone," she said, "telling them
that I was long unconscious after you killed Tha, and that I do
not know whither you escaped."

And so she led him through winding corridors of gloom, until finally
they came to a small chamber into which a little light filtered
through a stone grating in the ceiling.

"This is the Chamber of the Dead," she said. "None will think of
searching here for you--they would not dare. I will return after
it is dark. By that time I may have found a plan to effect your

She was gone, and Tarzan of the Apes was left alone in the Chamber
of the Dead, beneath the long-dead city of Opar.

Chapter 21

The Castaways

Clayton dreamed that he was drinking his fill of water, pure,
delightful drafts of fresh water. With a start he gained consciousness
to find himself wet through by torrents of rain that were falling
upon his body and his upturned face. A heavy tropical shower was
beating down upon them. He opened his mouth and drank. Presently
he was so revived and strengthened that he was enabled to raise
himself upon his hands. Across his legs lay Monsieur Thuran. A
few feet aft Jane Porter was huddled in a pitiful little heap in
the bottom of the boat--she was quite still. Clayton knew that
she was dead.

After infinite labor he released himself from Thuran's pinioning
body, and with renewed strength crawled toward the girl. He raised
her head from the rough boards of the boat's bottom. There might
be life in that poor, starved frame even yet. He could not quite
abandon all hope, and so he seized a water-soaked rag and squeezed
the precious drops between the swollen lips of the hideous thing
that had but a few short days before glowed with the resplendent
life of happy youth and glorious beauty.

For some time there was no sign of returning animation, but at last
his efforts were rewarded by a slight tremor of the half-closed
lids. He chafed the thin hands, and forced a few more drops of
water into the parched throat. The girl opened her eyes, looking
up at him for a long time before she could recall her surroundings.

"Water?" she whispered. "Are we saved?"

"It is raining," he explained. "We may at least drink. Already
it has revived us both."

"Monsieur Thuran?" she asked. "He did not kill you. Is he dead?"

"I do not know," replied Clayton. "If he lives and this rain
revives him--" But he stopped there, remembering too late that
he must not add further to the horrors which the girl already had

But she guessed what he would have said.

"Where is he?" she asked.

Clayton nodded his head toward the prostrate form of the Russian.
For a time neither spoke.

"I will see if I can revive him," said Clayton at length.

"No," she whispered, extending a detaining hand toward him. "Do
not do that--he will kill you when the water has given him strength.
If he is dying, let him die. Do not leave me alone in this boat
with that beast."

Clayton hesitated. His honor demanded that he attempt to revive
Thuran, and there was the possibility, too, that the Russian was
beyond human aid. It was not dishonorable to hope so. As he sat
fighting out his battle he presently raised his eyes from the body
of the man, and as they passed above the gunwale of the boat he
staggered weakly to his feet with a little cry of joy.

"Land, Jane!" he almost shouted through his cracked lips. "Thank
God, land!"

The girl looked, too, and there, not a hundred yards away, she saw
a yellow beach, and, beyond, the luxurious foliage of a tropical

"Now you may revive him," said Jane Porter, for she, too, had been
haunted with the pangs of conscience which had resulted from her
decision to prevent Clayton from offering succor to their companion.

It required the better part of half an hour before the Russian
evinced sufficient symptoms of returning consciousness to open his
eyes, and it was some time later before they could bring him to
a realization of their good fortune. By this time the boat was
scraping gently upon the sandy bottom.

Between the refreshing water that he had drunk and the stimulus of
renewed hope, Clayton found strength to stagger through the shallow
water to the shore with a line made fast to the boat's bow. This
he fastened to a small tree which grew at the top of a low bank,
for the tide was at flood, and he feared that the boat might carry
them all out to sea again with the ebb, since it was quite likely
that it would be beyond his strength to get Jane Porter to the shore
for several hours. Next he managed to stagger and crawl toward the
near-by jungle, where he had seen evidences of profusion of tropical
fruit. His former experience in the jungle of Tarzan of the Apes
had taught him which of the many growing things were edible, and
after nearly an hour of absence he returned to the beach with a
little armful of food.

The rain had ceased, and the hot sun was beating down so mercilessly
upon her that Jane Porter insisted on making an immediate attempt
to gain the land. Still further invigorated by the food Clayton had
brought, the three were able to reach the half shade of the small
tree to which their boat was moored. Here, thoroughly exhausted,
they threw themselves down to rest, sleeping until dark.

For a month they lived upon the beach in comparative safety. As
their strength returned the two men constructed a rude shelter in
the branches of a tree, high enough from the ground to insure safety
from the larger beasts of prey. By day they gathered fruits and
trapped small rodents; at night they lay cowering within their
frail shelter while savage denizens of the jungle made hideous the
hours of darkness.

They slept upon litters of jungle grasses, and for covering at
night Jane Porter had only an old ulster that belonged to Clayton,
the same garment that he had worn upon that memorable trip to the
Wisconsin woods. Clayton had erected a frail partition of boughs
to divide their arboreal shelter into two rooms--one for the girl
and the other for Monsieur Thuran and himself.

From the first the Russian had exhibited every trait of his true
character--selfishness, boorishness, arrogance, cowardice, and
lust. Twice had he and Clayton come to blows because of Thuran's
attitude toward the girl. Clayton dared not leave her alone
with him for an instant. The existence of the Englishman and his
fiancee was one continual nightmare of horror, and yet they lived
on in hope of ultimate rescue.

Jane Porter's thoughts often reverted to her other experience on
this savage shore. Ah, if the invincible forest god of that dead
past were but with them now. No longer would there be aught to
fear from prowling beasts, or from the bestial Russian. She could
not well refrain from comparing the scant protection afforded her
by Clayton with what she might have expected had Tarzan of the Apes
been for a single instant confronted by the sinister and menacing
attitude of Monsieur Thuran. Once, when Clayton had gone to the
little stream for water, and Thuran had spoken coarsely to her,
she voiced her thoughts.

"It is well for you, Monsieur Thuran," she said, "that the poor
Monsieur Tarzan who was lost from the ship that brought you and
Miss Strong to Cape Town is not here now."

"You knew the pig?" asked Thuran, with a sneer.

"I knew the man," she replied. "The only real man, I think, that
I have ever known."

There was something in her tone of voice that led the Russian to
attribute to her a deeper feeling for his enemy than friendship,
and he grasped at the suggestion to be further revenged upon the
man whom he supposed dead by besmirching his memory to the girl.

"He was worse than a pig," he cried. "He was a poltroon and a
coward. To save himself from the righteous wrath of the husband
of a woman he had wronged, he perjured his soul in an attempt to
place the blame entirely upon her. Not succeeding in this, he ran
away from France to escape meeting the husband upon the field of
honor. That is why he was on board the ship that bore Miss Strong
and myself to Cape Town. I know whereof I speak, for the woman
in the case is my sister. Something more I know that I have never
told another--your brave Monsieur Tarzan leaped overboard in an
agony of fear because I recognized him, and insisted that he make
reparation to me the following morning--we could have fought with
knives in my stateroom."

Jane Porter laughed. "You do not for a moment imagine that one who
has known both Monsieur Tarzan and you could ever believe such an
impossible tale?"

"Then why did he travel under an assumed name?" asked Monsieur

"I do not believe you," she cried, but nevertheless the seed of
suspicion was sown, for she knew that Hazel Strong had known her
forest god only as John Caldwell, of London.

A scant five miles north of their rude shelter, all unknown to
them, and practically as remote as though separated by thousands of
miles of impenetrable jungle, lay the snug little cabin of Tarzan
of the Apes. While farther up the coast, a few miles beyond
the cabin, in crude but well-built shelters, lived a little party
of eighteen souls--the occupants of the three boats from the LADY
ALICE from which Clayton's boat had become separated.

Over a smooth sea they had rowed to the mainland in less than three
days. None of the horrors of shipwreck had been theirs, and though
depressed by sorrow, and suffering from the shock of the catastrophe
and the unaccustomed hardships of their new existence there was
none much the worse for the experience.

All were buoyed by the hope that the fourth boat had been picked
up, and that a thorough search of the coast would be quickly made.
As all the firearms and ammunition on the yacht had been placed in
Lord Tennington's boat, the party was well equipped for defense,
and for hunting the larger game for food.

Professor Archimedes Q. Porter was their only immediate anxiety.
Fully assured in his own mind that his daughter had been picked up
by a passing steamer, he gave over the last vestige of apprehension
concerning her welfare, and devoted his giant intellect solely to the
consideration of those momentous and abstruse scientific problems
which he considered the only proper food for thought in one of
his erudition. His mind appeared blank to the influence of all
extraneous matters.

"Never," said the exhausted Mr. Samuel T. Philander, to Lord
Tennington, "never has Professor Porter been more difficult--er--I
might say, impossible. Why, only this morning, after I had been
forced to relinquish my surveillance for a brief half hour he was
entirely missing upon my return. And, bless me, sir, where do you
imagine I discovered him? A half mile out in the ocean, sir, in
one of the lifeboats, rowing away for dear life. I do not know
how he attained even that magnificent distance from shore, for he
had but a single oar, with which he was blissfully rowing about in

"When one of the sailors had taken me out to him in another boat
the professor became quite indignant at my suggestion that we return
at once to land. `Why, Mr. Philander,' he said, `I am surprised
that you, sir, a man of letters yourself, should have the temerity
so to interrupt the progress of science. I had about deduced from
certain astronomic phenomena I have had under minute observation
during the past several tropic nights an entirely new nebular
hypothesis which will unquestionably startle the scientific world.
I wish to consult a very excellent monograph on Laplace's hypothesis,
which I understand is in a certain private collection in New York
City. Your interference, Mr. Philander, will result in an irreparable
delay, for I was just rowing over to obtain this pamphlet.' And
it was with the greatest difficulty that I persuaded him to return
to shore, without resorting to force," concluded Mr. Philander.

Miss Strong and her mother were very brave under the strain of
almost constant apprehension of the attacks of savage beasts. Nor
were they quite able to accept so readily as the others the theory
that Jane, Clayton, and Monsieur Thuran had been picked up safely.

Jane Porter's Esmeralda was in a constant state of tears at the
cruel fate which had separated her from her "po, li'le honey."

Lord Tennington's great-hearted good nature never deserted him for
a moment. He was still the jovial host, seeking always for the
comfort and pleasure of his guests. With the men of his yacht he
remained the just but firm commander--there was never any more
question in the jungle than there had been on board the LADY ALICE
as to who was the final authority in all questions of importance,
and in all emergencies requiring cool and intelligent leadership.

Could this well-organized and comparatively secure party of castaways
have seen the ragged, fear-haunted trio a few miles south of them
they would scarcely have recognized in them the formerly immaculate
members of the little company that had laughed and played upon the
LADY ALICE. Clayton and Monsieur Thuran were almost naked, so torn
had their clothes been by the thorn bushes and tangled vegetation
of the matted jungle through which they had been compelled to force
their way in search of their ever more difficult food supply.

Jane Porter had of course not been subjected to these strenuous
expeditions, but her apparel was, nevertheless, in a sad state of

Clayton, for lack of any better occupation, had carefully saved
the skin of every animal they had killed. By stretching them upon
the stems of trees, and diligently scraping them, he had managed
to save them in a fair condition, and now that his clothes were
threatening to cover his nakedness no longer, he commenced to
fashion a rude garment of them, using a sharp thorn for a needle,
and bits of tough grass and animal tendons in lieu of thread.

The result when completed was a sleeveless garment which fell
nearly to his knees. As it was made up of numerous small pelts
of different species of rodents, it presented a rather strange and
wonderful appearance, which, together with the vile stench which
permeated it, rendered it anything other than a desirable addition
to a wardrobe. But the time came when for the sake of decency he
was compelled to don it, and even the misery of their condition
could not prevent Jane Porter from laughing heartily at sight of

Later, Thuran also found it necessary to construct a similar primitive
garment, so that, with their bare legs and heavily bearded faces,
they looked not unlike reincarnations of two prehistoric progenitors
of the human race. Thuran acted like one.

Nearly two months of this existence had passed when the first great
calamity befell them. It was prefaced by an adventure which came
near terminating abruptly the sufferings of two of them--terminating
them in the grim and horrible manner of the jungle, forever.

Thuran, down with an attack of jungle fever, lay in the shelter
among the branches of their tree of refuge. Clayton had been into
the jungle a few hundred yards in search of food. As he returned
Jane Porter walked to meet him. Behind the man, cunning and
crafty, crept an old and mangy lion. For three days his ancient
thews and sinews had proved insufficient for the task of providing
his cavernous belly with meat. For months he had eaten less and
less frequently, and farther and farther had he roamed from his
accustomed haunts in search of easier prey. At last he had found
nature's weakest and most defenseless creature--in a moment more
Numa would dine.

Clayton, all unconscious of the lurking death behind him, strode
out into the open toward Jane. He had reached her side, a hundred
feet from the tangled edge of jungle when past his shoulder the
girl saw the tawny head and the wicked yellow eyes as the grasses
parted, and the huge beast, nose to ground, stepped softly into

So frozen with horror was she that she could utter no sound, but
the fixed and terrified gaze of her fear-widened eyes spoke as
plainly to Clayton as words. A quick glance behind him revealed
the hopelessness of their situation. The lion was scarce thirty
paces from them, and they were equally as far from the shelter. The
man was armed with a stout stick--as efficacious against a hungry
lion, he realized, as a toy pop-gun charged with a tethered cork.

Numa, ravenous with hunger, had long since learned the futility of
roaring and moaning as he searched for prey, but now that it was
as surely his as though already he had felt the soft flesh beneath
his still mighty paw, he opened his huge jaws, and gave vent to
his long-pent rage in a series of deafening roars that made the
air tremble.

"Run, Jane!" cried Clayton. "Quick! Run for the shelter!" But
her paralyzed muscles refused to respond, and she stood mute and
rigid, staring with ghastly countenance at the living death creeping
toward them.

Thuran, at the sound of that awful roar, had come to the opening
of the shelter, and as he saw the tableau below him he hopped up
and down, shrieking to them in Russian.

"Run! Run!" he cried. "Run, or I shall be left all alone in this
horrible place," and then he broke down and commenced to weep. For
a moment this new voice distracted the attention of the lion, who
halted to cast an inquiring glance in the direction of the tree.
Clayton could endure the strain no longer. Turning his back upon
the beast, he buried his head in his arms and waited.

The girl looked at him in horror. Why did he not do something?
If he must die, why not die like a man--bravely; beating at that
terrible face with his puny stick, no matter how futile it might
be. Would Tarzan of the Apes have done thus? Would he not at
least have gone down to his death fighting heroically to the last?

Now the lion was crouching for the spring that would end their young
lives beneath cruel, rending, yellow fangs. Jane Porter sank to
her knees in prayer, closing her eyes to shut out the last hideous
instant. Thuran, weak from fever, fainted.

Seconds dragged into minutes, long minutes into an eternity, and
yet the beast did not spring. Clayton was almost unconscious from
the prolonged agony of fright--his knees trembled--a moment more
and he would collapse.

Jane Porter could endure it no longer. She opened her eyes. Could
she be dreaming?

"William," she whispered; "look!"

Clayton mastered himself sufficiently to raise his head and turn
toward the lion. An ejaculation of surprise burst from his lips.
At their very feet the beast lay crumpled in death. A heavy war
spear protruded from the tawny hide. It had entered the great back
above the right shoulder, and, passing entirely through the body,
had pierced the savage heart.

Jane Porter had risen to her feet; as Clayton turned back to her
she staggered in weakness. He put out his arms to save her from
falling, and then drew her close to him--pressing her head against
his shoulder, he stooped to kiss her in thanksgiving.

Gently the girl pushed him away.

"Please do not do that, William," she said. "I have lived a
thousand years in the past brief moments. I have learned in the
face of death how to live. I do not wish to hurt you more than
is necessary; but I can no longer bear to live out the impossible
position I have attempted because of a false sense of loyalty to
an impulsive promise I made you.

"The last few seconds of my life have taught me that it would be
hideous to attempt further to deceive myself and you, or to entertain
for an instant longer the possibility of ever becoming your wife,
should we regain civilization."

"Why, Jane," he cried, "what do you mean? What has our providential
rescue to do with altering your feelings toward me? You are but
unstrung--tomorrow you will be yourself again."

"I am more nearly myself this minute than I have been for over a
year," she replied. "The thing that has just happened has again
forced to my memory the fact that the bravest man that ever lived
honored me with his love. Until it was too late I did not realize
that I returned it, and so I sent him away. He is dead now, and
I shall never marry. I certainly could not wed another less brave
than he without harboring constantly a feeling of contempt for the
relative cowardice of my husband. Do you understand me?"

"Yes," he answered, with bowed head, his face mantling with the
flush of shame.

And it was the next day that the great calamity befell.

Chapter 22

The Treasure Vaults of Opar

It was quite dark before La, the high priestess, returned to the
Chamber of the Dead with food and drink for Tarzan. She bore no
light, feeling with her hands along the crumbling walls until she
gained the chamber. Through the stone grating above, a tropic moon
served dimly to illuminate the interior.

Tarzan, crouching in the shadows at the far side of the room as
the first sound of approaching footsteps reached him, came forth
to meet the girl as he recognized that it was she.

"They are furious," were her first words. "Never before has a
human sacrifice escaped the altar. Already fifty have gone forth
to track you down. They have searched the temple--all save this
single room."

"Why do they fear to come here?" he asked.

"It is the Chamber of the Dead. Here the dead return to worship.
See this ancient altar? It is here that the dead sacrifice the
living--if they find a victim here. That is the reason our people
shun this chamber. Were one to enter he knows that the waiting
dead would seize him for their sacrifice."

"But you?" he asked.

"I am high priestess--I alone am safe from the dead. It is I who
at rare intervals bring them a human sacrifice from the world above.
I alone may enter here in safety."

"Why have they not seized me?" he asked, humoring her grotesque

She looked at him quizzically for a moment. Then she replied:

"It is the duty of a high priestess to instruct, to interpret--according
to the creed that others, wiser than herself, have laid down; but
there is nothing in the creed which says that she must believe.
The more one knows of one's religion the less one believes--no one
living knows more of mine than I."

"Then your only fear in aiding me to escape is that your fellow
mortals may discover your duplicity?"

"That is all--the dead are dead; they cannot harm--or help. We must
therefore depend entirely upon ourselves, and the sooner we act
the better it will be. I had difficulty in eluding their vigilance
but now in bringing you this morsel of food. To attempt to repeat
the thing daily would be the height of folly. Come, let us see
how far we may go toward liberty before I must return."

She led him back to the chamber beneath the altar room. Here she
turned into one of the several corridors leading from it. In the
darkness Tarzan could not see which one. For ten minutes they
groped slowly along a winding passage, until at length they came
to a closed door. Here he heard her fumbling with a key, and
presently came the sound of a metal bolt grating against metal.
The door swung in on scraping hinges, and they entered.

"You will be safe here until tomorrow night," she said.

Then she went out, and, closing the door, locked it behind her.

Where Tarzan stood it was dark as Erebus. Not even his trained eyes
could penetrate the utter blackness. Cautiously he moved forward
until his out-stretched hand touched a wall, then very slowly he
traveled around the four walls of the chamber.

Apparently it was about twenty feet square. The floor was
of concrete, the walls of the dry masonry that marked the method
of construction above ground. Small pieces of granite of various
sizes were ingeniously laid together without mortar to construct
these ancient foundations.

The first time around the walls Tarzan thought he detected a strange
phenomenon for a room with no windows but a single door. Again
he crept carefully around close to the wall. No, he could not be
mistaken! He paused before the center of the wall opposite the
door. For a moment he stood quite motionless, then he moved a few
feet to one side. Again he returned, only to move a few feet to
the other side.

Once more he made the entire circuit of the room, feeling carefully
every foot of the walls. Finally he stopped again before the
particular section that had aroused his curiosity. There was no
doubt of it! A distinct draft of fresh air was blowing into the
chamber through the intersection of the masonry at that particular
point--and nowhere else.

Tarzan tested several pieces of the granite which made up the wall
at this spot, and finally was rewarded by finding one which lifted
out readily. It was about ten inches wide, with a face some three
by six inches showing within the chamber. One by one the ape-man
lifted out similarly shaped stones. The wall at this point was
constructed entirely, it seemed, of these almost perfect slabs.
In a short time he had removed some dozen, when he reached in to
test the next layer of masonry. To his surprise, he felt nothing
behind the masonry he had removed as far as his long arm could

It was a matter of but a few minutes to remove enough of the wall
to permit his body to pass through the aperture. Directly ahead
of him he thought he discerned a faint glow--scarcely more than a
less impenetrable darkness. Cautiously he moved forward on hands
and knees, until at about fifteen feet, or the average thickness of
the foundation walls, the floor ended abruptly in a sudden drop.
As far out as he could reach he felt nothing, nor could he find the
bottom of the black abyss that yawned before him, though, clinging
to the edge of the floor, he lowered his body into the darkness to
its full length.

Finally it occurred to him to look up, and there above him he
saw through a round opening a tiny circular patch of starry sky.
Feeling up along the sides of the shaft as far as he could reach,
the ape-man discovered that so much of the wall as he could feel
converged toward the center of the shaft as it rose. This fact
precluded possibility of escape in that direction.

As he sat speculating on the nature and uses of this strange passage
and its terminal shaft, the moon topped the opening above, letting
a flood of soft, silvery light into the shadowy place. Instantly
the nature of the shaft became apparent to Tarzan, for far below
him he saw the shimmering surface of water. He had come upon an
ancient well--but what was the purpose of the connection between
the well and the dungeon in which he had been hidden?

As the moon crossed the opening of the shaft its light flooded
the whole interior, and then Tarzan saw directly across from him
another opening in the opposite wall. He wondered if this might
not be the mouth of a passage leading to possible escape. It would
be worth investigating, at least, and this he determined to do.

Quickly returning to the wall he had demolished to explore what lay
beyond it, he carried the stones into the passageway and replaced
them from that side. The deep deposit of dust which he had noticed
upon the blocks as he had first removed them from the wall had
convinced him that even if the present occupants of the ancient
pile had knowledge of this hidden passage they had made no use of
it for perhaps generations.

The wall replaced, Tarzan turned to the shaft, which was some
fifteen feet wide at this point. To leap across the intervening
space was a small matter to the ape-man, and a moment later he was
proceeding along a narrow tunnel, moving cautiously for fear of
being precipitated into another shaft such as he had just crossed.

He had advanced some hundred feet when he came to a flight of steps
leading downward into Stygian gloom. Some twenty feet below, the
level floor of the tunnel recommenced, and shortly afterward his
progress was stopped by a heavy wooden door which was secured by
massive wooden bars upon the side of Tarzan's approach. This fact
suggested to the ape-man that he might surely be in a passageway
leading to the outer world, for the bolts, barring progress from
the opposite side, tended to substantiate this hypothesis, unless
it were merely a prison to which it led.

Along the tops of the bars were deep layers of dust--a further
indication that the passage had lain long unused. As he pushed
the massive obstacle aside, its great hinges shrieked out in weird
protest against this unaccustomed disturbance. For a moment Tarzan
paused to listen for any responsive note which might indicate that
the unusual night noise had alarmed the inmates of the temple; but
as he heard nothing he advanced beyond the doorway.

Carefully feeling about, he found himself within a large chamber,
along the walls of which, and down the length of the floor, were
piled many tiers of metal ingots of an odd though uniform shape.
To his groping hands they felt not unlike double-headed bootjacks.
The ingots were quite heavy, and but for the enormous number of them
he would have been positive that they were gold; but the thought of
the fabulous wealth these thousands of pounds of metal would have
represented were they in reality gold, almost convinced him that
they must be of some baser metal.

At the far end of the chamber he discovered another barred door,
and again the bars upon the inside renewed the hope that he was
traversing an ancient and forgotten passageway to liberty. Beyond
the door the passage ran straight as a war spear, and it soon
became evident to the ape-man that it had already led him beyond
the outer walls of the temple. If he but knew the direction it
was leading him! If toward the west, then he must also be beyond
the city's outer walls.

With increasing hopes he forged ahead as rapidly as he dared,
until at the end of half an hour he came to another flight of steps
leading upward. At the bottom this flight was of concrete, but as
he ascended his naked feet felt a sudden change in the substance
they were treading. The steps of concrete had given place to steps
of granite. Feeling with his hands, the ape-man discovered that
these latter were evidently hewed from rock, for there was no crack
to indicate a joint.

For a hundred feet the steps wound spirally up, until at a sudden
turning Tarzan came into a narrow cleft between two rocky walls.
Above him shone the starry sky, and before him a steep incline
replaced the steps that had terminated at its foot. Up this pathway
Tarzan hastened, and at its upper end came out upon the rough top
of a huge granite bowlder.

A mile away lay the ruined city of Opar, its domes and turrets
bathed in the soft light of the equatorial moon. Tarzan dropped
his eyes to the ingot he had brought away with him. For a moment
he examined it by the moon's bright rays, then he raised his head
to look out upon the ancient piles of crumbling grandeur in the

"Opar," he mused, "Opar, the enchanted city of a dead and forgotten
past. The city of the beauties and the beasts. City of horrors
and death; but--city of fabulous riches." The ingot was of virgin

The bowlder on which Tarzan found himself lay well out in the plain
between the city and the distant cliffs he and his black warriors
had scaled the morning previous. To descend its rough and precipitous
face was a task of infinite labor and considerable peril even to
the ape-man; but at last he felt the soft soil of the valley beneath
his feet, and without a backward glance at Opar he turned his face
toward the guardian cliffs, and at a rapid trot set off across the

The sun was just rising as he gained the summit of the flat
mountain at the valley's western boundary. Far beneath him he saw
smoke arising above the tree-tops of the forest at the base of the

"Man," he murmured. "And there were fifty who went forth to track
me down. Can it be they?"

Swiftly he descended the face of the cliff, and, dropping into a
narrow ravine which led down to the far forest, he hastened onward
in the direction of the smoke. Striking the forest's edge about a
quarter of a mile from the point at which the slender column arose
into the still air, he took to the trees. Cautiously he approached
until there suddenly burst upon his view a rude BOMA, in the center
of which, squatted about their tiny fires, sat his fifty black
Waziri. He called to them in their own tongue:

"Arise, my children, and greet thy king!"

With exclamations of surprise and fear the warriors leaped to
their feet, scarcely knowing whether to flee or not. Then Tarzan
dropped lightly from an overhanging branch into their midst. When
they realized that it was indeed their chief in the flesh, and no
materialized spirit, they went mad with joy.

"We were cowards, oh, Waziri," cried Busuli. "We ran away and left
you to your fate; but when our panic was over we swore to return
and save you, or at least take revenge upon your murderers. We
were but now preparing to scale the heights once more and cross
the desolate valley to the terrible city."

"Have you seen fifty frightful men pass down from the cliffs into
this forest, my children?" asked Tarzan.

"Yes, Waziri," replied Busuli. "They passed us late yesterday, as
we were about to turn back after you. They had no woodcraft. We
heard them coming for a mile before we saw them, and as we had
other business in hand we withdrew into the forest and let them
pass. They were waddling rapidly along upon short legs, and now
and then one would go upon all fours like Bolgani, the gorilla.
They were indeed fifty frightful men, Waziri."

When Tarzan had related his adventures and told them of the yellow
metal he had found, not one demurred when he outlined a plan to
return by night and bring away what they could carry of the vast
treasure; and so it was that as dusk fell across the desolate valley
of Opar fifty ebon warriors trailed at a smart trot over the dry
and dusty ground toward the giant bowlder that loomed before the

If it had seemed a difficult task to descend the face of the bowlder,
Tarzan soon found that it would be next to impossible to get his
fifty warriors to the summit. Finally the feat was accomplished
by dint of herculean efforts upon the part of the ape-man. Ten
spears were fastened end to end, and with one end of this remarkable
chain attached to his waist, Tarzan at last succeeded in reaching
the summit.

Once there, he drew up one of his blacks, and in this way the
entire party was finally landed in safety upon the bowlder's top.
Immediately Tarzan led them to the treasure chamber, where to each
was allotted a load of two ingots, for each about eighty pounds.

By midnight the entire party stood once more at the foot of the
bowlder, but with their heavy loads it was mid-forenoon ere they
reached the summit of the cliffs. From there on the homeward
journey was slow, as these proud fighting men were unaccustomed to
the duties of porters. But they bore their burdens uncomplainingly,
and at the end of thirty days entered their own country.

Here, instead of continuing on toward the northwest and their village,
Tarzan guided them almost directly west, until on the morning of
the thirty-third day he bade them break camp and return to their
own village, leaving the gold where they had stacked it the previous

"And you, Waziri?" they asked.

"I shall remain here for a few days, my children," he replied.
"Now hasten back to thy wives and children."

When they had gone Tarzan gathered up two of the ingots and, springing
into a tree, ran lightly above the tangled and impenetrable mass
of undergrowth for a couple of hundred yards, to emerge suddenly
upon a circular clearing about which the giants of the jungle
forest towered like a guardian host. In the center of this natural
amphitheater, was a little flat-topped mound of hard earth.

Hundreds of times before had Tarzan been to this secluded spot,
which was so densely surrounded by thorn bushes and tangled vines
and creepers of huge girth that not even Sheeta, the leopard, could
worm his sinuous way within, nor Tantor, with his giant strength,
force the barriers which protected the council chamber of the great
apes from all but the harmless denizens of the savage jungle.

Fifty trips Tarzan made before he had deposited all the ingots
within the precincts of the amphitheater. Then from the hollow of
an ancient, lightning-blasted tree he produced the very spade with
which he had uncovered the chest of Professor Archimedes Q. Porter
which he had once, apelike, buried in this selfsame spot. With
this he dug a long trench, into which he laid the fortune that his
blacks had carried from the forgotten treasure vaults of the city
of Opar.

That night he slept within the amphitheater, and early the next
morning set out to revisit his cabin before returning to his Waziri.
Finding things as he had left them, he went forth into the jungle
to hunt, intending to bring his prey to the cabin where he might
feast in comfort, spending the night upon a comfortable couch.

For five miles toward the south he roamed, toward the banks of
a fair-sized river that flowed into the sea about six miles from
his cabin. He had gone inland about half a mile when there came
suddenly to his trained nostrils the one scent that sets the whole
savage jungle aquiver--Tarzan smelled man.

The wind was blowing off the ocean, so Tarzan knew that the authors
of the scent were west of him. Mixed with the man scent was the
scent of Numa. Man and lion. "I had better hasten," thought the
ape-man, for he had recognized the scent of whites. "Numa may be

When he came through the trees to the edge of the jungle he saw a
woman kneeling in prayer, and before her stood a wild, primitive-looking
white man, his face buried in his arms. Behind the man a mangy
lion was advancing slowly toward this easy prey. The man's face
was averted; the woman's bowed in prayer. He could not see the
features of either.

Already Numa was about to spring. There was not a second to spare.
Tarzan could not even unsling his bow and fit an arrow in time to
send one of his deadly poisoned shafts into the yellow hide. He
was too far away to reach the beast in time with his knife. There
was but a single hope--a lone alternative. And with the quickness
of thought the ape-man acted.

A brawny arm flew back--for the briefest fraction of an instant a
huge spear poised above the giant's shoulder--and then the mighty
arm shot out, and swift death tore through the intervening leaves
to bury itself in the heart of the leaping lion. Without a sound
he rolled over at the very feet of his intended victims--dead.

For a moment neither the man nor the woman moved. Then the latter
opened her eyes to look with wonder upon the dead beast behind her
companion. As that beautiful head went up Tarzan of the Apes gave
a gasp of incredulous astonishment. Was he mad? It could not be
the woman he loved! But, indeed, it was none other.

And the woman rose, and the man took her in his arms to kiss
her, and of a sudden the ape-man saw red through a bloody mist of
murder, and the old scar upon his forehead burned scarlet against
his brown hide.

There was a terrible expression upon his savage face as he fitted
a poisoned shaft to his bow. An ugly light gleamed in those gray
eyes as he sighted full at the back of the unsuspecting man beneath

For an instant he glanced along the polished shaft, drawing the
bowstring far back, that the arrow might pierce through the heart
for which it was aimed.

But he did not release the fatal messenger. Slowly the point
of the arrow drooped; the scar upon the brown forehead faded; the
bowstring relaxed; and Tarzan of the Apes, with bowed head, turned
sadly into the jungle toward the village of the Waziri.

Chapter 23

The Fifty Frightful Men

For several long minutes Jane Porter and William Cecil Clayton stood
silently looking at the dead body of the beast whose prey they had
so narrowly escaped becoming.

The girl was the first to speak again after her outbreak of impulsive

"Who could it have been?" she whispered.

"God knows!" was the man's only reply.

"If it is a friend, why does he not show himself?" continued Jane.
"Wouldn't it be well to call out to him, and at least thank him?"

Mechanically Clayton did her bidding, but there was no response.

Jane Porter shuddered. "The mysterious jungle," she murmured. "The
terrible jungle. It renders even the manifestations of friendship

"We had best return to the shelter," said Clayton. "You will be
at least a little safer there. I am no protection whatever," he
added bitterly.

"Do not say that, William," she hastened to urge, acutely sorry
for the wound her words had caused. "You have done the best you
could. You have been noble, and self-sacrificing, and brave. It
is no fault of yours that you are not a superman. There is only
one other man I have ever known who could have done more than you.
My words were ill chosen in the excitement of the reaction--I did
not wish to wound you. All that I wish is that we may both understand
once and for all that I can never marry you--that such a marriage
would be wicked."

"I think I understand," he replied. "Let us not speak of it
again--at least until we are back in civilization."

The next day Thuran was worse. Almost constantly he was in a
state of delirium. They could do nothing to relieve him, nor was
Clayton over-anxious to attempt anything. On the girl's account
he feared the Russian--in the bottom of his heart he hoped the
man would die. The thought that something might befall him that
would leave her entirely at the mercy of this beast caused him
greater anxiety than the probability that almost certain death
awaited her should she be left entirely alone upon the outskirts
of the cruel forest.

The Englishman had extracted the heavy spear from the body of the
lion, so that when he went into the forest to hunt that morning
he had a feeling of much greater security than at any time since
they had been cast upon the savage shore. The result was that he
penetrated farther from the shelter than ever before.

To escape as far as possible from the mad ravings of the fever-stricken
Russian, Jane Porter had descended from the shelter to the foot of
the tree--she dared not venture farther. Here, beside the crude
ladder Clayton had constructed for her, she sat looking out to sea,
in the always surviving hope that a vessel might be sighted.

Her back was toward the jungle, and so she did not see the grasses
part, or the savage face that peered from between. Little,
bloodshot, close-set eyes scanned her intently, roving from time
to time about the open beach for indications of the presence of
others than herself. Presently another head appeared, and then
another and another. The man in the shelter commenced to rave again,
and the heads disappeared as silently and as suddenly as they had
come. But soon they were thrust forth once more, as the girl gave
no sign of perturbation at the continued wailing of the man above.

One by one grotesque forms emerged from the jungle to creep
stealthily upon the unsuspecting woman. A faint rustling of the
grasses attracted her attention. She turned, and at the sight
that confronted her staggered to her feet with a little shriek of
fear. Then they closed upon her with a rush. Lifting her bodily
in his long, gorilla-like arms, one of the creatures turned and bore
her into the jungle. A filthy paw covered her mouth to stifle her
screams. Added to the weeks of torture she had already undergone,
the shock was more than she could withstand. Shattered nerves
collapsed, and she lost consciousness. When she regained her
senses she found herself in the thick of the primeval forest. It
was night. A huge fire burned brightly in the little clearing in
which she lay. About it squatted fifty frightful men. Their heads
and faces were covered with matted hair. Their long arms rested
upon the bent knees of their short, crooked legs. They were gnawing,
like beasts, upon unclean food. A pot boiled upon the edge of the
fire, and out of it one of the creatures would occasionally drag
a hunk of meat with a sharpened stick.

When they discovered that their captive had regained consciousness,
a piece of this repulsive stew was tossed to her from the foul hand
of a nearby feaster. It rolled close to her side, but she only
closed her eyes as a qualm of nausea surged through her.

For many days they traveled through the dense forest. The girl,
footsore and exhausted, was half dragged, half pushed through the
long, hot, tedious days. Occasionally, when she would stumble and
fall, she was cuffed and kicked by the nearest of the frightful
men. Long before they reached their journey's end her shoes had
been discarded--the soles entirely gone. Her clothes were torn
to mere shreds and tatters, and through the pitiful rags her once
white and tender skin showed raw and bleeding from contact with the
thousand pitiless thorns and brambles through which she had been

The last two days of the journey found her in such utter exhaustion
that no amount of kicking and abuse could force her to her poor,
bleeding feet. Outraged nature had reached the limit of endurance,
and the girl was physically powerless to raise herself even to her

As the beasts surrounded her, chattering threateningly the while
they goaded her with their cudgels and beat and kicked her with
their fists and feet, she lay with closed eyes, praying for the
merciful death that she knew alone could give her surcease from
suffering; but it did not come, and presently the fifty frightful
men realized that their victim was no longer able to walk, and so
they picked her up and carried her the balance of the journey.

Late one afternoon she saw the ruined walls of a mighty city
looming before them, but so weak and sick was she that it inspired
not the faintest shadow of interest. Wherever they were bearing
her, there could be but one end to her captivity among these fierce
half brutes.

At last they passed through two great walls and came to the ruined
city within. Into a crumbling pile they bore her, and here she was
surrounded by hundreds more of the same creatures that had brought
her; but among them were females who looked less horrible. At
sight of them the first faint hope that she had entertained came
to mitigate her misery. But it was short-lived, for the women
offered her no sympathy, though, on the other hand, neither did
they abuse her.

After she had been inspected to the entire satisfaction of the
inmates of the building she was borne to a dark chamber in the
vaults beneath, and here upon the bare floor she was left, with a
metal bowl of water and another of food.

For a week she saw only some of the women whose duty it was to
bring her food and water. Slowly her strength was returning--soon
she would be in fit condition to offer as a sacrifice to The Flaming
God. Fortunate indeed it was that she could not know the fate for
which she was destined.

As Tarzan of the Apes moved slowly through the jungle after casting
the spear that saved Clayton and Jane Porter from the fangs of Numa,
his mind was filled with all the sorrow that belongs to a freshly
opened heart wound.

He was glad that he had stayed his hand in time to prevent the
consummation of the thing that in the first mad wave of jealous
wrath he had contemplated. Only the fraction of a second had
stood between Clayton and death at the hands of the ape-man. In
the short moment that had elapsed after he had recognized the girl
and her companion and the relaxing of the taut muscles that held
the poisoned shaft directed at the Englishman's heart, Tarzan had
been swayed by the swift and savage impulses of brute life.

He had seen the woman he craved--his woman--his mate--in the arms
of another. There had been but one course open to him, according
to the fierce jungle code that guided him in this other existence;
but just before it had become too late the softer sentiments of his
inherent chivalry had risen above the flaming fires of his passion
and saved him. A thousand times he gave thanks that they had
triumphed before his fingers had released that polished arrow.

As he contemplated his return to the Waziri the idea became
repugnant. He did not wish to see a human being again. At least
he would range alone through the jungle for a time, until the sharp
edge of his sorrow had become blunted. Like his fellow beasts, he
preferred to suffer in silence and alone.

That night he slept again in the amphitheater of the apes, and
for several days he hunted from there, returning at night. On the
afternoon of the third day he returned early. He had lain stretched
upon the soft grass of the circular clearing for but a few moments
when he heard far to the south a familiar sound. It was the passing
through the jungle of a band of great apes--he could not mistake
that. For several minutes he lay listening. They were coming in
the direction of the amphitheater.

Tarzan arose lazily and stretched himself. His keen ears followed
every movement of the advancing tribe. They were upwind, and
presently he caught their scent, though he had not needed this
added evidence to assure him that he was right.

As they came closer to the amphitheater Tarzan of the Apes melted
into the branches upon the other side of the arena. There he waited
to inspect the newcomers. Nor had he long to wait.

Presently a fierce, hairy face appeared among the lower branches
opposite him. The cruel little eyes took in the clearing at a
glance, then there was a chattered report returned to those behind.
Tarzan could hear the words. The scout was telling the other
members of the tribe that the coast was clear and that they might
enter the amphitheater in safety.

First the leader dropped lightly upon the soft carpet of the grassy
floor, and then, one by one, nearly a hundred anthropoids followed
him. There were the huge adults and several young. A few nursing
babes clung close to the shaggy necks of their savage mothers.

Tarzan recognized many members of the tribe. It was the same into
which he had come as a tiny babe. Many of the adults had been little
apes during his boyhood. He had frolicked and played about this
very jungle with them during their brief childhood. He wondered if
they would remember him--the memory of some apes is not overlong,
and two years may be an eternity to them.

From the talk which he overheard he learned that they had come
to choose a new king--their late chief had fallen a hundred feet
beneath a broken limb to an untimely end.

Tarzan walked to the end of an overhanging limb in plain view of
them. The quick eyes of a female caught sight of him first. With
a barking guttural she called the attention of the others. Several
huge bulls stood erect to get a better view of the intruder. With
bared fangs and bristling necks they advanced slowly toward him,
with deep-throated, ominous growls.

"Karnath, I am Tarzan of the Apes," said the ape-man in the vernacular
of the tribe. "You remember me. Together we teased Numa when we
were still little apes, throwing sticks and nuts at him from the
safety of high branches."

The brute he had addressed stopped with a look of half-comprehending,
dull wonderment upon his savage face.

"And Magor," continued Tarzan, addressing another, "do you not recall
your former king--he who slew the mighty Kerchak? Look at me! Am
I not the same Tarzan--mighty hunter--invincible fighter--that you
all knew for many seasons?"

The apes all crowded forward now, but more in curiosity than
threatening. They muttered among themselves for a few moments.

"What do you want among us now?" asked Karnath.

"Only peace," answered the ape-man.

Again the apes conferred. At length Karnath spoke again.

"Come in peace, then, Tarzan of the Apes," he said.

And so Tarzan of the Apes dropped lightly to the turf into the
midst of the fierce and hideous horde--he had completed the cycle of
evolution, and had returned to be once again a brute among brutes.

There were no greetings such as would have taken place among men
after a separation of two years. The majority of the apes went
on about the little activities that the advent of the ape-man had
interrupted, paying no further attention to him than as though he
had not been gone from the tribe at all.

One or two young bulls who had not been old enough to remember him
sidled up on all fours to sniff at him, and one bared his fangs
and growled threateningly--he wished to put Tarzan immediately into
his proper place. Had Tarzan backed off, growling, the young bull
would quite probably have been satisfied, but always after Tarzan's
station among his fellow apes would have been beneath that of the
bull which had made him step aside.

But Tarzan of the Apes did not back off. Instead, he swung his
giant palm with all the force of his mighty muscles, and, catching
the young bull alongside the head, sent him sprawling across the
turf. The ape was up and at him again in a second, and this time
they closed with tearing fingers and rending fangs--or at least
that had been the intention of the young bull; but scarcely had
they gone down, growling and snapping, than the ape-man's fingers
found the throat of his antagonist.

Presently the young bull ceased to struggle, and lay quite still.
Then Tarzan released his hold and arose--he did not wish to kill,
only to teach the young ape, and others who might be watching, that
Tarzan of the Apes was still master.

The lesson served its purpose--the young apes kept out of his
way, as young apes should when their betters were about, and the
old bulls made no attempt to encroach upon his prerogatives. For
several days the she-apes with young remained suspicious of him,
and when he ventured too near rushed upon him with wide mouths and
hideous roars. Then Tarzan discreetly skipped out of harm's way,
for that also is a custom among the apes--only mad bulls will attack
a mother. But after a while even they became accustomed to him.

He hunted with them as in days gone by, and when they found that
his superior reason guided him to the best food sources, and that
his cunning rope ensnared toothsome game that they seldom if ever
tasted, they came again to look up to him as they had in the past
after he had become their king. And so it was that before they
left the amphitheater to return to their wanderings they had once
more chosen him as their leader.

The ape-man felt quite contented with his new lot. He was not
happy--that he never could be again, but he was at least as far
from everything that might remind him of his past misery as he
could be. Long since he had given up every intention of returning
to civilization, and now he had decided to see no more his black
friends of the Waziri. He had foresworn humanity forever. He had
started life an ape--as an ape he would die.

He could not, however, erase from his memory the fact that the woman
he loved was within a short journey of the stamping-ground of his
tribe; nor could he banish the haunting fear that she might be
constantly in danger. That she was illy protected he had seen in
the brief instant that had witnessed Clayton's inefficiency. The
more Tarzan thought of it, the more keenly his conscience pricked

Finally he came to loathe himself for permitting his own selfish
sorrow and jealousy to stand between Jane Porter and safety. As
the days passed the thing preyed more and more upon his mind, and
he had about determined to return to the coast and place himself
on guard over Jane Porter and Clayton, when news reached him that
altered all his plans and sent him dashing madly toward the east
in reckless disregard of accident and death.

Before Tarzan had returned to the tribe, a certain young bull,
not being able to secure a mate from among his own people, had,
according to custom, fared forth through the wild jungle, like
some knight-errant of old, to win a fair lady from some neighboring

He had but just returned with his bride, and was narrating his
adventures quickly before he should forget them. Among other things
he told of seeing a great tribe of strange-looking apes.

"They were all hairy-faced bulls but one," he said, "and that one
was a she, lighter in color even than this stranger," and he chucked
a thumb at Tarzan.

The ape-man was all attention in an instant. He asked questions
as rapidly as the slow-witted anthropoid could answer them.

"Were the bulls short, with crooked legs?"

"They were."

"Did they wear the skins of Numa and Sheeta about their loins, and
carry sticks and knives?"

"They did."

"And were there many yellow rings about their arms and legs?"


"And the she one--was she small and slender, and very white?"


"Did she seem to be one of the tribe, or was she a prisoner?"

"They dragged her along--sometimes by an arm--sometimes by the long
hair that grew upon her head; and always they kicked and beat her.
Oh, but it was great fun to watch them."

"God!" muttered Tarzan.

"Where were they when you saw them, and which way were they going?"
continued the ape-man.

"They were beside the second water back there," and he pointed to
the south. "When they passed me they were going toward the morning,
upward along the edge of the water."

"When was this?" asked Tarzan.

"Half a moon since."

Without another word the ape-man sprang into the trees and fled
like a disembodied spirit eastward in the direction of the forgotten
city of Opar.

Chapter 24

How Tarzan Came Again to Opar

When Clayton returned to the shelter and found Jane Porter was
missing, he became frantic with fear and grief. He found Monsieur
Thuran quite rational, the fever having left him with the surprising
suddenness which is one of its peculiarities. The Russian, weak
and exhausted, still lay upon his bed of grasses within the shelter.

When Clayton asked him about the girl he seemed surprised to know
that she was not there.

"I have heard nothing unusual," he said. "But then I have been
unconscious much of the time."

Had it not been for the man's very evident weakness, Clayton should
have suspected him of having sinister knowledge of the girl's
whereabouts; but he could see that Thuran lacked sufficient vitality
even to descend, unaided, from the shelter. He could not, in his
present physical condition, have harmed the girl, nor could he have
climbed the rude ladder back to the shelter.

Until dark the Englishman searched the nearby jungle for a trace
of the missing one or a sign of the trail of her abductor. But
though the spoor left by the fifty frightful men, unversed in
woodcraft as they were, would have been as plain to the densest
denizen of the jungle as a city street to the Englishman, yet he
crossed and recrossed it twenty times without observing the slightest
indication that many men had passed that way but a few short hours

As he searched, Clayton continued to call the girl's name aloud, but
the only result of this was to attract Numa, the lion. Fortunately
the man saw the shadowy form worming its way toward him in time to
climb into the branches of a tree before the beast was close enough
to reach him. This put an end to his search for the balance of
the afternoon, as the lion paced back and forth beneath him until

Even after the beast had left, Clayton dared not descend into
the awful blackness beneath him, and so he spent a terrifying and
hideous night in the tree. The next morning he returned to the
beach, relinquishing the last hope of succoring Jane Porter.

During the week that followed, Monsieur Thuran rapidly regained
his strength, lying in the shelter while Clayton hunted food for
both. The men never spoke except as necessity demanded. Clayton
now occupied the section of the shelter which had been reserved for
Jane Porter, and only saw the Russian when he took food or water
to him, or performed the other kindly offices which common humanity

When Thuran was again able to descend in search of food, Clayton
was stricken with fever. For days he lay tossing in delirium and
suffering, but not once did the Russian come near him. Food the
Englishman could not have eaten, but his craving for water amounted
practically to torture. Between the recurrent attacks of delirium,
weak though he was, he managed to reach the brook once a day and
fill a tiny can that had been among the few appointments of the

Thuran watched him on these occasions with an expression of malignant
pleasure--he seemed really to enjoy the suffering of the man who,
despite the just contempt in which he held him, had ministered
to him to the best of his ability while he lay suffering the same
agonies. At last Clayton became so weak that he was no longer
able to descend from the shelter. For a day he suffered for water
without appealing to the Russian, but finally, unable to endure
it longer, he asked Thuran to fetch him a drink. The Russian came
to the entrance to Clayton's room, a dish of water in his hand. A
nasty grin contorted his features.

"Here is water," he said. "But first let me remind you that you
maligned me before the girl--that you kept her to yourself, and
would not share her with me--"

Clayton interrupted him. "Stop!" he cried. Stop! What manner
of cur are you that you traduce the character of a good woman whom
we believe dead! God! I was a fool ever to let you live--you are
not fit to live even in this vile land."

"Here is your water," said the Russian. "All you will get," and
he raised the basin to his lips and drank; what was left he threw
out upon the ground below. Then he turned and left the sick man.

Clayton rolled over, and, burying his face in his arms, gave up
the battle.

The next day Thuran determined to set out toward the north along the
coast, for he knew that eventually he must come to the habitations
of civilized men--at least he could be no worse off than he was
here, and, furthermore, the ravings of the dying Englishman were
getting on his nerves. So he stole Clayton's spear and set off upon
his journey. He would have killed the sick man before he left had
it not occurred to him that it would really have been a kindness
to do so.

That same day he came to a little cabin by the beach, and his heart
filled with renewed hope as he saw this evidence of the proximity
of civilization, for he thought it but the outpost of a nearby
settlement. Had he known to whom it belonged, and that its owner
was at that very moment but a few miles inland, Nikolas Rokoff
would have fled the place as he would a pestilence. But he did
not know, and so he remained for a few days to enjoy the security
and comparative comforts of the cabin. Then he took up his northward
journey once more.

In Lord Tennington's camp preparations were going forward to build
permanent quarters, and then to send out an expedition of a few
men to the north in search of relief.

As the days had passed without bringing the longed-for succor, hope
that Jane Porter, Clayton, and Monsieur Thuran had been rescued
began to die. No one spoke of the matter longer to Professor
Porter, and he was so immersed in his scientific dreaming that he
was not aware of the elapse of time.

Occasionally he would remark that within a few days they should
certainly see a steamer drop anchor off their shore, and that then
they should all be reunited happily. Sometimes he spoke of it as
a train, and wondered if it were being delayed by snowstorms.

"If I didn't know the dear old fellow so well by now," Tennington
remarked to Miss Strong, "I should be quite certain that he was--er--not
quite right, don't you know." "If it were not so pathetic it would
be ridiculous," said the girl, sadly. "I, who have known him all
my life, know how he worships Jane; but to others it must seem
that he is perfectly callous to her fate. It is only that he is so
absolutely impractical that he cannot conceive of so real a thing
as death unless nearly certain proof of it is thrust upon him."

"You'd never guess what he was about yesterday," continued Tennington.
"I was coming in alone from a little hunt when I met him walking
rapidly along the game trail that I was following back to camp.
His hands were clasped beneath the tails of his long black coat,
and his top hat was set firmly down upon his head, as with eyes
bent upon the ground he hastened on, probably to some sudden death
had I not intercepted him.

"`Why, where in the world are you bound, professor?' I asked him.
`I am going into town, Lord Tennington,' he said, as seriously
as possible, `to complain to the postmaster about the rural free
delivery service we are suffering from here. Why, sir, I haven't
had a piece of mail in weeks. There should be several letters for
me from Jane. The matter must be reported to Washington at once.'

"And would you believe it, Miss Strong," continued Tennington, "I
had the very deuce of a job to convince the old fellow that there
was not only no rural free delivery, but no town, and that he
was not even on the same continent as Washington, nor in the same

"When he did realize he commenced to worry about his daughter--I
think it is the first time that he really has appreciated our position
here, or the fact that Miss Porter may not have been rescued."

"I hate to think about it," said the girl, "and yet I can think of
nothing else than the absent members of our party."

"Let us hope for the best," replied Tennington. "You yourself have
set us each a splendid example of bravery, for in a way your loss
has been the greatest."

"Yes," she replied; "I could have loved Jane Porter no more had
she been my own sister."

Tennington did not show the surprise he felt. That was not at all
what he meant. He had been much with this fair daughter of Maryland
since the wreck of the LADY ALICE, and it had recently come to him
that he had grown much more fond of her than would prove good for
the peace of his mind, for he recalled almost constantly now the
confidence which Monsieur Thuran had imparted to him that he and
Miss Strong were engaged. He wondered if, after all, Thuran had been
quite accurate in his statement. He had never seen the slightest
indication on the girl's part of more than ordinary friendship.

"And then in Monsieur Thuran's loss, if they are lost, you would
suffer a severe bereavement," he ventured.

She looked up at him quickly. "Monsieur Thuran had become a very
dear friend," she said. "I liked him very much, though I have
known him but a short time."

"Then you were not engaged to marry him?" he blurted out. "Heavens,
nol!" she cried. "I did not care for him at all in that way."

There was something that Lord Tennington wanted to say to Hazel
Strong--he wanted very badly to say it, and to say it at once; but
somehow the words stuck in his throat. He started lamely a couple
of times, cleared his throat, became red in the face, and finally
ended by remarking that he hoped the cabins would be finished before
the rainy season commenced.

But, though he did not know it, he had conveyed to the girl the
very message he intended, and it left her happy--happier than she
had ever before been in all her life.

Just then further conversation was interrupted by the sight of a
strange and terrible-looking figure which emerged from the jungle
just south of the camp. Tennington and the girl saw it at the
same time. The Englishman reached for his revolver, but when the
half-naked, bearded creature called his name aloud and came running
toward them he dropped his hand and advanced to meet it.

None would have recognized in the filthy, emaciated creature, covered
by a single garment of small skins, the immaculate Monsieur Thuran
the party had last seen upon the deck of the LADY ALICE.

Before the other members of the little community were apprised of
his presence Tennington and Miss Strong questioned him regarding
the other occupants of the missing boat.

"They are all dead," replied Thuran. "The three sailors died
before we made land. Miss Porter was carried off into the jungle
by some wild animal while I was lying delirious with fever. Clayton
died of the same fever but a few days since. And to think that
all this time we have been separated by but a few miles--scarcely
a day's march. It is terrible!"

How long Jane Porter lay in the darkness of the vault beneath the
temple in the ancient city of Opar she did not know. For a time
she was delirious with fever, but after this passed she commenced
slowly to regain her strength. Every day the woman who brought
her food beckoned to her to arise, but for many days the girl could
only shake her head to indicate that she was too weak.

But eventually she was able to gain her feet, and then to stagger a
few steps by supporting herself with one hand upon the wall. Her
captors now watched her with increasing interest. The day was
approaching, and the victim was gaining in strength.

Presently the day came, and a young woman whom Jane Porter had not
seen before came with several others to her dungeon. Here some
sort of ceremony was performed--that it was of a religious nature
the girl was sure, and so she took new heart, and rejoiced that
she had fallen among people upon whom the refining and softening
influences of religion evidently had fallen. They would treat her
humanely--of that she was now quite sure.

And so when they led her from her dungeon, through long, dark corridors,
and up a flight of concrete steps to a brilliant courtyard, she
went willingly, even gladly--for was she not among the servants
of God? It might be, of course, that their interpretation of the
supreme being differed from her own, but that they owned a god was
sufficient evidence to her that they were kind and good.

But when she saw a stone altar in the center of the courtyard, and
dark-brown stains upon it and the nearby concrete of the floor,
she began to wonder and to doubt. And as they stooped and bound
her ankles, and secured her wrists behind her, her doubts were
turned to fear. A moment later, as she was lifted and placed supine
across the altar's top, hope left her entirely, and she trembled
in an agony of fright.

During the grotesque dance of the votaries which followed, she lay
frozen in horror, nor did she require the sight of the thin blade
in the hands of the high priestess as it rose slowly above her to
enlighten her further as to her doom.

As the hand began its descent, Jane Porter closed her eyes and sent
up a silent prayer to the Maker she was so soon to face--then she
succumbed to the strain upon her tired nerves, and swooned.

Day and night Tarzan of the Apes raced through the primeval forest
toward the ruined city in which he was positive the woman he loved
lay either a prisoner or dead.

In a day and a night he covered the same distance that the fifty
frightful men had taken the better part of a week to traverse, for
Tarzan of the Apes traveled along the middle terrace high above
the tangled obstacles that impede progress upon the ground.

The story the young bull ape had told made it clear to him that
the girl captive had been Jane Porter, for there was not another
small white "she" in all the jungle. The "bulls" he had recognized
from the ape's crude description as the grotesque parodies upon
humanity who inhabit the ruins of Opar. And the girl's fate he
could picture as plainly as though he were an eyewitness to it.
When they would lay her across that trim altar he could not guess,
but that her dear, frail body would eventually find its way there
he was confident.

But, finally, after what seemed long ages to the impatient ape-man,
he topped the barrier cliffs that hemmed the desolate valley, and
below him lay the grim and awful ruins of the now hideous city
of Opar. At a rapid trot he started across the dry and dusty,
bowlder-strewn ground toward the goal of his desires.

Would he be in time to rescue? He hoped against hope. At least he
could be revenged, and in his wrath it seemed to him that he was
equal to the task of wiping out the entire population of that terrible
city. It was nearly noon when he reached the great bowlder at the
top of which terminated the secret passage to the pits beneath the
city. Like a cat he scaled the precipitous sides of the frowning
granite KOPJE. A moment later he was running through the darkness of
the long, straight tunnel that led to the treasure vault. Through
this he passed, then on and on until at last he came to the well-like
shaft upon the opposite side of which lay the dungeon with the
false wall.

As he paused a moment upon the brink of the well a faint sound
came to him through the opening above. His quick ears caught and
translated it--it was the dance of death that preceded a sacrifice,
and the singsong ritual of the high priestess. He could even
recognize the woman's voice. Could it be that the ceremony marked
the very thing he had so hastened to prevent? A wave of horror
swept over him. Was he, after all, to be just a moment too late?
Like a frightened deer he leaped across the narrow chasm to the
continuation of the passage beyond. At the false wall he tore like
one possessed to demolish the barrier that confronted him--with
giant muscles he forced the opening, thrusting his head and shoulders
through the first small hole he made, and carrying the balance of
the wall with him, to clatter resoundingly upon the cement floor
of the dungeon.

With a single leap he cleared the length of the chamber and threw
himself against the ancient door. But here he stopped. The mighty
bars upon the other side were proof even against such muscles as his.
It needed but a moment's effort to convince him of the futility of
endeavoring to force that impregnable barrier. There was but one
other way, and that led back through the long tunnels to the bowlder
a mile beyond the city's walls, and then back across the open as
he had come to the city first with his Waziri.

He realized that to retrace his steps and enter the city from above
ground would mean that he would be too late to save the girl, if
it were indeed she who lay upon the sacrificial altar above him.
But there seemed no other way, and so he turned and ran swiftly
back into the passageway beyond the broken wall. At the well he
heard again the monotonous voice of the high priestess, and, as he
glanced aloft, the opening, twenty feet above, seemed so near that
he was tempted to leap for it in a mad endeavor to reach the inner
courtyard that lay so near.

If he could but get one end of his grass rope caught upon some
projection at the top of that tantalizing aperture! In the instant's
pause and thought an idea occurred to him. He would attempt it.
Turning back to the tumbled wall, he seized one of the large, flat
slabs that had composed it. Hastily making one end of his rope
fast to the piece of granite, he returned to the shaft, and, coiling
the balance of the rope on the floor beside him, the ape-man took
the heavy slab in both hands, and, swinging it several times to get
the distance and the direction fixed, he let the weight fly up at
a slight angle, so that, instead of falling straight back into the
shaft again, it grazed the far edge, tumbling over into the court

Tarzan dragged for a moment upon the slack end of the rope until
he felt that the stone was lodged with fair security at the shaft's
top, then he swung out over the black depths beneath. The moment
his full weight came upon the rope he felt it slip from above. He
waited there in awful suspense as it dropped in little jerks, inch
by inch. The stone was being dragged up the outside of the masonry
surrounding the top of the shaft--would it catch at the very edge,
or would his weight drag it over to fall upon him as he hurtled
into the unknown depths below?

Chapter 25

Through the Forest Primeval

For a brief, sickening moment Tarzan felt the slipping of the rope
to which he clung, and heard the scraping of the block of stone
against the masonry above.

Then of a sudden the rope was still--the stone had caught at the
very edge. Gingerly the ape-man clambered up the frail rope. In
a moment his head was above the edge of the shaft. The court was
empty. The inhabitants of Opar were viewing the sacrifice. Tarzan
could hear the voice of La from the nearby sacrificial court. The
dance had ceased. It must be almost time for the knife to fall;
but even as he thought these things he was running rapidly toward
the sound of the high priestess' voice.

Fate guided him to the very doorway of the great roofless chamber.
Between him and the altar was the long row of priests and priestesses,
awaiting with their golden cups the spilling of the warm blood of
their victim. La's hand was descending slowly toward the bosom of
the frail, quiet figure that lay stretched upon the hard stone.
Tarzan gave a gasp that was almost a sob as he recognized the features
of the girl he loved. And then the scar upon his forehead turned
to a flaming band of scarlet, a red mist floated before his eyes,
and, with the awful roar of the bull ape gone mad, he sprang like
a huge lion into the midst of the votaries.

Seizing a cudgel from the nearest priest, he laid about him like a
veritable demon as he forged his rapid way toward the altar. The
hand of La had paused at the first noise of interruption. When she
saw who the author of it was she went white. She had never been
able to fathom the secret of the strange white man's escape from
the dungeon in which she had locked him. She had not intended
that he should ever leave Opar, for she had looked upon his giant
frame and handsome face with the eyes of a woman and not those of
a priestess.

In her clever mind she had concocted a story of wonderful revelation
from the lips of the flaming god himself, in which she had been
ordered to receive this white stranger as a messenger from him to
his people on earth. That would satisfy the people of Opar, she
knew. The man would be satisfied, she felt quite sure, to remain
and be her husband rather than to return to the sacrificial altar.

But when she had gone to explain her plan to him he had disappeared,
though the door had been tightly locked as she had left it. And
now he had returned--materialized from thin air--and was killing her
priests as though they had been sheep. For the moment she forgot
her victim, and before she could gather her wits together again
the huge white man was standing before her, the woman who had lain
upon the altar in his arms.

"One side, La," he cried. "You saved me once, and so I would not
harm you; but do not interfere or attempt to follow, or I shall
have to kill you also."

As he spoke he stepped past her toward the entrance to the subterranean

"Who is she?" asked the high priestess, pointing at the unconscious

"She is mine," said Tarzan of the Apes.

For a moment the girl of Opar stood wide-eyed and staring. Then a
look of hopeless misery suffused her eyes--tears welled into them,
and with a little cry she sank to the cold floor, just as a swarm
of frightful men dashed past her to leap upon the ape-man.

But Tarzan of the Apes was not there when they reached out to
seize him. With a light bound he had disappeared into the passage
leading to the pits below, and when his pursuers came more cautiously
after they found the chamber empty, they but laughed and jabbered
to one another, for they knew that there was no exit from the pits
other than the one through which he had entered. If he came out
at all he must come this way, and they would wait and watch for
him above.

And so Tarzan of the Apes, carrying the unconscious Jane Porter,
came through the pits of Opar beneath the temple of The Flaming
God without pursuit. But when the men of Opar had talked further
about the matter, they recalled to mind that this very man had
escaped once before into the pits, and, though they had watched
the entrance he had not come forth; and yet today he had come upon
them from the outside. They would again send fifty men out into
the valley to find and capture this desecrater of their temple.

After Tarzan reached the shaft beyond the broken wall, he felt so
positive of the successful issue of his flight that he stopped to
replace the tumbled stones, for he was not anxious that any of the
inmates should discover this forgotten passage, and through it
come upon the treasure chamber. It was in his mind to return again
to Opar and bear away a still greater fortune than he had already
buried in the amphitheater of the apes.

On through the passageways he trotted, past the first door and
through the treasure vault; past the second door and into the long,
straight tunnel that led to the lofty hidden exit beyond the city.
Jane Porter was still unconscious.

At the crest of the great bowlder he halted to cast a backward
glance toward the city. Coming across the plain he saw a band of
the hideous men of Opar. For a moment he hesitated. Should he
descend and make a race for the distant cliffs, or should he hide
here until night? And then a glance at the girl's white face
determined him. He could not keep her here and permit her enemies
to get between them and liberty. For aught he knew they might
have been followed through the tunnels, and to have foes before
and behind would result in almost certain capture, since he could
not fight his way through the enemy burdened as he was with the
unconscious girl.

To descend the steep face of the bowlder with Jane Porter was no
easy task, but by binding her across his shoulders with the grass
rope he succeeded in reaching the ground in safety before the
Oparians arrived at the great rock. As the descent had been made
upon the side away from the city, the searching party saw nothing
of it, nor did they dream that their prey was so close before them.

By keeping the KOPJE between them and their pursuers, Tarzan of the
Apes managed to cover nearly a mile before the men of Opar rounded
the granite sentinel and saw the fugitive before them. With
loud cries of savage delight, they broke into a mad run, thinking
doubtless that they would soon overhaul the burdened runner; but
they both underestimated the powers of the ape-man and overestimated
the possibilities of their own short, crooked legs.

By maintaining an easy trot, Tarzan kept the distance between
them always the same. Occasionally he would glance at the face so
near his own. Had it not been for the faint beating of the heart
pressed so close against his own, he would not have known that she
was alive, so white and drawn was the poor, tired face.

And thus they came to the flat-topped mountain and the barrier
cliffs. During the last mile Tarzan had let himself out, running
like a deer that he might have ample time to descend the face
of the cliffs before the Oparians could reach the summit and hurl
rocks down upon them. And so it was that he was half a mile down
the mountainside ere the fierce little men came panting to the

With cries of rage and disappointment they ranged along the cliff
top shaking their cudgels, and dancing up and down in a perfect
passion of anger. But this time they did not pursue beyond the
boundary of their own country. Whether it was because they recalled
the futility of their former long and irksome search, or after
witnessing the ease with which the ape-man swung along before them,
and the last burst of speed, they realized the utter hopelessness
of further pursuit, it is difficult to say; but as Tarzan reached
the woods that began at the base of the foothills which skirted
the barrier cliffs they turned their faces once more toward Opar.

Just within the forest's edge, where he could yet watch the cliff
tops, Tarzan laid his burden upon the grass, and going to the near-by
rivulet brought water with which he bathed her face and hands; but
even this did not revive her, and, greatly worried, he gathered
the girl into his strong arms once more and hurried on toward the

Late in the afternoon Jane Porter regained consciousness. She
did not open her eyes at once--she was trying to recall the scenes
that she had last witnessed. Ah, she remembered now. The altar,
the terrible priestess, the descending knife. She gave a little
shudder, for she thought that either this was death or that the
knife had buried itself in her heart and she was experiencing the
brief delirium preceding death. And when finally she mustered
courage to open her eyes, the sight that met them confirmed her
fears, for she saw that she was being borne through a leafy paradise
in the arms of her dead love. "If this be death," she murmured,
"thank God that I am dead."

"You spoke, Jane!" cried Tarzan. "You are regaining consciousness!"

"Yes, Tarzan of the Apes," she replied, and for the first time in
months a smile of peace and happiness lighted her face.

"Thank God!" cried the ape-man, coming to the ground in a little
grassy clearing beside the stream. "I was in time, after all."

"In time? What do you mean?" she questioned.

"In time to save you from death upon the altar, dear," he replied.
"Do you not remember?" "Save me from death?" she asked, in a puzzled
tone. "Are we not both dead, my Tarzan?"

He had placed her upon the grass by now, her back resting against
the stem of a huge tree. At her question he stepped back where he
could the better see her face.

"Dead!" he repeated, and then he laughed. "You are not, Jane;
and if you will return to the city of Opar and ask them who dwell
there they will tell you that I was not dead a few short hours ago.
No, dear, we are both very much alive."

"But both Hazel and Monsieur Thuran told me that you had fallen
into the ocean many miles from land," she urged, as though trying
to convince him that he must indeed be dead. "They said that there
was no question but that it must have been you, and less that you
could have survived or been picked up."

"How can I convince you that I am no spirit?" he asked, with a laugh.
"It was I whom the delightful Monsieur Thuran pushed overboard, but
I did not drown--I will tell you all about it after a while--and
here I am very much the same wild man you first knew, Jane Porter."

The girl rose slowly to her feet and came toward him.

"I cannot even yet believe it," she murmured. "It cannot be that
such happiness can be true after all the hideous things that I have
passed through these awful months since the LADY ALICE went down."

She came close to him and laid a hand, soft and trembling, upon
his arm.

"It must be that I am dreaming, and that I shall awaken in a moment
to see that awful knife descending toward my heart--kiss me, dear,
just once before I lose my dream forever."

Tarzan of the Apes needed no second invitation. He took the girl
he loved in his strong arms, and kissed her not once, but a hundred
times, until she lay there panting for breath; yet when he stopped
she put her arms about his neck and drew his lips down to hers once

"Am I alive and a reality, or am I but a dream?" he asked.

"If you are not alive, my man," she answered, "I pray that I may
die thus before I awaken to the terrible realities of my last waking

For a while both were silent--gazing into each others' eyes as though
each still questioned the reality of the wonderful happiness that
had come to them. The past, with all its hideous disappointments
and horrors, was forgotten--the future did not belong to them; but
the present--ah, it was theirs; none could take it from them. It
was the girl who first broke the sweet silence.

"Where are we going, dear?" she asked. "What are we going to do?"

"Where would you like best to go?" he asked. "What would you like
best to do?"

"To go where you go, my man; to do whatever seems best to you,"
she answered.

"But Clayton?" he asked. For a moment he had forgotten that there
existed upon the earth other than they two. "We have forgotten
your husband."

"I am not married, Tarzan of the Apes," she cried. "Nor am I
longer promised in marriage. The day before those awful creatures
captured me I spoke to Mr. Clayton of my love for you, and he
understood then that I could not keep the wicked promise that I had
made. It was after we had been miraculously saved from an attacking
lion." She paused suddenly and looked up at him, a questioning
light in her eyes. "Tarzan of the Apes," she cried, "it was you
who did that thing? It could have been no other."

He dropped his eyes, for he was ashamed.

"How could you have gone away and left me?" she cried reproachfully.

"Don't, Jane!" he pleaded. "Please don't! You cannot know how I
have suffered since for the cruelty of that act, or how I suffered
then, first in jealous rage, and then in bitter resentment against
the fate that I had not deserved. I went back to the apes after
that, Jane, intending never again to see a human being." He told
her then of his life since he had returned to the jungle--of how
he had dropped like a plummet from a civilized Parisian to a savage
Waziri warrior, and from there back to the brute that he had been

She asked him many questions, and at last fearfully of the things
that Monsieur Thuran had told her--of the woman in Paris. He narrated
every detail of his civilized life to her, omitting nothing, for he
felt no shame, since his heart always had been true to her. When
he had finished he sat looking at her, as though waiting for her
judgment, and his sentence.

"I knew that he was not speaking the truth," she said. "Oh, what
a horrible creature he is!"

"You are not angry with me, then?" he asked.

And her reply, though apparently most irrelevant, was truly feminine.

"Is Olga de Coude very beautiful?" she asked.

And Tarzan laughed and kissed her again. "Not one-tenth so beautiful
as you, dear," he said.

She gave a contented little sigh, and let her head rest against
his shoulder. He knew that he was forgiven.

That night Tarzan built a snug little bower high among the swaying
branches of a giant tree, and there the tired girl slept, while in
a crotch beneath her the ape-man curled, ready, even in sleep, to
protect her.

It took them many days to make the long journey to the coast.
Where the way was easy they walked hand in hand beneath the arching
boughs of the mighty forest, as might in a far-gone past have walked
their primeval forbears. When the underbrush was tangled he took
her in his great arms, and bore her lightly through the trees, and
the days were all too short, for they were very happy. Had it not
been for their anxiety to reach and succor Clayton they would have
drawn out the sweet pleasure of that wonderful journey indefinitely.

On the last day before they reached the coast Tarzan caught the
scent of men ahead of them--the scent of black men. He told the
girl, and cautioned her to maintain silence. "There are few friends
in the jungle," he remarked dryly.

In half an hour they came stealthily upon a small party of black
warriors filing toward the west. As Tarzan saw them he gave a cry
of delight--it was a band of his own Waziri. Busuli was there,
and others who had accompanied him to Opar. At sight of him they
danced and cried out in exuberant joy. For weeks they had been
searching for him, they told him.

The blacks exhibited considerable wonderment at the presence of
the white girl with him, and when they found that she was to be his
woman they vied with one another to do her honor. With the happy
Waziri laughing and dancing about them they came to the rude shelter
by the shore.

There was no sign of life, and no response to their calls. Tarzan
clambered quickly to the interior of the little tree hut, only
to emerge a moment later with an empty tin. Throwing it down to
Busuli, he told him to fetch water, and then he beckoned Jane Porter
to come up.

Together they leaned over the emaciated thing that once had been
an English nobleman. Tears came to the girl's eyes as she saw the
poor, sunken cheeks and hollow eyes, and the lines of suffering
upon the once young and handsome face.

"He still lives," said Tarzan. "We will do all that can be done
for him, but I fear that we are too late."

When Busuli had brought the water Tarzan forced a few drops between
the cracked and swollen lips. He wetted the hot forehead and bathed
the pitiful limbs.

Presently Clayton opened his eyes. A faint, shadowy smile lighted
his countenance as he saw the girl leaning over him. At sight of
Tarzan the expression changed to one of wonderment.

"It's all right, old fellow," said the ape-man. "We've found you
in time. Everything will be all right now, and we'll have you on
your feet again before you know it."

The Englishman shook his head weakly. "It's too late," he whispered.
"But it's just as well. I'd rather die."

"Where is Monsieur Thuran?" asked the girl.

"He left me after the fever got bad. He is a devil. When I begged
for the water that I was too weak to get he drank before me, threw
the rest out, and laughed in my face." At the thought of it the man
was suddenly animated by a spark of vitality. He raised himself
upon one elbow. "Yes," he almost shouted; "I will live. I will
live long enough to find and kill that beast!" But the brief
effort left him weaker than before, and he sank back again upon
the rotting grasses that, with his old ulster, had been the bed of
Jane Porter.

"Don't worry about Thuran," said Tarzan of the Apes, laying a
reassuring hand on Clayton's forehead. "He belongs to me, and I
shall get him in the end, never fear."

For a long time Clayton lay very still. Several times Tarzan had
to put his ear quite close to the sunken chest to catch the faint
beating of the wornout heart. Toward evening he aroused again for
a brief moment.

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