ЭЛЕКТРОННАЯ БИБЛИОТЕКА КОАПП
Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.



Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar by Edgar Rice Burroughs


                        Contents

CHAPTER                                             PAGE
  1  Belgian and Arab
  2  On the Road to Opar
  3  The Call of the Jungle
  4  Prophecy and Fulfillment
  5  The Altar of the Flaming God
  6  The Arab Raid
  7  The Jewel-Room of Opar
  8  The Escape from Opar
  9  The Theft of the Jewels
 10  Achmet Zek Sees the Jewels
 11  Tarzan Becomes a Beast Again
 12  La Seeks Vengeance
 13  Condemned to Torture and Death
 14  A Priestess But Yet a Woman
 15  The Flight of Werper
 16  Tarzan Again Leads the Mangani
 17  The Deadly Peril of Jane Clayton
 18  The Fight For the Treasure
 19  Jane Clayton and The Beasts of the Jungle
 20  Jane Clayton Again a Prisoner
 21  The Flight to the Jungle
 22  Tarzan Recovers His Reason
 23  A Night of Terror
 24  Home



Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
by Edgar Rice Burroughs



1

Belgian and Arab


Lieutenant Albert Werper had only the prestige of the name
he had dishonored to thank for his narrow escape from
being cashiered.  At first he had been humbly thankful,
too, that they had sent him to this Godforsaken Congo post
instead of court-martialing him, as he had so justly deserved;
but now six months of the monotony, the frightful isolation and
the loneliness had wrought a change.  The young man brooded
continually over his fate.  His days were filled with morbid
self-pity, which eventually engendered in his weak and
vacillating mind a hatred for those who had sent him here--
for the very men he had at first inwardly thanked for saving him
from the ignominy of degradation.

He regretted the gay life of Brussels as he never had
regretted the sins which had snatched him from that
gayest of capitals, and as the days passed he came to
center his resentment upon the representative in Congo
land of the authority which had exiled him--his captain
and immediate superior.

This officer was a cold, taciturn man, inspiring little
love in those directly beneath him, yet respected and
feared by the black soldiers of his little command.

Werper was accustomed to sit for hours glaring at his
superior as the two sat upon the veranda of their
common quarters, smoking their evening cigarets in a
silence which neither seemed desirous of breaking.
The senseless hatred of the lieutenant grew at last into a
form of mania.  The captain's natural taciturnity he
distorted into a studied attempt to insult him because
of his past shortcomings.  He imagined that his
superior held him in contempt, and so he chafed and
fumed inwardly until one evening his madness became
suddenly homicidal.  He fingered the butt of the
revolver at his hip, his eyes narrowed and his brows
contracted.  At last he spoke.

"You have insulted me for the last time!" he cried,
springing to his feet.  "I am an officer and a
gentleman, and I shall put up with it no longer without
an accounting from you, you pig."

The captain, an expression of surprise upon his
features, turned toward his junior.  He had seen men
before with the jungle madness upon them--the madness
of solitude and unrestrained brooding, and perhaps a
touch of fever.

He rose and extended his hand to lay it upon the
other's shoulder.  Quiet words of counsel were upon his
lips; but they were never spoken.  Werper construed his
superior's action into an attempt to close with him.
His revolver was on a level with the captain's heart,
and the latter had taken but a step when Werper pulled
the trigger.  Without a moan the man sank to the rough
planking of the veranda, and as he fell the mists that
had clouded Werper's brain lifted, so that he saw
himself and the deed that he had done in the same light
that those who must judge him would see them.

He heard excited exclamations from the quarters of the
soldiers and he heard men running in his direction.
They would seize him, and if they didn't kill him they
would take him down the Congo to a point where a
properly ordered military tribunal would do so just as
effectively, though in a more regular manner.

Werper had no desire to die.  Never before had he so
yearned for life as in this moment that he had so
effectively forfeited his right to live.  The men were
nearing him.  What was he to do?  He glanced about as
though searching for the tangible form of a legitimate
excuse for his crime; but he could find only the body
of the man he had so causelessly shot down.

In despair, he turned and fled from the oncoming
soldiery.  Across the compound he ran, his revolver
still clutched tightly in his hand.  At the gates a
sentry halted him.  Werper did not pause to parley or
to exert the influence of his commission--he merely
raised his weapon and shot down the innocent black.  A
moment later the fugitive had torn open the gates and
vanished into the blackness of the jungle, but not
before he had transferred the rifle and ammunition
belts of the dead sentry to his own person.

All that night Werper fled farther and farther into the
heart of the wilderness.  Now and again the voice of a
lion brought him to a listening halt; but with cocked
and ready rifle he pushed ahead again, more fearful of
the human huntsmen in his rear than of the wild
carnivora ahead.

Dawn came at last, but still the man plodded on.
All sense of hunger and fatigue were lost in the terrors
of contemplated capture.  He could think only of escape.
He dared not pause to rest or eat until there was no
further danger from pursuit, and so he staggered on
until at last he fell and could rise no more.  How long
he had fled he did not know, or try to know.  When he
could flee no longer the knowledge that he had reached
his limit was hidden from him in the unconsciousness of
utter exhaustion.

And thus it was that Achmet Zek, the Arab, found him.
Achmet's followers were for running a spear through the
body of their hereditary enemy; but Achmet would have
it otherwise.  First he would question the Belgian.
It were easier to question a man first and kill him
afterward, than kill him first and then question him.

So he had Lieutenant Albert Werper carried to his own
tent, and there slaves administered wine and food in
small quantities until at last the prisoner regained
consciousness.  As he opened his eyes he saw the faces
of strange black men about him, and just outside the
tent the figure of an Arab.  Nowhere was the uniform of
his soldiers to be seen.

The Arab turned and seeing the open eyes of the
prisoner upon him, entered the tent.

"I am Achmet Zek," he announced.  "Who are you, and
what were you doing in my country?  Where are your
soldiers?"

Achmet Zek!  Werper's eyes went wide, and his heart
sank.  He was in the clutches of the most notorious of
cut-throats--a hater of all Europeans, especially those
who wore the uniform of Belgium.  For years the
military forces of Belgian Congo had waged a fruitless
war upon this man and his followers--a war in which
quarter had never been asked nor expected by either
side.

But presently in the very hatred of the man for
Belgians, Werper saw a faint ray of hope for himself.
He, too, was an outcast and an outlaw.  So far, at
least, they possessed a common interest, and Werper
decided to play upon it for all that it might yield.

"I have heard of you," he replied, "and was searching
for you.  My people have turned against me.  I hate
them.  Even now their soldiers are searching for me,
to kill me.  I knew that you would protect me from them,
for you, too, hate them.  In return I will take service
with you.  I am a trained soldier.  I can fight, and
your enemies are my enemies."

Achmet Zek eyed the European in silence.  In his mind
he revolved many thoughts, chief among which was that
the unbeliever lied.  Of course there was the chance
that he did not lie, and if he told the truth then his
proposition was one well worthy of consideration, since
fighting men were never over plentiful--especially
white men with the training and knowledge of military
matters that a European officer must possess.

Achmet Zek scowled and Werper's heart sank; but Werper
did not know Achmet Zek, who was quite apt to scowl
where another would smile, and smile where another
would scowl.

"And if you have lied to me," said Achmet Zek, "I will
kill you at any time.  What return, other than your
life, do you expect for your services?"

"My keep only, at first," replied Werper.  "Later, if I
am worth more, we can easily reach an understanding."
Werper's only desire at the moment was to preserve his
life.  And so the agreement was reached and Lieutenant
Albert Werper became a member of the ivory and slave
raiding band of the notorious Achmet Zek.

For months the renegade Belgian rode with the savage
raider.  He fought with a savage abandon, and a vicious
cruelty fully equal to that of his fellow desperadoes.
Achmet Zek watched his recruit with eagle eye, and with
a growing satisfaction which finally found expression
in a greater confidence in the man, and resulted in an
increased independence of action for Werper.

Achmet Zek took the Belgian into his confidence to a
great extent, and at last unfolded to him a pet scheme
which the Arab had long fostered, but which he never
had found an opportunity to effect.  With the aid of a
European, however, the thing might be easily
accomplished.  He sounded Werper.

"You have heard of the man men call Tarzan?" he asked.

Werper nodded.  "I have heard of him; but I do not know
him."

"But for him we might carry on our 'trading' in safety
and with great profit," continued the Arab.  "For years
he has fought us, driving us from the richest part of
the country, harassing us, and arming the natives that
they may repel us when we come to 'trade.' He is very
rich.  If we could find some way to make him pay us
many pieces of gold we should not only be avenged upon
him; but repaid for much that he has prevented us from
winning from the natives under his protection."

Werper withdrew a cigaret from a jeweled case and
lighted it.

"And you have a plan to make him pay?" he asked.

"He has a wife," replied Achmet Zek, "whom men say is
very beautiful.  She would bring a great price farther
north, if we found it too difficult to collect ransom
money from this Tarzan."

Werper bent his head in thought.  Achmet Zek stood
awaiting his reply.  What good remained in Albert
Werper revolted at the thought of selling a white woman
into the slavery and degradation of a Moslem harem.
He looked up at Achmet Zek.  He saw the Arab's eyes
narrow, and he guessed that the other had sensed his
antagonism to the plan.  What would it mean to Werper to
refuse?  His life lay in the hands of this semi-barbarian,
who esteemed the life of an unbeliever less
highly than that of a dog.  Werper loved life.  What
was this woman to him, anyway?  She was a European,
doubtless, a member of organized society.  He was an
outcast.  The hand of every white man was against him.
She was his natural enemy, and if he refused to lend
himself to her undoing, Achmet Zek would have him
killed.

"You hesitate," murmured the Arab.

"I was but weighing the chances of success," lied
Werper, "and my reward.  As a European I can gain
admittance to their home and table.  You have no other
with you who could do so much.  The risk will be great.
I should be well paid, Achmet Zek."

A smile of relief passed over the raider's face.

"Well said, Werper," and Achmet Zek slapped his
lieutenant upon the shoulder.  "You should be well paid
and you shall.  Now let us sit together and plan how
best the thing may be done," and the two men squatted
upon a soft rug beneath the faded silks of Achmet's
once gorgeous tent, and talked together in low voices
well into the night.  Both were tall and bearded, and
the exposure to sun and wind had given an almost Arab
hue to the European's complexion.  In every detail of
dress, too, he copied the fashions of his chief, so
that outwardly he was as much an Arab as the other.
It was late when he arose and retired to his own tent.

The following day Werper spent in overhauling his
Belgian uniform, removing from it every vestige of
evidence that might indicate its military purposes.
From a heterogeneous collection of loot, Achmet Zek
procured a pith helmet and a European saddle, and from
his black slaves and followers a party of porters,
askaris and tent boys to make up a modest safari for a
big game hunter.  At the head of this party Werper set
out from camp.



2

On the Road To Opar


It was two weeks later that John Clayton, Lord
Greystoke, riding in from a tour of inspection of his
vast African estate, glimpsed the head of a column of
men crossing the plain that lay between his bungalow
and the forest to the north and west.

He reined in his horse and watched the little party as
it emerged from a concealing swale.  His keen eyes
caught the reflection of the sun upon the white helmet
of a mounted man, and with the conviction that a
wandering European hunter was seeking his hospitality,
he wheeled his mount and rode slowly forward to meet
the newcomer.

A half hour later he was mounting the steps leading to
the veranda of his bungalow, and introducing M. Jules
Frecoult to Lady Greystoke.

"I was completely lost," M. Frecoult was explaining.
"My head man had never before been in this part of the
country and the guides who were to have accompanied me
from the last village we passed knew even less of the
country than we.  They finally deserted us two days
since.  I am very fortunate indeed to have stumbled so
providentially upon succor.  I do not know what I
should have done, had I not found you."

It was decided that Frecoult and his party should
remain several days, or until they were thoroughly
rested, when Lord Greystoke would furnish guides to
lead them safely back into country with which
Frecoult's head man was supposedly familiar.

In his guise of a French gentleman of leisure, Werper
found little difficulty in deceiving his host and in
ingratiating himself with both Tarzan and Jane Clayton;
but the longer he remained the less hopeful he became
of an easy accomplishment of his designs.

Lady Greystoke never rode alone at any great distance
from the bungalow, and the savage loyalty of the
ferocious Waziri warriors who formed a great part of
Tarzan's followers seemed to preclude the possibility
of a successful attempt at forcible abduction, or of
the bribery of the Waziri themselves.

A week passed, and Werper was no nearer the fulfillment
of his plan, in so far as he could judge, than upon the
day of his arrival, but at that very moment something
occurred which gave him renewed hope and set his mind
upon an even greater reward than a woman's ransom.

A runner had arrived at the bungalow with the weekly
mail, and Lord Greystoke had spent the afternoon in his
study reading and answering letters.  At dinner he
seemed distraught, and early in the evening he excused
himself and retired, Lady Greystoke following him very
soon after.  Werper, sitting upon the veranda, could
hear their voices in earnest discussion, and having
realized that something of unusual moment was afoot,
he quietly rose from his chair, and keeping well in the
shadow of the shrubbery growing profusely about the
bungalow, made his silent way to a point beneath the
window of the room in which his host and hostess slept.

Here he listened, and not without result, for almost
the first words he overheard filled him with
excitement.  Lady Greystoke was speaking as Werper came
within hearing.

"I always feared for the stability of the company," she
was saying; "but it seems incredible that they should
have failed for so enormous a sum--unless there has
been some dishonest manipulation."

"That is what I suspect," replied Tarzan; "but whatever
the cause, the fact remains that I have lost
everything, and there is nothing for it but to return
to Opar and get more."

"Oh, John," cried Lady Greystoke, and Werper could feel
the shudder through her voice, "is there no other way?
I cannot bear to think of you returning to that
frightful city.  I would rather live in poverty always
than to have you risk the hideous dangers of Opar."

"You need have no fear," replied Tarzan, laughing.
"I am pretty well able to take care of myself, and were
I not, the Waziri who will accompany me will see that no
harm befalls me."

"They ran away from Opar once, and left you to your
fate," she reminded him.

"They will not do it again," he answered.  "They were
very much ashamed of themselves, and were coming back
when I met them."

"But there must be some other way," insisted the woman.

"There is no other way half so easy to obtain another
fortune, as to go to the treasure vaults of Opar and
bring it away," he replied.  "I shall be very careful,
Jane, and the chances are that the inhabitants of Opar
will never know that I have been there again and
despoiled them of another portion of the treasure, the
very existence of which they are as ignorant of as they
would be of its value."

The finality in his tone seemed to assure Lady
Greystoke that further argument was futile, and so she
abandoned the subject.

Werper remained, listening, for a short time, and then,
confident that he had overheard all that was necessary
and fearing discovery, returned to the veranda, where
he smoked numerous cigarets in rapid succession before
retiring.

The following morning at breakfast, Werper announced
his intention of making an early departure, and asked
Tarzan's permission to hunt big game in the Waziri
country on his way out--permission which Lord Greystoke
readily granted.

The Belgian consumed two days in completing his
preparations, but finally got away with his safari,
accompanied by a single Waziri guide whom Lord
Greystoke had loaned him.  The party made but a single
short march when Werper simulated illness, and
announced his intention of remaining where he was until
he had fully recovered.  As they had gone but a short
distance from the Greystoke bungalow, Werper dismissed
the Waziri guide, telling the warrior that he would
send for him when he was able to proceed.  The Waziri
gone, the Belgian summoned one of Achmet Zek's trusted
blacks to his tent, and dispatched him to watch for the
departure of Tarzan, returning immediately to advise
Werper of the event and the direction taken by the
Englishman.

The Belgian did not have long to wait, for the
following day his emissary returned with word that
Tarzan and a party of fifty Waziri warriors had set out
toward the southeast early in the morning.

Werper called his head man to him, after writing a long
letter to Achmet Zek.  This letter he handed to the
head man.

"Send a runner at once to Achmet Zek with this," he
instructed the head man.  "Remain here in camp awaiting
further instructions from him or from me.  If any come
from the bungalow of the Englishman, tell them that I
am very ill within my tent and can see no one.  Now,
give me six porters and six askaris--the strongest and
bravest of the safari--and I will march after the
Englishman and discover where his gold is hidden."

And so it was that as Tarzan, stripped to the loin
cloth and armed after the primitive fashion he best
loved, led his loyal Waziri toward the dead city of
Opar, Werper, the renegade, haunted his trail through
the long, hot days, and camped close behind him by
night.

And as they marched, Achmet Zek rode with his entire
following southward toward the Greystoke farm.

To Tarzan of the Apes the expedition was in the nature
of a holiday outing.  His civilization was at best but
an outward veneer which he gladly peeled off with his
uncomfortable European clothes whenever any reasonable
pretext presented itself.  It was a woman's love which
kept Tarzan even to the semblance of civilization--a
condition for which familiarity had bred contempt.  He
hated the shams and the hypocrisies of it and with the
clear vision of an unspoiled mind he had penetrated to
the rotten core of the heart of the thing--the cowardly
greed for peace and ease and the safe-guarding of
property rights.  That the fine things of life--art,
music and literature--had thriven upon such enervating
ideals he strenuously denied, insisting, rather, that
they had endured in spite of civilization.

"Show me the fat, opulent coward," he was wont to say,
"who ever originated a beautiful ideal.  In the clash
of arms, in the battle for survival, amid hunger and
death and danger, in the face of God as manifested in
the display of Nature's most terrific forces, is born
all that is finest and best in the human heart and
mind."

And so Tarzan always came back to Nature in the spirit
of a lover keeping a long deferred tryst after a period
behind prison walls.  His Waziri, at marrow, were more
civilized than he.  They cooked their meat before they
ate it and they shunned many articles of food as
unclean that Tarzan had eaten with gusto all his life
and so insidious is the virus of hypocrisy that even
the stalwart ape-man hesitated to give rein to his
natural longings before them.  He ate burnt flesh when
he would have preferred it raw and unspoiled, and he
brought down game with arrow or spear when he would far
rather have leaped upon it from ambush and sunk his
strong teeth in its jugular; but at last the call of
the milk of the savage mother that had suckled him in
infancy rose to an insistent demand--he craved the hot
blood of a fresh kill and his muscles yearned to pit
themselves against the savage jungle in the battle for
existence that had been his sole birthright for the
first twenty years of his life.



3

The Call of the Jungle


Moved by these vague yet all-powerful urgings the
ape-man lay awake one night in the little thorn boma
that protected, in a way, his party from the depredations
of the great carnivora of the jungle.  A single warrior
stood sleepy guard beside the fire that yellow eyes
out of the darkness beyond the camp made imperative.
The moans and the coughing of the big cats mingled with
the myriad noises of the lesser denizens of the jungle
to fan the savage flame in the breast of this savage
English lord.  He tossed upon his bed of grasses,
sleepless, for an hour and then he rose, noiseless as a
wraith, and while the Waziri's back was turned, vaulted
the boma wall in the face of the flaming eyes, swung
silently into a great tree and was gone.

For a time in sheer exuberance of animal spirit he
raced swiftly through the middle terrace, swinging
perilously across wide spans from one jungle giant to
the next, and then he clambered upward to the swaying,
lesser boughs of the upper terrace where the moon shone
full upon him and the air was stirred by little breezes
and death lurked ready in each frail branch.  Here he
paused and raised his face to Goro, the moon.
With uplifted arm he stood, the cry of the bull ape
quivering upon his lips, yet he remained silent lest he
arouse his faithful Waziri who were all too familiar
with the hideous challenge of their master.

And then he went on more slowly and with greater
stealth and caution, for now Tarzan of the Apes was
seeking a kill.  Down to the ground he came in the
utter blackness of the close-set boles and the
overhanging verdure of the jungle. He stooped from time
to time and put his nose close to earth.  He sought and
found a wide game trail and at last his nostrils were
rewarded with the scent of the fresh spoor of Bara, the
deer.  Tarzan's mouth watered and a low growl escaped
his patrician lips.  Sloughed from him was the last
vestige of artificial caste--once again he was the
primeval hunter--the first man--the highest caste type
of the human race.  Up wind he followed the elusive
spoor with a sense of perception so transcending that
of ordinary man as to be inconceivable to us.  Through
counter currents of the heavy stench of meat eaters he
traced the trail of Bara; the sweet and cloying stink
of Horta, the boar, could not drown his quarry's scent--
the permeating, mellow musk of the deer's foot.

Presently the body scent of the deer told Tarzan that
his prey was close at hand.  It sent him into the trees
again--into the lower terrace where he could watch the
ground below and catch with ears and nose the first
intimation of actual contact with his quarry.  Nor was
it long before the ape-man came upon Bara standing
alert at the edge of a moon-bathed clearing.
Noiselessly Tarzan crept through the trees until he was
directly over the deer.  In the ape-man's right hand
was the long hunting knife of his father and in his
heart the blood lust of the carnivore.  Just for an
instant he poised above the unsuspecting Bara and then
he launched himself downward upon the sleek back.  The
impact of his weight carried the deer to its knees and
before the animal could regain its feet the knife had
found its heart.  As Tarzan rose upon the body of his
kill to scream forth his hideous victory cry into the
face of the moon the wind carried to his nostrils
something which froze him to statuesque immobility and
silence.  His savage eyes blazed into the direction
from which the wind had borne down the warning to him
and a moment later the grasses at one side of the
clearing parted and Numa, the lion, strode majestically
into view.  His yellow-green eyes were fastened upon
Tarzan as he halted just within the clearing and glared
enviously at the successful hunter, for Numa had had no
luck this night.

From the lips of the ape-man broke a rumbling growl of
warning.  Numa answered but he did not advance.
Instead he stood waving his tail gently to and fro,
and presently Tarzan squatted upon his kill and cut a
generous portion from a hind quarter.  Numa eyed him
with growing resentment and rage as, between mouthfuls,
the ape-man growled out his savage warnings.  Now this
particular lion had never before come in contact with
Tarzan of the Apes and he was much mystified.  Here was
the appearance and the scent of a man-thing and Numa
had tasted of human flesh and learned that though not
the most palatable it was certainly by far the easiest
to secure, yet there was that in the bestial growls of
the strange creature which reminded him of formidable
antagonists and gave him pause, while his hunger and
the odor of the hot flesh of Bara goaded him almost to
madness.  Always Tarzan watched him, guessing what was
passing in the little brain of the carnivore and well
it was that he did watch him, for at last Numa could
stand it no longer.  His tail shot suddenly erect and
at the same instant the wary ape-man, knowing all too
well what the signal portended, grasped the remainder
of the deer's hind quarter between his teeth and leaped
into a nearby tree as Numa charged him with all the
speed and a sufficient semblance of the weight of an
express train.

Tarzan's retreat was no indication that he felt fear.
Jungle life is ordered along different lines than ours
and different standards prevail.  Had Tarzan been
famished he would, doubtless, have stood his ground and
met the lion's charge.  He had done the thing before
upon more than one occasion, just as in the past he had
charged lions himself; but tonight he was far from
famished and in the hind quarter he had carried off
with him was more raw flesh than he could eat; yet it
was with no equanimity that he looked down upon Numa
rending the flesh of Tarzan's kill.  The presumption of
this strange Numa must be punished!  And forthwith
Tarzan set out to make life miserable for the big cat.
Close by were many trees bearing large, hard fruits and
to one of these the ape-man swung with the agility of a
squirrel.  Then commenced a bombardment which brought
forth earthshaking roars from Numa.  One after another
as rapidly as he could gather and hurl them, Tarzan
pelted the hard fruit down upon the lion.  It was
impossible for the tawny cat to eat under that hail of
missiles--he could but roar and growl and dodge and
eventually he was driven away entirely from the carcass
of Bara, the deer.  He went roaring and resentful; but
in the very center of the clearing his voice was
suddenly hushed and Tarzan saw the great head lower and
flatten out, the body crouch and the long tail quiver,
as the beast slunk cautiously toward the trees upon the
opposite side.

Immediately Tarzan was alert.  He lifted his head and
sniffed the slow, jungle breeze.  What was it that had
attracted Numa's attention and taken him soft-footed
and silent away from the scene of his discomfiture?
Just as the lion disappeared among the trees beyond the
clearing Tarzan caught upon the down-coming wind the
explanation of his new interest--the scent spoor of man
was wafted strongly to the sensitive nostrils.  Caching
the remainder of the deer's hind quarter in the crotch
of a tree the ape-man wiped his greasy palms upon his
naked thighs and swung off in pursuit of Numa.  A
broad, well-beaten elephant path led into the forest
from the clearing.  Parallel to this slunk Numa, while
above him Tarzan moved through the trees, the shadow of
a wraith.  The savage cat and the savage man saw Numa's
quarry almost simultaneously, though both had known
before it came within the vision of their eyes that it
was a black man.  Their sensitive nostrils had told
them this much and Tarzan's had told him that the scent
spoor was that of a stranger--old and a male, for race
and sex and age each has its own distinctive scent.
It was an old man that made his way alone through the
gloomy jungle, a wrinkled, dried up, little old man
hideously scarred and tattooed and strangely garbed,
with the skin of a hyena about his shoulders and the
dried head mounted upon his grey pate.  Tarzan
recognized the ear-marks of the witch-doctor and
awaited Numa's charge with a feeling of pleasurable
anticipation, for the ape-man had no love for
witch-doctors; but in the instant that Numa did charge,
the white man suddenly recalled that the lion had stolen
his kill a few minutes before and that revenge is
sweet.

The first intimation the black man had that he was in
danger was the crash of twigs as Numa charged through
the bushes into the game trail not twenty yards behind
him.  Then he turned to see a huge, black-maned lion
racing toward him and even as he turned, Numa seized
him.  At the same instant the ape-man dropped from an
overhanging limb full upon the lion's back and as he
alighted he plunged his knife into the tawny side
behind the left shoulder, tangled the fingers of his
right hand in the long mane, buried his teeth in Numa's
neck and wound his powerful legs about the beast's
torso.  With a roar of pain and rage, Numa reared up
and fell backward upon the ape-man; but still the
mighty man-thing clung to his hold and repeatedly the
long knife plunged rapidly into his side.  Over and
over rolled Numa, the lion, clawing and biting at the
air, roaring and growling horribly in savage attempt to
reach the thing upon its back.  More than once was
Tarzan almost brushed from his hold.  He was battered
and bruised and covered with blood from Numa and dirt
from the trail, yet not for an instant did he lessen
the ferocity of his mad attack nor his grim hold upon
the back of his antagonist.  To have loosened for an
instant his grip there, would have been to bring him
within reach of those tearing talons or rending fangs,
and have ended forever the grim career of this jungle-bred
English lord.  Where he had fallen beneath the
spring of the lion the witch-doctor lay, torn and
bleeding, unable to drag himself away and watched the
terrific battle between these two lords of the jungle.
His sunken eyes glittered and his wrinkled lips moved
over toothless gums as he mumbled weird incantations to
the demons of his cult.

For a time he felt no doubt as to the outcome--the
strange white man must certainly succumb to terrible
Simba--whoever heard of a lone man armed only with a
knife slaying so mighty a beast!  Yet presently the old
black man's eyes went wider and he commenced to have
his doubts and misgivings.  What wonderful sort of
creature was this that battled with Simba and held his
own despite the mighty muscles of the king of beasts
and slowly there dawned in those sunken eyes, gleaming
so brightly from the scarred and wrinkled face, the
light of a dawning recollection.  Gropingly backward
into the past reached the fingers of memory, until at
last they seized upon a faint picture, faded and yellow
with the passing years.  It was the picture of a lithe,
white-skinned youth swinging through the trees in
company with a band of huge apes, and the old eyes
blinked and a great fear came into them--the
superstitious fear of one who believes in ghosts and
spirits and demons.

And came the time once more when the witch-doctor no
longer doubted the outcome of the duel, yet his first
judgment was reversed, for now he knew that the jungle
god would slay Simba and the old black was even more
terrified of his own impending fate at the hands of the
victor than he had been by the sure and sudden death
which the triumphant lion would have meted out to him.
He saw the lion weaken from loss of blood.  He saw the
mighty limbs tremble and stagger and at last he saw the
beast sink down to rise no more.  He saw the forest god
or demon rise from the vanquished foe, and placing a
foot upon the still quivering carcass, raise his face
to the moon and bay out a hideous cry that froze the
ebbing blood in the veins of the witch-doctor.



4

Prophecy and Fulfillment


Then Tarzan turned his attention to the man.  He had
not slain Numa to save the Negro--he had merely done it
in revenge upon the lion; but now that he saw the old
man lying helpless and dying before him something akin
to pity touched his savage heart.  In his youth he
would have slain the witch-doctor without the slightest
compunction; but civilization had had its softening
effect upon him even as it does upon the nations and
races which it touches, though it had not yet gone far
enough with Tarzan to render him either cowardly or
effeminate.  He saw an old man suffering and dying, and
he stooped and felt of his wounds and stanched the flow
of blood.

"Who are you?" asked the old man in a trembling voice.

"I am Tarzan--Tarzan of the Apes," replied the ape-man
and not without a greater touch of pride than he would
have said, "I am John Clayton, Lord Greystoke."

The witch-doctor shook convulsively and closed his
eyes.  When he opened them again there was in them a
resignation to whatever horrible fate awaited him at
the hands of this feared demon of the woods.  "Why do
you not kill me?" he asked.

"Why should I kill you?" inquired Tarzan.
"You have not harmed me, and anyway you are already dying.
Numa, the lion, has killed you."

"You would not kill me?" Surprise and incredulity were
in the tones of the quavering old voice.

"I would save you if I could," replied Tarzan, "but
that cannot be done.  Why did you think I would kill
you?"

For a moment the old man was silent.  When he spoke it
was evidently after some little effort to muster his
courage.  "I knew you of old," he said, "when you
ranged the jungle in the country of Mbonga, the chief.
I was already a witch-doctor when you slew Kulonga and
the others, and when you robbed our huts and our poison
pot.  At first I did not remember you; but at last I
did--the white-skinned ape that lived with the hairy
apes and made life miserable in the village of Mbonga,
the chief--the forest god--the Munango-Keewati for whom
we set food outside our gates and who came and ate it.
Tell me before I die--are you man or devil?"

Tarzan laughed.  "I am a man," he said.

The old fellow sighed and shook his head.  "You have
tried to save me from Simba," he said.  "For that I
shall reward you.  I am a great witch-doctor.  Listen
to me, white man!  I see bad days ahead of you.  It is
writ in my own blood which I have smeared upon my palm.
A god greater even than you will rise up and strike you
down.  Turn back, Munango-Keewati!  Turn back before it
is too late.  Danger lies ahead of you and danger lurks
behind; but greater is the danger before.  I see--"
He paused and drew a long, gasping breath.  Then he
crumpled into a little, wrinkled heap and died.
Tarzan wondered what else he had seen.

It was very late when the ape-man re-entered the boma
and lay down among his black warriors.  None had seen
him go and none saw him return.  He thought about the
warning of the old witch-doctor before he fell asleep
and he thought of it again after he awoke; but he did
not turn back for he was unafraid, though had he known
what lay in store for one he loved most in all the
world he would have flown through the trees to her side
and allowed the gold of Opar to remain forever hidden
in its forgotten storehouse.

Behind him that morning another white man pondered
something he had heard during the night and very nearly
did he give up his project and turn back upon his
trail.  It was Werper, the murderer, who in the still
of the night had heard far away upon the trail ahead of
him a sound that had filled his cowardly soul with
terror--a sound such as he never before had heard in
all his life, nor dreamed that such a frightful thing
could emanate from the lungs of a God-created creature.
He had heard the victory cry of the bull ape as Tarzan
had screamed it forth into the face of Goro, the moon,
and he had trembled then and hidden his face; and now
in the broad light of a new day he trembled again as he
recalled it, and would have turned back from the
nameless danger the echo of that frightful sound seemed
to portend, had he not stood in even greater fear of
Achmet Zek, his master.

And so Tarzan of the Apes forged steadily ahead toward
Opar's ruined ramparts and behind him slunk Werper,
jackal-like, and only God knew what lay in store for
each.

At the edge of the desolate valley, overlooking the
golden domes and minarets of Opar, Tarzan halted.
By night he would go alone to the treasure vault,
reconnoitering, for he had determined that caution
should mark his every move upon this expedition.

With the coming of night he set forth, and Werper, who
had scaled the cliffs alone behind the ape-man's party,
and hidden through the day among the rough boulders of
the mountain top, slunk stealthily after him.  The
boulder-strewn plain between the valley's edge and the
mighty granite kopje, outside the city's walls, where
lay the entrance to the passage-way leading to the
treasure vault, gave the Belgian ample cover as he
followed Tarzan toward Opar.

He saw the giant ape-man swing himself nimbly up the
face of the great rock.  Werper, clawing fearfully
during the perilous ascent, sweating in terror, almost
palsied by fear, but spurred on by avarice, following
upward, until at last he stood upon the summit of the
rocky hill.

Tarzan was nowhere in sight.  For a time Werper hid
behind one of the lesser boulders that were scattered
over the top of the hill, but, seeing or hearing
nothing of the Englishman, he crept from his place of
concealment to undertake a systematic search of his
surroundings, in the hope that he might discover the
location of the treasure in ample time to make his
escape before Tarzan returned, for it was the Belgian's
desire merely to locate the gold, that, after Tarzan
had departed, he might come in safety with his
followers and carry away as much as he could transport.

He found the narrow cleft leading downward into the
heart of the kopje along well-worn, granite steps.  He
advanced quite to the dark mouth of the tunnel into
which the runway disappeared; but here he halted,
fearing to enter, lest he meet Tarzan returning.

The ape-man, far ahead of him, groped his way along the
rocky passage, until he came to the ancient wooden
door.  A moment later he stood within the treasure
chamber, where, ages since, long-dead hands had ranged
the lofty rows of precious ingots for the rulers of
that great continent which now lies submerged beneath
the waters of the Atlantic.

No sound broke the stillness of the subterranean vault.
There was no evidence that another had discovered the
forgotten wealth since last the ape-man had visited its
hiding place.

Satisfied, Tarzan turned and retraced his steps toward
the summit of the kopje.  Werper, from the concealment
of a jutting, granite shoulder, watched him pass up
from the shadows of the stairway and advance toward the
edge of the hill which faced the rim of the valley
where the Waziri awaited the signal of their master.
Then Werper, slipping stealthily from his hiding place,
dropped into the somber darkness of the entrance and
disappeared.

Tarzan, halting upon the kopje's edge, raised his voice
in the thunderous roar of a lion.  Twice, at regular
intervals, he repeated the call, standing in attentive
silence for several minutes after the echoes of the
third call had died away.  And then, from far across
the valley, faintly, came an answering roar--once,
twice, thrice.  Basuli, the Waziri chieftain, had heard
and replied.

Tarzan again made his way toward the treasure vault,
knowing that in a few hours his blacks would be with
him, ready to bear away another fortune in the
strangely shaped, golden ingots of Opar.  In the
meantime he would carry as much of the precious metal
to the summit of the kopje as he could.

Six trips he made in the five hours before Basuli
reached the kopje, and at the end of that time he had
transported forty-eight ingots to the edge of the great
boulder, carrying upon each trip a load which might
well have staggered two ordinary men, yet his giant
frame showed no evidence of fatigue, as he helped to
raise his ebon warriors to the hill top with the rope
that had been brought for the purpose.

Six times he had returned to the treasure chamber, and
six times Werper, the Belgian, had cowered in the black
shadows at the far end of the long vault.  Once again
came the ape-man, and this time there came with him
fifty fighting men, turning porters for love of the
only creature in the world who might command of their
fierce and haughty natures such menial service.  Fifty-two
more ingots passed out of the vaults, making the total
of one hundred which Tarzan intended taking away
with him.

As the last of the Waziri filed from the chamber,
Tarzan turned back for a last glimpse of the fabulous
wealth upon which his two inroads had made no
appreciable impression.  Before he extinguished the
single candle he had brought with him for the purpose,
and the flickering light of which had cast the first
alleviating rays into the impenetrable darkness of the
buried chamber, that it had known for the countless
ages since it had lain forgotten of man, Tarzan's mind
reverted to that first occasion upon which he had
entered the treasure vault, coming upon it by chance as
he fled from the pits beneath the temple, where he had
been hidden by La, the High Priestess of the Sun
Worshipers.

He recalled the scene within the temple when he had
lain stretched upon the sacrificial altar, while La,
with high-raised dagger, stood above him, and the rows
of priests and priestesses awaited, in the ecstatic
hysteria of fanaticism, the first gush of their
victim's warm blood, that they might fill their golden
goblets and drink to the glory of their Flaming God.

The brutal and bloody interruption by Tha, the mad
priest, passed vividly before the ape-man's
recollective eyes, the flight of the votaries before
the insane blood lust of the hideous creature, the
brutal attack upon La, and his own part of the grim
tragedy when he had battled with the infuriated Oparian
and left him dead at the feet of the priestess he would
have profaned.

This and much more passed through Tarzan's memory as
he stood gazing at the long tiers of dull-yellow metal.
He wondered if La still ruled the temples of the ruined
city whose crumbling walls rose upon the very
foundations about him.  Had she finally been forced
into a union with one of her grotesque priests?
It seemed a hideous fate, indeed, for one so beautiful.
With a shake of his head, Tarzan stepped to the
flickering candle, extinguished its feeble rays and
turned toward the exit.

Behind him the spy waited for him to be gone.  He had
learned the secret for which he had come, and now he
could return at his leisure to his waiting followers,
bring them to the treasure vault and carry away all the
gold that they could stagger under.

The Waziri had reached the outer end of the tunnel,
and were winding upward toward the fresh air and the
welcome starlight of the kopje's summit, before Tarzan
shook off the detaining hand of reverie and started
slowly after them.

Once again, and, he thought, for the last time, he
closed the massive door of the treasure room.  In the
darkness behind him Werper rose and stretched his
cramped muscles.  He stretched forth a hand and
lovingly caressed a golden ingot on the nearest tier.
He raised it from its immemorial resting place and
weighed it in his hands.  He clutched it to his bosom
in an ecstasy of avarice.

Tarzan dreamed of the happy homecoming which lay before
him, of dear arms about his neck, and a soft cheek
pressed to his; but there rose to dispel that dream the
memory of the old witch-doctor and his warning.

And then, in the span of a few brief seconds, the hopes
of both these men were shattered.  The one forgot even
his greed in the panic of terror--the other was plunged
into total forgetfulness of the past by a jagged
fragment of rock which gashed a deep cut upon his head.



5

The Altar of the Flaming God


It was at the moment that Tarzan turned from the closed
door to pursue his way to the outer world.  The thing
came without warning.  One instant all was quiet and
stability--the next, and the world rocked, the tortured
sides of the narrow passageway split and crumbled,
great blocks of granite, dislodged from the ceiling,
tumbled into the narrow way, choking it, and the walls
bent inward upon the wreckage.  Beneath the blow of a
fragment of the roof, Tarzan staggered back against the
door to the treasure room, his weight pushed it open
and his body rolled inward upon the floor.

In the great apartment where the treasure lay less
damage was wrought by the earthquake.  A few ingots
toppled from the higher tiers, a single piece of the
rocky ceiling splintered off and crashed downward to
the floor, and the walls cracked, though they did not
collapse.

There was but the single shock, no other followed to
complete the damage undertaken by the first.  Werper,
thrown to his length by the suddenness and violence of
the disturbance, staggered to his feet when he found
himself unhurt.  Groping his way toward the far end of
the chamber, he sought the candle which Tarzan had left
stuck in its own wax upon the protruding end of an
ingot.

By striking numerous matches the Belgian at last found
what he sought, and when, a moment later, the sickly
rays relieved the Stygian darkness about him, he
breathed a nervous sigh of relief, for the impenetrable
gloom had accentuated the terrors of his situation.

As they became accustomed to the light the man turned
his eyes toward the door--his one thought now was of
escape from this frightful tomb--and as he did so he
saw the body of the naked giant lying stretched upon
the floor just within the doorway.  Werper drew back in
sudden fear of detection; but a second glance convinced
him that the Englishman was dead.  From a great gash in
the man's head a pool of blood had collected upon the
concrete floor.

Quickly, the Belgian leaped over the prostrate form of
his erstwhile host, and without a thought of succor for
the man in whom, for aught he knew, life still
remained, he bolted for the passageway and safety.

But his renewed hopes were soon dashed.  Just beyond
the doorway he found the passage completely clogged and
choked by impenetrable masses of shattered rock.
Once more he turned and re-entered the treasure vault.
Taking the candle from its place he commenced a
systematic search of the apartment, nor had he gone far
before he discovered another door in the opposite end
of the room, a door which gave upon creaking hinges to
the weight of his body.  Beyond the door lay another
narrow passageway.  Along this Werper made his way,
ascending a flight of stone steps to another corridor
twenty feet above the level of the first.  The
flickering candle lighted the way before him, and a
moment later he was thankful for the possession of this
crude and antiquated luminant, which, a few hours
before he might have looked upon with contempt, for it
showed him, just in time, a yawning pit, apparently
terminating the tunnel he was traversing.

Before him was a circular shaft.  He held the candle
above it and peered downward.  Below him, at a great
distance, he saw the light reflected back from the
surface of a pool of water.  He had come upon a well.
He raised the candle above his head and peered across
the black void, and there upon the opposite side he saw
the continuation of the tunnel; but how was he to span
the gulf?

As he stood there measuring the distance to the
opposite side and wondering if he dared venture so
great a leap, there broke suddenly upon his startled
ears a piercing scream which diminished gradually until
it ended in a series of dismal moans.  The voice seemed
partly human, yet so hideous that it might well have
emanated from the tortured throat of a lost soul,
writhing in the fires of hell.

The Belgian shuddered and looked fearfully upward,
for the scream had seemed to come from above him.
As he looked he saw an opening far overhead, and a
patch of sky pinked with brilliant stars.

His half-formed intention to call for help was expunged
by the terrifying cry--where such a voice lived, no
human creatures could dwell.  He dared not reveal
himself to whatever inhabitants dwelt in the place
above him.  He cursed himself for a fool that he had
ever embarked upon such a mission.  He wished himself
safely back in the camp of Achmet Zek, and would almost
have embraced an opportunity to give himself up to the
military authorities of the Congo if by so doing he
might be rescued from the frightful predicament in
which he now was.

He listened fearfully, but the cry was not repeated,
and at last spurred to desperate means, he gathered
himself for the leap across the chasm.  Going back
twenty paces, he took a running start, and at the edge
of the well, leaped upward and outward in an attempt to
gain the opposite side.

In his hand he clutched the sputtering candle,
and as he took the leap the rush of air extinguished it.
In utter darkness he flew through space, clutching outward
for a hold should his feet miss the invisible ledge.

He struck the edge of the door of the opposite terminus
of the rocky tunnel with his knees, slipped backward,
clutched desperately for a moment, and at last hung
half within and half without the opening; but he was safe.
For several minutes he dared not move; but
clung, weak and sweating, where he lay.  At last,
cautiously, he drew himself well within the tunnel,
and again he lay at full length upon the floor,
fighting to regain control of his shattered nerves.

When his knees struck the edge of the tunnel he had
dropped the candle.  Presently, hoping against hope
that it had fallen upon the floor of the passageway,
rather than back into the depths of the well, he rose
upon all fours and commenced a diligent search for the
little tallow cylinder, which now seemed infinitely
more precious to him than all the fabulous wealth of
the hoarded ingots of Opar.

And when, at last, he found it, he clasped it to him
and sank back sobbing and exhausted.  For many minutes
he lay trembling and broken; but finally he drew
himself to a sitting posture, and taking a match from
his pocket, lighted the stump of the candle which
remained to him.  With the light he found it easier to
regain control of his nerves, and presently he was
again making his way along the tunnel in search of an
avenue of escape.  The horrid cry that had come down to
him from above through the ancient well-shaft still
haunted him, so that he trembled in terror at even the
sounds of his own cautious advance.

He had gone forward but a short distance, when, to his
chagrin, a wall of masonry barred his farther progress,
closing the tunnel completely from top to bottom and
from side to side.  What could it mean?  Werper was an
educated and intelligent man.  His military training
had taught him to use his mind for the purpose for
which it was intended.  A blind tunnel such as this was
senseless.  It must continue beyond the wall.  Someone,
at some time in the past, had had it blocked for an
unknown purpose of his own.  The man fell to examining
the masonry by the light of his candle.  To his delight
he discovered that the thin blocks of hewn stone of
which it was constructed were fitted in loosely without
mortar or cement.  He tugged upon one of them, and to
his joy found that it was easily removable.  One after
another he pulled out the blocks until he had opened an
aperture large enough to admit his body, then he
crawled through into a large, low chamber.  Across this
another door barred his way; but this, too, gave before
his efforts, for it was not barred.  A long, dark
corridor showed before him, but before he had followed
it far, his candle burned down until it scorched his
fingers.  With an oath he dropped it to the floor,
where it sputtered for a moment and went out.

Now he was in total darkness, and again terror rode
heavily astride his neck.  What further pitfalls and
dangers lay ahead he could not guess; but that he was
as far as ever from liberty he was quite willing to
believe, so depressing is utter absence of light to one
in unfamiliar surroundings.

Slowly he groped his way along, feeling with his hands
upon the tunnel's walls, and cautiously with his feet
ahead of him upon the floor before he could take a
single forward step.  How long he crept on thus he
could not guess; but at last, feeling that the tunnel's
length was interminable, and exhausted by his efforts,
by terror, and loss of sleep, he determined to lie down
and rest before proceeding farther.

When he awoke there was no change in the surrounding
blackness.  He might have slept a second or a day--he
could not know; but that he had slept for some time was
attested by the fact that he felt refreshed and hungry.

Again he commenced his groping advance; but this time
he had gone but a short distance when he emerged into a
room, which was lighted through an opening in the
ceiling, from which a flight of concrete steps led
downward to the floor of the chamber.

Above him, through the aperture, Werper could see
sunlight glancing from massive columns, which were
twined about by clinging vines.  He listened; but he
heard no sound other than the soughing of the wind
through leafy branches, the hoarse cries of birds,
and the chattering of monkeys.

Boldly he ascended the stairway, to find himself in a
circular court.  Just before him stood a stone altar,
stained with rusty-brown discolorations.  At the time
Werper gave no thought to an explanation of these
stains--later their origin became all too hideously
apparent to him.

Beside the opening in the floor, just behind the altar,
through which he had entered the court from the
subterranean chamber below, the Belgian discovered
several doors leading from the enclosure upon the level
of the floor.  Above, and circling the courtyard, was a
series of open balconies.  Monkeys scampered about the
deserted ruins, and gaily plumaged birds flitted in and
out among the columns and the galleries far above; but
no sign of human presence was discernible.  Werper felt
relieved.  He sighed, as though a great weight had been
lifted from his shoulders.  He took a step toward one
of the exits, and then he halted, wide-eyed in
astonishment and terror, for almost at the same instant
a dozen doors opened in the courtyard wall and a horde
of frightful men rushed in upon him.

They were the priests of the Flaming God of Opar--the
same, shaggy, knotted, hideous little men who had
dragged Jane Clayton to the sacrificial altar at this
very spot years before.  Their long arms, their short
and crooked legs, their close-set, evil eyes, and their
low, receding foreheads gave them a bestial appearance
that sent a qualm of paralyzing fright through the
shaken nerves of the Belgian.

With a scream he turned to flee back into the lesser
terrors of the gloomy corridors and apartments from
which he had just emerged, but the frightful men
anticipated his intentions.  They blocked the way;
they seized him, and though he fell, groveling upon his
knees before them, begging for his life, they bound him
and hurled him to the floor of the inner temple.

The rest was but a repetition of what Tarzan and Jane
Clayton had passed through.  The priestesses came,
and with them La, the High Priestess.  Werper was raised
and laid across the altar.  Cold sweat exuded from his
every pore as La raised the cruel, sacrificial knife
above him.  The death chant fell upon his tortured
ears.  His staring eyes wandered to the golden goblets
from which the hideous votaries would soon quench their
inhuman thirst in his own, warm life-blood.

He wished that he might be granted the brief respite of
unconsciousness before the final plunge of the keen
blade--and then there was a frightful roar that sounded
almost in his ears.  The High Priestess lowered her
dagger.  Her eyes went wide in horror.  The
priestesses, her votaresses, screamed and fled madly
toward the exits.  The priests roared out their rage
and terror according to the temper of their courage.
Werper strained his neck about to catch a sight of the
cause of their panic, and when, at last he saw it, he
too went cold in dread, for what his eyes beheld was
the figure of a huge lion standing in the center of the
temple, and already a single victim lay mangled beneath
his cruel paws.

Again the lord of the wilderness roared, turning his
baleful gaze upon the altar.  La staggered forward,
reeled, and fell across Werper in a swoon.



6

The Arab Raid


After their first terror had subsided subsequent to the
shock of the earthquake, Basuli and his warriors
hastened back into the passageway in search of Tarzan
and two of their own number who were also missing.

They found the way blocked by jammed and distorted
rock.  For two days they labored to tear a way through
to their imprisoned friends; but when, after Herculean
efforts, they had unearthed but a few yards of the
choked passage, and discovered the mangled remains of
one of their fellows they were forced to the conclusion
that Tarzan and the second Waziri also lay dead beneath
the rock mass farther in, beyond human aid, and no
longer susceptible of it.

Again and again as they labored they called aloud the
names of their master and their comrade; but no
answering call rewarded their listening ears.  At last
they gave up the search.  Tearfully they cast a last
look at the shattered tomb of their master, shouldered
the heavy burden of gold that would at least furnish
comfort, if not happiness, to their bereaved and
beloved mistress, and made their mournful way back
across the desolate valley of Opar, and downward
through the forests beyond toward the distant bungalow.

And as they marched what sorry fate was already drawing
down upon that peaceful, happy home!

From the north came Achmet Zek, riding to the summons
of his lieutenant's letter.  With him came his horde of
renegade Arabs, outlawed marauders, these, and equally
degraded blacks, garnered from the more debased and
ignorant tribes of savage cannibals through whose
countries the raider passed to and fro with perfect
impunity.

Mugambi, the ebon Hercules, who had shared the dangers
and vicissitudes of his beloved Bwana, from Jungle
Island, almost to the headwaters of the Ugambi,
was the first to note the bold approach of the
sinister caravan.

He it was whom Tarzan had left in charge of the
warriors who remained to guard Lady Greystoke, nor
could a braver or more loyal guardian have been found
in any clime or upon any soil.  A giant in stature,
a savage, fearless warrior, the huge black possessed also
soul and judgment in proportion to his bulk and his ferocity.

Not once since his master had departed had he been
beyond sight or sound of the bungalow, except when Lady
Greystoke chose to canter across the broad plain, or
relieve the monotony of her loneliness by a brief
hunting excursion.  On such occasions Mugambi, mounted
upon a wiry Arab, had ridden close at her horse's
heels.

The raiders were still a long way off when the
warrior's keen eyes discovered them.  For a time he
stood scrutinizing the advancing party in silence,
then he turned and ran rapidly in the direction of the
native huts which lay a few hundred yards below the bungalow.

Here he called out to the lolling warriors.  He issued
orders rapidly.  In compliance with them the men seized
upon their weapons and their shields.  Some ran to call
in the workers from the fields and to warn the tenders
of the flocks and herds.  The majority followed Mugambi
back toward the bungalow.

The dust of the raiders was still a long distance away.
Mugambi could not know positively that it hid an enemy;
but he had spent a lifetime of savage life in savage
Africa, and he had seen parties before come thus
unheralded.  Sometimes they had come in peace and
sometimes they had come in war--one could never tell.
It was well to be prepared.  Mugambi did not like the
haste with which the strangers advanced.

The Greystoke bungalow was not well adapted for
defense.  No palisade surrounded it, for, situated as
it was, in the heart of loyal Waziri, its master had
anticipated no possibility of an attack in force by any
enemy.  Heavy, wooden shutters there were to close the
window apertures against hostile arrows, and these
Mugambi was engaged in lowering when Lady Greystoke
appeared upon the veranda.

"Why, Mugambi!" she exclaimed.  "What has happened?
Why are you lowering the shutters?"

Mugambi pointed out across the plain to where a white-robed
force of mounted men was now distinctly visible.

"Arabs," he explained.  "They come for no good purpose
in the absence of the Great Bwana."

Beyond the neat lawn and the flowering shrubs, Jane
Clayton saw the glistening bodies of her Waziri.
The sun glanced from the tips of their metal-shod spears,
picked out the gorgeous colors in the feathers of their
war bonnets, and reflected the high-lights from the
glossy skins of their broad shoulders and high cheek bones.

Jane Clayton surveyed them with unmixed feelings of
pride and affection.  What harm could befall her with
such as these to protect her?

The raiders had halted now, a hundred yards out upon
the plain.  Mugambi had hastened down to join his
warriors.  He advanced a few yards before them and
raising his voice hailed the strangers.  Achmet Zek sat
straight in his saddle before his henchmen.

"Arab!" cried Mugambi.  "What do you here?"

"We come in peace," Achmet Zek called back.

"Then turn and go in peace," replied Mugambi.
"We do not want you here.  There can be no peace between
Arab and Waziri."

Mugambi, although not born in Waziri, had been adopted
into the tribe, which now contained no member more
jealous of its traditions and its prowess than he.

Achmet Zek drew to one side of his horde, speaking to
his men in a low voice.  A moment later, without
warning, a ragged volley was poured into the ranks of
the Waziri.  A couple of warriors fell, the others were
for charging the attackers; but Mugambi was a cautious
as well as a brave leader.  He knew the futility of
charging mounted men armed with muskets.  He withdrew
his force behind the shrubbery of the garden.  Some he
dispatched to various other parts of the grounds
surrounding the bungalow.  Half a dozen he sent to the
bungalow itself with instructions to keep their
mistress within doors, and to protect her with their lives.

Adopting the tactics of the desert fighters from which
he had sprung, Achmet Zek led his followers at a gallop
in a long, thin line, describing a great circle which
drew closer and closer in toward the defenders.

At that part of the circle closest to the Waziri,
a constant fusillade of shots was poured into the bushes
behind which the black warriors had concealed
themselves.  The latter, on their part, loosed their
slim shafts at the nearest of the enemy.

The Waziri, justly famed for their archery, found no
cause to blush for their performance that day.
Time and again some swarthy horseman threw hands above
his head and toppled from his saddle, pierced by a
deadly arrow; but the contest was uneven.  The Arabs
outnumbered the Waziri; their bullets penetrated the
shrubbery and found marks that the Arab riflemen had
not even seen; and then Achmet Zek circled inward a
half mile above the bungalow, tore down a section of
the fence, and led his marauders within the grounds.

Across the fields they charged at a mad run.  Not again
did they pause to lower fences, instead, they drove
their wild mounts straight for them, clearing the
obstacles as lightly as winged gulls.

Mugambi saw them coming, and, calling those of his
warriors who remained, ran for the bungalow and the
last stand.  Upon the veranda Lady Greystoke stood,
rifle in hand.  More than a single raider had accounted
to her steady nerves and cool aim for his outlawry;
more than a single pony raced, riderless, in the wake
of the charging horde.

Mugambi pushed his mistress back into the greater
security of the interior, and with his depleted force
prepared to make a last stand against the foe.

On came the Arabs, shouting and waving their long guns
above their heads.  Past the veranda they raced,
pouring a deadly fire into the kneeling Waziri who
discharged their volley of arrows from behind their
long, oval shields--shields well adapted, perhaps,
to stop a hostile arrow, or deflect a spear; but futile,
quite, before the leaden missiles of the riflemen.

From beneath the half-raised shutters of the bungalow
other bowmen did effective service in greater security,
and after the first assault, Mugambi withdrew his
entire force within the building.

Again and again the Arabs charged, at last forming a
stationary circle about the little fortress, and
outside the effective range of the defenders' arrows.
From their new position they fired at will at the
windows.  One by one the Waziri fell.  Fewer and fewer
were the arrows that replied to the guns of the
raiders, and at last Achmet Zek felt safe in ordering
an assault.

Firing as they ran, the bloodthirsty horde raced for
the veranda.  A dozen of them fell to the arrows of the
defenders; but the majority reached the door.
Heavy gun butts fell upon it.  The crash of splintered
wood mingled with the report of a rifle as Jane Clayton
fired through the panels upon the relentless foe.

Upon both sides of the door men fell; but at last the
frail barrier gave to the vicious assaults of the
maddened attackers; it crumpled inward and a dozen
swarthy murderers leaped into the living-room.
At the far end stood Jane Clayton surrounded by the remnant
of her devoted guardians.  The floor was covered by the
bodies of those who already had given up their lives in
her defense.  In the forefront of her protectors stood
the giant Mugambi.  The Arabs raised their rifles to
pour in the last volley that would effectually end all
resistance; but Achmet Zek roared out a warning order
that stayed their trigger fingers.

"Fire not upon the woman!" he cried.  "Who harms her,
dies.  Take the woman alive!"

The Arabs rushed across the room; the Waziri met them
with their heavy spears.  Swords flashed, long-barreled
pistols roared out their sullen death dooms.  Mugambi
launched his spear at the nearest of the enemy with a
force that drove the heavy shaft completely through the
Arab's body, then he seized a pistol from another, and
grasping it by the barrel brained all who forced their
way too near his mistress.

Emulating his example the few warriors who remained to
him fought like demons; but one by one they fell, until
only Mugambi remained to defend the life and honor of
the ape-man's mate.

From across the room Achmet Zek watched the unequal
struggle and urged on his minions.  In his hands was a
jeweled musket.  Slowly he raised it to his shoulder,
waiting until another move should place Mugambi at his
mercy without endangering the lives of the woman or any
of his own followers.

At last the moment came, and Achmet Zek pulled the
trigger.  Without a sound the brave Mugambi sank to the
floor at the feet of Jane Clayton.

An instant later she was surrounded and disarmed.
Without a word they dragged her from the bungalow.
A giant Negro lifted her to the pommel of his saddle,
and while the raiders searched the bungalow and outhouses
for plunder he rode with her beyond the gates and
waited the coming of his master.

Jane Clayton saw the raiders lead the horses from the
corral, and drive the herds in from the fields.
She saw her home plundered of all that represented
intrinsic worth in the eyes of the Arabs, and then she saw
the torch applied, and the flames lick up what remained.

And at last, when the raiders assembled after glutting
their fury and their avarice, and rode away with her
toward the north, she saw the smoke and the flames
rising far into the heavens until the winding of the trail
into the thick forests hid the sad view from her eyes.

As the flames ate their way into the living-room,
reaching out forked tongues to lick up the bodies of
the dead, one of that gruesome company whose bloody
welterings had long since been stilled, moved again.
It was a huge black who rolled over upon his side and
opened blood-shot, suffering eyes.  Mugambi, whom the
Arabs had left for dead, still lived.  The hot flames
were almost upon him as he raised himself painfully
upon his hands and knees and crawled slowly toward the
doorway.

Again and again he sank weakly to the floor; but each
time he rose again and continued his pitiful way toward
safety.  After what seemed to him an interminable time,
during which the flames had become a veritable fiery
furnace at the far side of the room, the great black
managed to reach the veranda, roll down the steps,
and crawl off into the cool safety of some nearby
shrubbery.

All night he lay there, alternately unconscious and
painfully sentient; and in the latter state watching
with savage hatred the lurid flames which still rose
from burning crib and hay cock.  A prowling lion roared
close at hand; but the giant black was unafraid.  There
was place for but a single thought in his savage mind--
revenge!  revenge!  revenge!



7

The Jewel-Room of Opar


For some time Tarzan lay where he had fallen upon the
floor of the treasure chamber beneath the ruined walls
of Opar.  He lay as one dead; but he was not dead.
At length he stirred.  His eyes opened upon the utter
darkness of the room.  He raised his hand to his head
and brought it away sticky with clotted blood.  He
sniffed at his fingers, as a wild beast might sniff at
the life-blood upon a wounded paw.

Slowly he rose to a sitting posture--listening.
No sound reached to the buried depths of his sepulcher.
He staggered to his feet, and groped his way about
among the tiers of ingots.  What was he?  Where was he?
His head ached; but otherwise he felt no ill effects
from the blow that had felled him.  The accident he did not
recall, nor did he recall aught of what had led up to it.

He let his hands grope unfamiliarly over his limbs,
his torso, and his head.  He felt of the quiver at his
back, the knife in his loin cloth.  Something struggled
for recognition within his brain.  Ah!  he had it.
There was something missing.  He crawled about upon
the floor, feeling with his hands for the thing that
instinct warned him was gone.  At last he found it--the
heavy war spear that in past years had formed so
important a feature of his daily life, almost of his
very existence, so inseparably had it been connected
with his every action since the long-gone day that he
had wrested his first spear from the body of a black
victim of his savage training.

Tarzan was sure that there was another and more lovely
world than that which was confined to the darkness of
the four stone walls surrounding him.  He continued his
search and at last found the doorway leading inward
beneath the city and the temple.  This he followed,
most incautiously.  He came to the stone steps leading
upward to the higher level.  He ascended them and
continued onward toward the well.

Nothing spurred his hurt memory to a recollection of
past familiarity with his surroundings.  He blundered
on through the darkness as though he were traversing an
open plain under the brilliance of a noonday sun, and
suddenly there happened that which had to happen under
the circumstances of his rash advance.

He reached the brink of the well, stepped outward into
space, lunged forward, and shot downward into the inky
depths below.  Still clutching his spear, he struck the
water, and sank beneath its surface, plumbing the
depths.

The fall had not injured him, and when he rose to the
surface, he shook the water from his eyes, and found
that he could see.  Daylight was filtering into the
well from the orifice far above his head.  It illumined
the inner walls faintly.  Tarzan gazed about him.
On the level with the surface of the water he saw a
large opening in the dark and slimy wall.  He swam to it,
and drew himself out upon the wet floor of a tunnel.

Along this he passed; but now he went warily, for
Tarzan of the Apes was learning.  The unexpected pit
had taught him care in the traversing of dark
passageways--he needed no second lesson.

For a long distance the passage went straight as an
arrow.  The floor was slippery, as though at times the
rising waters of the well overflowed and flooded it.
This, in itself, retarded Tarzan's pace, for it was
with difficulty that he kept his footing.

The foot of a stairway ended the passage.  Up this he
made his way.  It turned back and forth many times,
leading, at last, into a small, circular chamber,
the gloom of which was relieved by a faint light which
found ingress through a tubular shaft several feet in
diameter which rose from the center of the room's
ceiling, upward to a distance of a hundred feet or
more, where it terminated in a stone grating through
which Tarzan could see a blue and sun-lit sky.

Curiosity prompted the ape-man to investigate his
surroundings.  Several metal-bound, copper-studded
chests constituted the sole furniture of the round
room.  Tarzan let his hands run over these.  He felt
of the copper studs, he pulled upon the hinges, and at
last, by chance, he raised the cover of one.

An exclamation of delight broke from his lips at sight
of the pretty contents.  Gleaming and glistening in the
subdued light of the chamber, lay a great tray full of
brilliant stones.  Tarzan, reverted to the primitive by
his accident, had no conception of the fabulous value
of his find.  To him they were but pretty pebbles.
He plunged his hands into them and let the priceless gems
filter through his fingers.  He went to others of the
chests, only to find still further stores of precious
stones.  Nearly all were cut, and from these he
gathered a handful and filled the pouch which dangled at
his side--the uncut stones he tossed back into the chests.

Unwittingly, the ape-man had stumbled upon the
forgotten jewel-room of Opar.  For ages it had lain
buried beneath the temple of the Flaming God, midway of
one of the many inky passages which the superstitious
descendants of the ancient Sun Worshipers had either
dared not or cared not to explore.

Tiring at last of this diversion, Tarzan took up his way
along the corridor which led upward from the jewel-room
by a steep incline.  Winding and twisting, but always
tending upward, the tunnel led him nearer and
nearer to the surface, ending finally in a low-ceiled
room, lighter than any that he had as yet discovered.

Above him an opening in the ceiling at the upper end of
a flight of concrete steps revealed a brilliant sunlit
scene.  Tarzan viewed the vine-covered columns in mild
wonderment.  He puckered his brows in an attempt to
recall some recollection of similar things.  He was not
sure of himself.  There was a tantalizing suggestion
always present in his mind that something was eluding
him--that he should know many things which he did not know.

His earnest cogitation was rudely interrupted by a
thunderous roar from the opening above him.  Following
the roar came the cries and screams of men and women.
Tarzan grasped his spear more firmly and ascended the
steps.  A strange sight met his eyes as he emerged from
the semi-darkness of the cellar to the brilliant light
of the temple.

The creatures he saw before him he recognized for what
they were--men and women, and a huge lion.  The men and
women were scuttling for the safety of the exits.
The lion stood upon the body of one who had been less fortunate
than the others.  He was in the center of the temple.
Directly before Tarzan, a woman stood beside a
block of stone.  Upon the top of the stone lay
stretched a man, and as the ape-man watched the scene,
he saw the lion glare terribly at the two who remained
within the temple.  Another thunderous roar broke from
the savage throat, the woman screamed and swooned
across the body of the man stretched prostrate upon the
stone altar before her.

The lion advanced a few steps and crouched.  The tip of
his sinuous tail twitched nervously.  He was upon the
point of charging when his eyes were attracted toward
the ape-man.

Werper, helpless upon the altar, saw the great
carnivore preparing to leap upon him.  He saw the
sudden change in the beast's expression as his eyes
wandered to something beyond the altar and out of the
Belgian's view.  He saw the formidable creature rise to
a standing position.  A figure darted past Werper.
He saw a mighty arm upraised, and a stout spear shoot
forward toward the lion, to bury itself in the broad chest.

He saw the lion snapping and tearing at the weapon's
shaft, and he saw, wonder of wonders, the naked giant
who had hurled the missile charging upon the great
beast, only a long knife ready to meet those ferocious
fangs and talons.

The lion reared up to meet this new enemy.  The beast
was growling frightfully, and then upon the startled
ears of the Belgian, broke a similar savage growl from
the lips of the man rushing upon the beast.

By a quick side step, Tarzan eluded the first swinging
clutch of the lion's paws.  Darting to the beast's
side, he leaped upon the tawny back.  His arms
encircled the maned neck, his teeth sank deep into the
brute's flesh.  Roaring, leaping, rolling and
struggling, the giant cat attempted to dislodge this
savage enemy, and all the while one great, brown fist
was driving a long keen blade repeatedly into the
beast's side.

During the battle, La regained consciousness.
Spellbound, she stood above her victim watching the
spectacle. It seemed incredible that a human being
could best the king of beasts in personal encounter and
yet before her very eyes there was taking place just
such an improbability.

At last Tarzan's knife found the great heart, and with
a final, spasmodic struggle the lion rolled over upon
the marble floor, dead.  Leaping to his feet the
conqueror placed a foot upon the carcass of his kill,
raised his face toward the heavens, and gave voice to
so hideous a cry that both La and Werper trembled as it
reverberated through the temple.

Then the ape-man turned, and Werper recognized him as
the man he had left for dead in the treasure room.



8

The Escape from Opar


Werper was astounded.  Could this creature be the same
dignified Englishman who had entertained him so
graciously in his luxurious African home?  Could this
wild beast, with blazing eyes, and bloody countenance,
be at the same time a man?  Could the horrid, victory
cry he had but just heard have been formed in human
throat?

Tarzan was eyeing the man and the woman, a puzzled
expression in his eyes, but there was no faintest tinge
of recognition.  It was as though he had discovered
some new species of living creature and was marveling
at his find.

La was studying the ape-man's features.  Slowly her
large eyes opened very wide.

"Tarzan!" she exclaimed, and then, in the vernacular of
the great apes which constant association with the
anthropoids had rendered the common language of the
Oparians: "You have come back to me!  La has ignored the
mandates of her religion, waiting, always waiting for
Tarzan--for her Tarzan.  She has taken no mate, for in
all the world there was but one with whom La would
mate.  And now you have come back!  Tell me, O Tarzan,
that it is for me you have returned."

Werper listened to the unintelligible jargon.
He looked from La to Tarzan.  Would the latter understand
this strange tongue?  To the Belgian's surprise, the
Englishman answered in a language evidently identical
to hers.

"Tarzan," he repeated, musingly.  "Tarzan.  The name
sounds familiar."

"It is your name--you are Tarzan," cried La.

"I am Tarzan?" The ape-man shrugged.  "Well, it is a
good name--I know no other, so I will keep it; but I do
not know you.  I did not come hither for you.  Why I
came, I do not know at all; neither do I know from
whence I came.  Can you tell me?"

La shook her head.  "I never knew," she replied.

Tarzan turned toward Werper and put the same question
to him; but in the language of the great apes.
The Belgian shook his head.

"I do not understand that language," he said in French.

Without effort, and apparently without realizing that
he made the change, Tarzan repeated his question in
French.  Werper suddenly came to a full realization of
the magnitude of the injury of which Tarzan was a
victim.  The man had lost his memory--no longer could
he recollect past events.  The Belgian was upon the
point of enlightening him, when it suddenly occurred to
him that by keeping Tarzan in ignorance, for a time at
least, of his true identity, it might be possible to
turn the ape-man's misfortune to his own advantage.

"I cannot tell you from whence you came," he said;
"but this I can tell you--if we do not get out of this
horrible place we shall both be slain upon this bloody
altar.  The woman was about to plunge her knife into my
heart when the lion interrupted the fiendish ritual. Come!
Before they recover from their fright and reassemble,
let us find a way out of their damnable temple."

Tarzan turned again toward La.

"Why," he asked, "would you have killed this man?
Are you hungry?"

The High Priestess cried out in disgust.

"Did he attempt to kill you?" continued Tarzan.

The woman shook her head.

"Then why should you have wished to kill him?" Tarzan
was determined to get to the bottom of the thing.

La raised her slender arm and pointed toward the sun.

"We were offering up his soul as a gift to the Flaming
God," she said.

Tarzan looked puzzled.  He was again an ape, and apes
do not understand such matters as souls and Flaming
Gods.

"Do you wish to die?" he asked Werper.

The Belgian assured him, with tears in his eyes, that
he did not wish to die.

"Very well then, you shall not," said Tarzan.  "Come!
We will go.  This SHE would kill you and keep me
for herself.  It is no place anyway for a Mangani.
I should soon die, shut up behind these stone walls."

He turned toward La.  "We are going now," he said.

The woman rushed forward and seized the ape-man's hands
in hers.

"Do not leave me!" she cried.  "Stay, and you shall be
High Priest.  La loves you.  All Opar shall be yours.
Slaves shall wait upon you.  Stay, Tarzan of the Apes,
and let love reward you."

The ape-man pushed the kneeling woman aside.  "Tarzan
does not desire you," he said, simply, and stepping to
Werper's side he cut the Belgian's bonds and motioned
him to follow.

Panting--her face convulsed with rage, La sprang to her
feet.

"Stay, you shall!" she screamed.  "La will have you--if
she cannot have you alive, she will have you dead," and
raising her face to the sun she gave voice to the same
hideous shriek that Werper had heard once before and
Tarzan many times.

In answer to her cry a babel of voices broke from the
surrounding chambers and corridors.

"Come, Guardian Priests!" she cried.  "The infidels
have profaned the holiest of the holies.  Come!  Strike
terror to their hearts; defend La and her altar; wash
clean the temple with the blood of the polluters."

Tarzan understood, though Werper did not.  The former
glanced at the Belgian and saw that he was unarmed.
Stepping quickly to La's side the ape-man seized her in
his strong arms and though she fought with all the mad
savagery of a demon, he soon disarmed her, handing her
long, sacrificial knife to Werper.

"You will need this," he said, and then from each
doorway a horde of the monstrous, little men of Opar
streamed into the temple.

They were armed with bludgeons and knives, and
fortified in their courage by fanatical hate and
frenzy.  Werper was terrified.  Tarzan stood eyeing the
foe in proud disdain. Slowly he advanced toward the
exit he had chosen to utilize in making his way from
the temple.  A burly priest barred his way.  Behind the
first was a score of others.  Tarzan swung his heavy
spear, clublike, down upon the skull of the priest.
The fellow collapsed, his head crushed.

Again and again the weapon fell as Tarzan made his way
slowly toward the doorway.  Werper pressed close
behind, casting backward glances toward the shrieking,
dancing mob menacing their rear.  He held the
sacrificial knife ready to strike whoever might come
within its reach; but none came.  For a time he
wondered that they should so bravely battle with the
giant ape-man, yet hesitate to rush upon him, who was
relatively so weak.  Had they done so he knew that he
must have fallen at the first charge.  Tarzan had
reached the doorway over the corpses of all that had
stood to dispute his way, before Werper guessed at the
reason for his immunity.  The priests feared the
sacrificial knife!  Willingly would they face death and
welcome it if it came while they defended their High
Priestess and her altar; but evidently there were
deaths, and deaths.  Some strange superstition must
surround that polished blade, that no Oparian cared to
chance a death thrust from it, yet gladly rushed to the
slaughter of the ape-man's flaying spear.

Once outside the temple court, Werper communicated his
discovery to Tarzan.  The ape-man grinned, and let
Werper go before him, brandishing the jeweled and holy
weapon.  Like leaves before a gale, the Oparians
scattered in all directions and Tarzan and the Belgian
found a clear passage through the corridors and
chambers of the ancient temple.

The Belgian's eyes went wide as they passed through the
room of the seven pillars of solid gold.  With ill-concealed
avarice he looked upon the age-old, golden tablets
set in the walls of nearly every room and down
the sides of many of the corridors.  To the ape-man all
this wealth appeared to mean nothing.

On the two went, chance leading them toward the broad
avenue which lay between the stately piles of the
half-ruined edifices and the inner wall of the city.
Great apes jabbered at them and menaced them; but Tarzan
answered them after their own kind, giving back taunt
for taunt, insult for insult, challenge for challenge.

Werper saw a hairy bull swing down from a broken column
and advance, stiff-legged and bristling, toward the
naked giant.  The yellow fangs were bared, angry snarls
and barkings rumbled threateningly through the thick
and hanging lips.

The Belgian watched his companion.  To his horror, he
saw the man stoop until his closed knuckles rested upon
the ground as did those of the anthropoid.  He saw him
circle, stiff-legged about the circling ape.  He heard
the same bestial barkings and growlings issue from the
human throat that were coming from the mouth of the
brute.  Had his eyes been closed he could not have
known but that two giant apes were bridling for combat.

But there was no battle.  It ended as the majority of
such jungle encounters end--one of the boasters loses
his nerve, and becomes suddenly interested in a blowing
leaf, a beetle, or the lice upon his hairy stomach.

In this instance it was the anthropoid that retired in
stiff dignity to inspect an unhappy caterpillar, which
he presently devoured.  For a moment Tarzan seemed
inclined to pursue the argument.  He swaggered
truculently, stuck out his chest, roared and advanced
closer to the bull.  It was with difficulty that Werper
finally persuaded him to leave well enough alone and
continue his way from the ancient city of the Sun
Worshipers.

The two searched for nearly an hour before they found
the narrow exit through the inner wall.  From there the
well-worn trail led them beyond the outer fortification
to the desolate valley of Opar.

Tarzan had no idea, in so far as Werper could discover,
as to where he was or whence he came.  He wandered
aimlessly about, searching for food, which he
discovered beneath small rocks, or hiding in the shade
of the scant brush which dotted the ground.

The Belgian was horrified by the hideous menu of his
companion.  Beetles, rodents and caterpillars were
devoured with seeming relish.  Tarzan was indeed an ape
again.

At last Werper succeeded in leading his companion
toward the distant hills which mark the northwestern
boundary of the valley, and together the two set out in
the direction of the Greystoke bungalow.

What purpose prompted the Belgian in leading the victim
of his treachery and greed back toward his former home
it is difficult to guess, unless it was that without
Tarzan there could be no ransom for Tarzan's wife.

That night they camped in the valley beyond the hills,
and as they sat before a little fire where cooked a
wild pig that had fallen to one of Tarzan's arrows, the
latter sat lost in speculation.  He seemed continually
to be trying to grasp some mental image which as
constantly eluded him.

At last he opened the leathern pouch which hung at his
side.  From it he poured into the palm of his hand a
quantity of glittering gems.  The firelight playing
upon them conjured a multitude of scintillating rays,
and as the wide eyes of the Belgian looked on in rapt
fascination, the man's expression at last acknowledged
a tangible purpose in courting the society of the ape-man.



9

The Theft of the Jewels


For two days Werper sought for the party that had
accompanied him from the camp to the barrier cliffs;
but not until late in the afternoon of the second day
did he find clew to its whereabouts, and then in such
gruesome form that he was totally unnerved by the
sight.

In an open glade he came upon the bodies of three of
the blacks, terribly mutilated, nor did it require
considerable deductive power to explain their murder.
Of the little party only these three had not been
slaves.  The others, evidently tempted to hope for
freedom from their cruel Arab master, had taken
advantage of their separation from the main camp, to
slay the three representatives of the hated power which
held them in slavery, and vanish into the jungle.

Cold sweat exuded from Werper's forehead as he
contemplated the fate which chance had permitted him to
escape, for had he been present when the conspiracy
bore fruit, he, too, must have been of the garnered.

Tarzan showed not the slightest surprise or interest in
the discovery.  Inherent in him was a calloused
familiarity with violent death.  The refinements of his
recent civilization expunged by the force of the sad
calamity which had befallen him, left only the
primitive sensibilities which his childhood's training
had imprinted indelibly upon the fabric of his mind.

The training of Kala, the examples and precepts of
Kerchak, of Tublat, and of Terkoz now formed the basis
of his every thought and action.  He retained a
mechanical knowledge of French and English speech.
Werper had spoken to him in French, and Tarzan had
replied in the same tongue without conscious
realization that he had departed from the anthropoidal
speech in which he had addressed La.  Had Werper used
English, the result would have been the same.

Again, that night, as the two sat before their camp
fire, Tarzan played with his shining baubles.  Werper
asked him what they were and where he had found them.
The ape-man replied that they were gay-colored stones,
with which he purposed fashioning a necklace, and that
he had found them far beneath the sacrificial court of
the temple of the Flaming God.

Werper was relieved to find that Tarzan had no
conception of the value of the gems.  This would make
it easier for the Belgian to obtain possession of them.
Possibly the man would give them to him for the asking.
Werper reached out his hand toward the little pile that
Tarzan had arranged upon a piece of flat wood before
him.

"Let me see them," said the Belgian.

Tarzan placed a large palm over his treasure.  He bared
his fighting fangs, and growled.  Werper withdrew his
hand more quickly than he had advanced it.  Tarzan
resumed his playing with the gems, and his conversation
with Werper as though nothing unusual had occurred.
He had but exhibited the beast's jealous protective
instinct for a possession.  When he killed he shared
the meat with Werper; but had Werper ever, by accident,
laid a hand upon Tarzan's share, he would have aroused
the same savage, and resentful warning.

From that occurrence dated the beginning of a great
fear in the breast of the Belgian for his savage
companion.  He had never understood the transformation
that had been wrought in Tarzan by the blow upon his
head, other than to attribute it to a form of amnesia.
That Tarzan had once been, in truth, a savage, jungle
beast, Werper had not known, and so, of course, he
could not guess that the man had reverted to the state
in which his childhood and young manhood had been
spent.

Now Werper saw in the Englishman a dangerous maniac,
whom the slightest untoward accident might turn upon
him with rending fangs.  Not for a moment did Werper
attempt to delude himself into the belief that he could
defend himself successfully against an attack by the
ape-man.  His one hope lay in eluding him, and making
for the far distant camp of Achmet Zek as rapidly as he
could; but armed only with the sacrificial knife,
Werper shrank from attempting the journey through the
jungle.  Tarzan constituted a protection that was by no
means despicable, even in the face of the larger
carnivora, as Werper had reason to acknowledge from the
evidence he had witnessed in the Oparian temple.

Too, Werper had his covetous soul set upon the pouch of
gems, and so he was torn between the various emotions
of avarice and fear.  But avarice it was that burned
most strongly in his breast, to the end that he dared
the dangers and suffered the terrors of constant
association with him he thought a mad man, rather than
give up the hope of obtaining possession of the fortune
which the contents of the little pouch represented.

Achmet Zek should know nothing of these--these would be
for Werper alone, and so soon as he could encompass his
design he would reach the coast and take passage for
America, where he could conceal himself beneath the
veil of a new identity and enjoy to some measure the
fruits of his theft.  He had it all planned out, did
Lieutenant Albert Werper, living in anticipation the
luxurious life of the idle rich.  He even found himself
regretting that America was so provincial, and that
nowhere in the new world was a city that might compare
with his beloved Brussels.

It was upon the third day of their progress from Opar
that the keen ears of Tarzan caught the sound of men
behind them.  Werper heard nothing above the humming of
the jungle insects, and the chattering life of the
lesser monkeys and the birds.

For a time Tarzan stood in statuesque silence,
listening, his sensitive nostrils dilating as he
assayed each passing breeze.  Then he withdrew Werper
into the concealment of thick brush, and waited.
Presently, along the game trail that Werper and Tarzan
had been following, there came in sight a sleek,
black warrior, alert and watchful.

In single file behind him, there followed, one after
another, near fifty others, each burdened with two
dull-yellow ingots lashed upon his back.  Werper
recognized the party immediately as that which had
accompanied Tarzan on his journey to Opar.  He glanced
at the ape-man; but in the savage, watchful eyes he saw
no recognition of Basuli and those other loyal Waziri.

When all had passed, Tarzan rose and emerged from
concealment.  He looked down the trail in the direction
the party had gone.  Then he turned to Werper.

"We will follow and slay them," he said.

"Why?" asked the Belgian.

"They are black," explained Tarzan.  "It was a black
who killed Kala.  They are the enemies of the
Manganis."

Werper did not relish the idea of engaging in a battle
with Basuli and his fierce fighting men.  And, again,
he had welcomed the sight of them returning toward the
Greystoke bungalow, for he had begun to have doubts as
to his ability to retrace his steps to the Waziri
country.  Tarzan, he knew, had not the remotest idea of
whither they were going.  By keeping at a safe distance
behind the laden warriors, they would have no
difficulty in following them home.  Once at the
bungalow, Werper knew the way to the camp of Achmet
Zek.  There was still another reason why he did not
wish to interfere with the Waziri--they were bearing
the great burden of treasure in the direction he wished
it borne.  The farther they took it, the less the
distance that he and Achmet Zek would have to transport it.

He argued with the ape-man therefore, against the
latter's desire to exterminate the blacks, and at last
he prevailed upon Tarzan to follow them in peace,
saying that he was sure they would lead them out of the
forest into a rich country, teeming with game.

It was many marches from Opar to the Waziri country;
but at last came the hour when Tarzan and the Belgian,
following the trail of the warriors, topped the last
rise, and saw before them the broad Waziri plain, the
winding river, and the distant forests to the north and
west.

A mile or more ahead of them, the line of warriors was
creeping like a giant caterpillar through the tall
grasses of the plain.  Beyond, grazing herds of zebra,
hartebeest, and topi dotted the level landscape, while
closer to the river a bull buffalo, his head and
shoulders protruding from the reeds watched the
advancing blacks for a moment, only to turn at last and
disappear into the safety of his dank and gloomy
retreat.

Tarzan looked out across the familiar vista with no
faintest gleam of recognition in his eyes.  He saw the
game animals, and his mouth watered; but he did not
look in the direction of his bungalow.  Werper,
however, did.  A puzzled expression entered the
Belgian's eyes.  He shaded them with his palms and
gazed long and earnestly toward the spot where the
bungalow had stood.  He could not credit the testimony
of his eyes--there was no bungalow--no barns--no
out- houses.  The corrals, the hay stacks--all were gone.
What could it mean?

And then, slowly there filtered into Werper's
consciousness an explanation of the havoc that had been
wrought in that peaceful valley since last his eyes had
rested upon it--Achmet Zek had been there!

Basuli and his warriors had noted the devastation the
moment they had come in sight of the farm.  Now they
hastened on toward it talking excitedly among
themselves in animated speculation upon the cause and
meaning of the catastrophe.

When, at last they crossed the trampled garden and
stood before the charred ruins of their master's
bungalow, their greatest fears became convictions in
the light of the evidence about them.

Remnants of human dead, half devoured by prowling
hyenas and others of the carnivora which infested the
region, lay rotting upon the ground, and among the
corpses remained sufficient remnants of their clothing
and ornaments to make clear to Basuli the frightful
story of the disaster that had befallen his master's
house.

"The Arabs," he said, as his men clustered about him.

The Waziri gazed about in mute rage for several
minutes.  Everywhere they encountered only further
evidence of the ruthlessness of the cruel enemy that
had come during the Great Bwana's absence and laid
waste his property.

"What did they with 'Lady'?" asked one of the blacks.

They had always called Lady Greystoke thus.

"The women they would have taken with them," said
Basuli.  "Our women and his."

A giant black raised his spear above his head, and gave
voice to a savage cry of rage and hate.  The others
followed his example.  Basuli silenced them with a gesture.

"This is no time for useless noises of the mouth," he
said.  "The Great Bwana has taught us that it is acts
by which things are done, not words.  Let us save our
breath--we shall need it all to follow up the Arabs and
slay them.  If 'Lady' and our women live the greater
the need of haste, and warriors cannot travel fast upon
empty lungs."

From the shelter of the reeds along the river, Werper
and Tarzan watched the blacks.  They saw them dig a
trench with their knives and fingers.  They saw them
lay their yellow burdens in it and scoop the overturned
earth back over the tops of the ingots.

Tarzan seemed little interested, after Werper had
assured him that that which they buried was not good to
eat; but Werper was intensely interested.  He would
have given much had he had his own followers with him,
that he might take away the treasure as soon as the
blacks left, for he was sure that they would leave this
scene of desolation and death as soon as possible.

The treasure buried, the blacks removed themselves a
short distance up wind from the fetid corpses, where
they made camp, that they might rest before setting out
in pursuit of the Arabs.  It was already dusk.  Werper
and Tarzan sat devouring some pieces of meat they had
brought from their last camp.  The Belgian was occupied
with his plans for the immediate future.  He was
positive that the Waziri would pursue Achmet Zek,
for he knew enough of savage warfare, and of the
characteristics of the Arabs and their degraded
followers to guess that they had carried the Waziri
women off into slavery.  This alone would assure
immediate pursuit by so warlike a people as the Waziri.

Werper felt that he should find the means and the
opportunity to push on ahead, that he might warn Achmet
Zek of the coming of Basuli, and also of the location
of the buried treasure.  What the Arab would now do
with Lady Greystoke, in view of the mental affliction
of her husband, Werper neither knew nor cared.  It was
enough that the golden treasure buried upon the site of
the burned bungalow was infinitely more valuable than
any ransom that would have occurred even to the
avaricious mind of the Arab, and if Werper could
persuade the raider to share even a portion of it with
him he would be well satisfied.

But by far the most important consideration, to Werper,
at least, was the incalculably valuable treasure in the
little leathern pouch at Tarzan's side.  If he could
but obtain possession of this!  He must!  He would!

His eyes wandered to the object of his greed.
They measured Tarzan's giant frame, and rested upon
the rounded muscles of his arms.  It was hopeless.
What could he, Werper, hope to accomplish, other than his
own death, by an attempt to wrest the gems from their
savage owner?

Disconsolate, Werper threw himself upon his side.
His head was pillowed on one arm, the other rested across
his face in such a way that his eyes were hidden from
the ape-man, though one of them was fastened upon him
from beneath the shadow of the Belgian's forearm.
For a time he lay thus, glowering at Tarzan, and
originating schemes for plundering him of his treasure--
schemes that were discarded as futile as rapidly as
they were born.

Tarzan presently let his own eyes rest upon Werper.
The Belgian saw that he was being watched, and lay very
still.  After a few moments he simulated the regular
breathing of deep slumber.

Tarzan had been thinking.  He had seen the Waziri bury
their belongings.  Werper had told him that they were
hiding them lest some one find them and take them away.
This seemed to Tarzan a splendid plan for safeguarding
valuables.  Since Werper had evinced a desire to
possess his glittering pebbles, Tarzan, with the
suspicions of a savage, had guarded the baubles, of
whose worth he was entirely ignorant, as zealously as
though they spelled life or death to him.

For a long time the ape-man sat watching his companion.
At last, convinced that he slept, Tarzan withdrew his
hunting knife and commenced to dig a hole in the ground
before him.  With the blade he loosened up the earth,
and with his hands he scooped it out until he had
excavated a little cavity a few inches in diameter, and
five or six inches in depth.  Into this he placed the
pouch of jewels.  Werper almost forgot to breathe after
the fashion of a sleeper as he saw what the ape-man was
doing--he scarce repressed an ejaculation of
satisfaction.

Tarzan become suddenly rigid as his keen ears noted the
cessation of the regular inspirations and expirations
of his companion.  His narrowed eyes bored straight
down upon the Belgian.  Werper felt that he was lost--
he must risk all on his ability to carry on the
deception.  He sighed, threw both arms outward, and
turned over on his back mumbling as though in the
throes of a bad dream.  A moment later he resumed the
regular breathing.

Now he could not watch Tarzan, but he was sure that the
man sat for a long time looking at him.  Then, faintly,
Werper heard the other's hands scraping dirt, and later
patting it down.  He knew then that the jewels were
buried.

It was an hour before Werper moved again, then he
rolled over facing Tarzan and opened his eyes.  The
ape-man slept.  By reaching out his hand Werper could
touch the spot where the pouch was buried.

For a long time he lay watching and listening.
He moved about, making more noise than necessary,
yet Tarzan did not awaken.  He drew the sacrificial knife
from his belt, and plunged it into the ground.
Tarzan did not move.  Cautiously the Belgian pushed the
blade downward through the loose earth above the pouch.
He felt the point touch the soft, tough fabric of the
leather.  Then he pried down upon the handle.
Slowly the little mound of loose earth rose and parted.
An instant later a corner of the pouch came into view.
Werper pulled it from its hiding place, and tucked it
in his shirt.  Then he refilled the hole and pressed
the dirt carefully down as it had been before.

Greed had prompted him to an act, the discovery of
which by his companion could lead only to the most
frightful consequences for Werper.  Already he could
almost feel those strong, white fangs burying
themselves in his neck.  He shuddered.  Far out across
the plain a leopard screamed, and in the dense reeds
behind him some great beast moved on padded feet.

Werper feared these prowlers of the night; but
infinitely more he feared the just wrath of the human
beast sleeping at his side.  With utmost caution the
Belgian arose.  Tarzan did not move.  Werper took a few
steps toward the plain and the distant forest to the
northwest, then he paused and fingered the hilt of the
long knife in his belt.  He turned and looked down upon
the sleeper.

"Why not?" he mused.  "Then I should be safe."

He returned and bent above the ape-man.  Clutched
tightly in his hand was the sacrificial knife of the
High Priestess of the Flaming God!



10

Achmet Zek Sees the Jewels


Mugambi, weak and suffering, had dragged his painful
way along the trail of the retreating raiders.
He could move but slowly, resting often; but savage hatred
and an equally savage desire for vengeance kept him to
his task.  As the days passed his wounds healed and his
strength returned, until at last his giant frame had
regained all of its former mighty powers.  Now he went
more rapidly; but the mounted Arabs had covered a great
distance while the wounded black had been painfully
crawling after them.

They had reached their fortified camp, and there Achmet
Zek awaited the return of his lieutenant, Albert
Werper.  During the long, rough journey, Jane Clayton
had suffered more in anticipation of her impending fate
than from the hardships of the road.

Achmet Zek had not deigned to acquaint her with his
intentions regarding her future.  She prayed that she
had been captured in the hope of ransom, for if such
should prove the case, no great harm would befall her
at the hands of the Arabs; but there was the chance,
the horrid chance, that another fate awaited her.
She had heard of many women, among whom were white women,
who had been sold by outlaws such as Achmet Zek into
the slavery of black harems, or taken farther north
into the almost equally hideous existence of some
Turkish seraglio.

Jane Clayton was of sterner stuff than that which bends
in spineless terror before danger.  Until hope proved
futile she would not give it up; nor did she entertain
thoughts of self-destruction only as a final escape
from dishonor.  So long as Tarzan lived there was every
reason to expect succor.  No man nor beast who roamed
the savage continent could boast the cunning and the
powers of her lord and master.  To her, he was little
short of omnipotent in his native world--this world of
savage beasts and savage men.  Tarzan would come, and
she would be rescued and avenged, of that she was
certain.  She counted the days that must elapse before
he would return from Opar and discover what had
transpired during his absence.  After that it would be
but a short time before he had surrounded the Arab
stronghold and punished the motley crew of wrongdoers
who inhabited it.

That he could find her she had no slightest doubt.
No spoor, however faint, could elude the keen vigilance
of his senses.  To him, the trail of the raiders would be
as plain as the printed page of an open book to her.

And while she hoped, there came through the dark jungle
another.  Terrified by night and by day, came Albert
Werper.  A dozen times he had escaped the claws and
fangs of the giant carnivora only by what seemed a
miracle to him.  Armed with nothing more than the knife
he had brought with him from Opar, he had made his way
through as savage a country as yet exists upon the face
of the globe.

By night he had slept in trees.  By day he had stumbled
fearfully on, often taking refuge among the branches
when sight or sound of some great cat warned him from
danger.  But at last he had come within sight of the
palisade behind which were his fierce companions.

At almost the same time Mugambi came out of the jungle
before the walled village.  As he stood in the shadow
of a great tree, reconnoitering, he saw a man, ragged
and disheveled, emerge from the jungle almost at his
elbow.  Instantly he recognized the newcomer as he who
had been a guest of his master before the latter had
departed for Opar.

The black was upon the point of hailing the Belgian
when something stayed him.  He saw the white man
walking confidently across the clearing toward the
village gate.  No sane man thus approached a village in
this part of Africa unless he was sure of a friendly
welcome.  Mugambi waited.  His suspicions were aroused.

He heard Werper halloo; he saw the gates swing open,
and he witnessed the surprised and friendly welcome
that was accorded the erstwhile guest of Lord and Lady
Greystoke.  A light broke upon the understanding of
Mugambi.  This white man had been a traitor and a spy.
It was to him they owed the raid during the absence of
the Great Bwana.  To his hate for the Arabs, Mugambi
added a still greater hate for the white spy.

Within the village Werper passed hurriedly toward the
silken tent of Achmet Zek.  The Arab arose as his
lieutenant entered.  His face showed surprise as he
viewed the tattered apparel of the Belgian.

"What has happened?" he asked.

Werper narrated all, save the little matter of the
pouch of gems which were now tightly strapped about his
waist, beneath his clothing.  The Arab's eyes narrowed
greedily as his henchman described the treasure that
the Waziri had buried beside the ruins of the Greystoke
bungalow.

"It will be a simple matter now to return and get it,"
said Achmet Zek.  "First we will await the coming of
the rash Waziri, and after we have slain them we may
take our time to the treasure--none will disturb it
where it lies, for we shall leave none alive who knows
of its existence.

"And the woman?" asked Werper.

"I shall sell her in the north," replied the raider.
"It is the only way, now.  She should bring a good
price."

The Belgian nodded.  He was thinking rapidly.  If he
could persuade Achmet Zek to send him in command of the
party which took Lady Greystoke north it would give him
the opportunity he craved to make his escape from his
chief.  He would forego a share of the gold, if he
could but get away unscathed with the jewels.

He knew Achmet Zek well enough by this time to know
that no member of his band ever was voluntarily
released from the service of Achmet Zek.  Most of the
few who deserted were recaptured.  More than once had
Werper listened to their agonized screams as they were
tortured before being put to death.  The Belgian had no
wish to take the slightest chance of recapture.

"Who will go north with the woman," he asked, "while we
are returning for the gold that the Waziri buried by
the bungalow of the Englishman?"

Achmet Zek thought for a moment.  The buried gold was
of much greater value than the price the woman would
bring.  It was necessary to rid himself of her as
quickly as possible and it was also well to obtain the
gold with the least possible delay.  Of all his
followers, the Belgian was the most logical lieutenant
to intrust with the command of one of the parties.  An
Arab, as familiar with the trails and tribes as Achmet
Zek himself, might collect the woman's price and make
good his escape into the far north.  Werper, on the
other hand, could scarce make his escape alone through
a country hostile to Europeans while the men he would
send with the Belgian could be carefully selected with
a view to preventing Werper from persuading any
considerable portion of his command to accompany him
should he contemplate desertion of his chief.

At last the Arab spoke: "It is not necessary that we
both return for the gold.  You shall go north with the
woman, carrying a letter to a friend of mine who is
always in touch with the best markets for such
merchandise, while I return for the gold.  We can meet
again here when our business is concluded."

Werper could scarce disguise the joy with which he
received this welcome decision.  And that he did
entirely disguise it from the keen and suspicious eyes
of Achmet Zek is open to question.  However, the
decision reached, the Arab and his lieutenant discussed
the details of their forthcoming ventures for a short
time further, when Werper made his excuses and returned
to his own tent for the comforts and luxury of a
long-desired bath and shave.

Having bathed, the Belgian tied a small hand mirror to
a cord sewn to the rear wall of his tent, placed a rude
chair beside an equally rude table that stood beside
the glass, and proceeded to remove the rough stubble
from his face.

In the catalog of masculine pleasures there is scarce
one which imparts a feeling of greater comfort and
refreshment than follows a clean shave, and now, with
weariness temporarily banished, Albert Werper sprawled
in his rickety chair to enjoy a final cigaret before
retiring.  His thumbs, tucked in his belt in lazy
support of the weight of his arms, touched the belt
which held the jewel pouch about his waist.  He tingled
with excitement as he let his mind dwell upon the value
of the treasure, which, unknown to all save himself,
lay hidden beneath his clothing.

What would Achmet Zek say, if he knew?  Werper grinned.
How the old rascal's eyes would pop could he but have a
glimpse of those scintillating beauties!  Werper had
never yet had an opportunity to feast his eyes for any
great length of time upon them.  He had not even
counted them--only roughly had he guessed at their
value.

He unfastened the belt and drew the pouch from its
hiding place.  He was alone.  The balance of the camp,
save the sentries, had retired--none would enter the
Belgian's tent.  He fingered the pouch, feeling out the
shapes and sizes of the precious, little nodules
within.  He hefted the bag, first in one palm, then in
the other, and at last he wheeled his chair slowly
around before the table, and in the rays of his small
lamp let the glittering gems roll out upon the rough
wood.

The refulgent rays transformed the interior of the
soiled and squalid canvas to the splendor of a palace
in the eyes of the dreaming man.  He saw the gilded
halls of pleasure that would open their portals to the
possessor of the wealth which lay scattered upon this
stained and dented table top.  He dreamed of joys and
luxuries and power which always had been beyond his
grasp, and as he dreamed his gaze lifted from the
table, as the gaze of a dreamer will, to a far distant
goal above the mean horizon of terrestrial
commonplaceness.

Unseeing, his eyes rested upon the shaving mirror which
still hung upon the tent wall above the table; but his
sight was focused far beyond.  And then a reflection
moved within the polished surface of the tiny glass,
the man's eyes shot back out of space to the mirror's
face, and in it he saw reflected the grim visage of
Achmet Zek, framed in the flaps of the tent doorway
behind him.

Werper stifled a gasp of dismay.  With rare
self-possession he let his gaze drop, without appearing
to have halted upon the mirror until it rested again upon
the gems.  Without haste, he replaced them in the
pouch, tucked the latter into his shirt, selected a
cigaret from his case, lighted it and rose.  Yawning,
and stretching his arms above his head, he turned
slowly toward the opposite end of the tent.  The face
of Achmet Zek had disappeared from the opening.

To say that Albert Werper was terrified would be
putting it mildly.  He realized that he not only had
sacrificed his treasure; but his life as well.
Achmet Zek would never permit the wealth that he had
discovered to slip through his fingers, nor would he
forgive the duplicity of a lieutenant who had gained
possession of such a treasure without offering to share
it with his chief.

Slowly the Belgian prepared for bed.  If he were being
watched, he could not know; but if so the watcher saw
no indication of the nervous excitement which the
European strove to conceal.  When ready for his
blankets, the man crossed to the little table and
extinguished the light.

It was two hours later that the flaps at the front of
the tent separated silently and gave entrance to a
dark-robed figure, which passed noiselessly from the
darkness without to the darkness within.  Cautiously
the prowler crossed the interior.  In one hand was a
long knife.  He came at last to the pile of blankets
spread upon several rugs close to one of the tent
walls.

Lightly, his fingers sought and found the bulk beneath
the blankets--the bulk that should be Albert Werper.
They traced out the figure of a man, and then an arm
shot upward, poised for an instant and descended.
Again and again it rose and fell, and each time the
long blade of the knife buried itself in the thing
beneath the blankets.  But there was an initial
lifelessness in the silent bulk that gave the assassin
momentary wonder.  Feverishly he threw back the
coverlets, and searched with nervous hands for the
pouch of jewels which he expected to find concealed
upon his victim's body.

An instant later he rose with a curse upon his lips.
It was Achmet Zek, and he cursed because he had
discovered beneath the blankets of his lieutenant only
a pile of discarded clothing arranged in the form and
semblance of a sleeping man--Albert Werper had fled.

Out into the village ran the chief, calling in angry
tones to the sleepy Arabs, who tumbled from their tents
in answer to his voice.  But though they searched the
village again and again they found no trace of the
Belgian.  Foaming with anger, Achmet Zek called his
followers to horse, and though the night was pitchy
black they set out to scour the adjoining forest for
their quarry.

As they galloped from the open gates, Mugambi, hiding
in a nearby bush, slipped, unseen, within the palisade.
A score of blacks crowded about the entrance to watch
the searchers depart, and as the last of them passed
out of the village the blacks seized the portals and
drew them to, and Mugambi lent a hand in the work as
though the best of his life had been spent among the
raiders.

In the darkness he passed, unchallenged, as one of
their number, and as they returned from the gates to
their respective tents and huts, Mugambi melted into
the shadows and disappeared.

For an hour he crept about in the rear of the various
huts and tents in an effort to locate that in which his
master's mate was imprisoned.  One there was which he
was reasonably assured contained her, for it was the
only hut before the door of which a sentry had been
posted.  Mugambi was crouching in the shadow of this
structure, just around the corner from the unsuspecting
guard, when another approached to relieve his comrade.

"The prisoner is safe within?" asked the newcomer.

"She is," replied the other, "for none has passed this
doorway since I came."

The new sentry squatted beside the door, while he whom
he had relieved made his way to his own hut.  Mugambi
slunk closer to the corner of the building.  In one
powerful hand he gripped a heavy knob-stick.  No sign
of elation disturbed his phlegmatic calm, yet inwardly
he was aroused to joy by the proof he had just heard
that "Lady" really was within.

The sentry's back was toward the corner of the hut
which hid the giant black.  The fellow did not see the
huge form which silently loomed behind him.  The
knob-stick swung upward in a curve, and downward again.
There was the sound of a dull thud, the crushing of
heavy bone, and the sentry slumped into a silent,
inanimate lump of clay.

A moment later Mugambi was searching the interior of
the hut.  At first slowly, calling, "Lady!" in a low
whisper, and finally with almost frantic haste, until
the truth presently dawned upon him--the hut was empty!



11

Tarzan Becomes a Beast Again


For a moment Werper had stood above the sleeping ape-man,
his murderous knife poised for the fatal thrust;
but fear stayed his hand.  What if the first blow
should fail to drive the point to his victim's heart?
Werper shuddered in contemplation of the disastrous
consequences to himself.  Awakened, and even with a few
moments of life remaining, the giant could literally
tear his assailant to pieces should he choose, and the
Belgian had no doubt but that Tarzan would so choose.

Again came the soft sound of padded footsteps in the
reeds--closer this time.  Werper abandoned his design.
Before him stretched the wide plain and escape.
The jewels were in his possession.  To remain longer was to
risk death at the hands of Tarzan, or the jaws of the
hunter creeping ever nearer.  Turning, he slunk away
through the night, toward the distant forest.

Tarzan slept on.  Where were those uncanny, guardian
powers that had formerly rendered him immune from the
dangers of surprise?  Could this dull sleeper be the
alert, sensitive Tarzan of old?

Perhaps the blow upon his head had numbed his senses,
temporarily--who may say?  Closer crept the stealthy
creature through the reeds.  The rustling curtain of
vegetation parted a few paces from where the sleeper
lay, and the massive head of a lion appeared.  The
beast surveyed the ape-man intently for a moment, then
he crouched, his hind feet drawn well beneath him, his
tail lashing from side to side.

It was the beating of the beast's tail against the
reeds which awakened Tarzan.  Jungle folk do not awaken
slowly--instantly, full consciousness and full command
of their every faculty returns to them from the depth
of profound slumber.

Even as Tarzan opened his eyes he was upon his feet,
his spear grasped firmly in his hand and ready for
attack.  Again was he Tarzan of the Apes, sentient,
vigilant, ready.

No two lions have identical characteristics, nor does
the same lion invariably act similarly under like
circumstances.  Whether it was surprise, fear or
caution which prompted the lion crouching ready to
spring upon the man, is immaterial--the fact remains
that he did not carry out his original design, he did
not spring at the man at all, but, instead, wheeled and
sprang back into the reeds as Tarzan arose and
confronted him.

The ape-man shrugged his broad shoulders and looked
about for his companion.  Werper was nowhere to be
seen.  At first Tarzan suspected that the man had been
seized and dragged off by another lion, but upon
examination of the ground he soon discovered that the
Belgian had gone away alone out into the plain.

For a moment he was puzzled; but presently came to the
conclusion that Werper had been frightened by the
approach of the lion, and had sneaked off in terror.
A sneer touched Tarzan's lips as he pondered the man's
act--the desertion of a comrade in time of danger, and
without warning.  Well, if that was the sort of
creature Werper was, Tarzan wished nothing more of him.
He had gone, and for all the ape-man cared, he might
remain away--Tarzan would not search for him.

A hundred yards from where he stood grew a large tree,
alone upon the edge of the reedy jungle.  Tarzan made
his way to it, clambered into it, and finding a
comfortable crotch among its branches, reposed himself
for uninterrupted sleep until morning.

And when morning came Tarzan slept on long after the
sun had risen.  His mind, reverted to the primitive,
was untroubled by any more serious obligations than
those of providing sustenance, and safeguarding his life.
Therefore, there was nothing to awaken for until
danger threatened, or the pangs of hunger assailed.
It was the latter which eventually aroused him.

Opening his eyes, he stretched his giant thews, yawned,
rose and gazed about him through the leafy foliage of
his retreat.  Across the wasted meadowlands and fields
of John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, Tarzan of the Apes
looked, as a stranger, upon the moving figures of
Basuli and his braves as they prepared their morning
meal and made ready to set out upon the expedition
which Basuli had planned after discovering the havoc and
disaster which had befallen the estate of his dead master.

The ape-man eyed the blacks with curiosity.
In the back of his brain loitered a fleeting sense of
familiarity with all that he saw, yet he could not
connect any of the various forms of life, animate and
inanimate, which had fallen within the range of his
vision since he had emerged from the darkness of the
pits of Opar, with any particular event of the past.

Hazily he recalled a grim and hideous form, hairy,
ferocious.  A vague tenderness dominated his savage
sentiments as this phantom memory struggled for
recognition.  His mind had reverted to his childhood
days--it was the figure of the giant she-ape, Kala,
that he saw; but only half recognized.  He saw, too,
other grotesque, manlike forms.  They were of Terkoz,
Tublat, Kerchak, and a smaller, less ferocious figure,
that was Neeta, the little playmate of his boyhood.

Slowly, very slowly, as these visions of the past
animated his lethargic memory, he came to recognize
them.  They took definite shape and form, adjusting
themselves nicely to the various incidents of his life
with which they had been intimately connected.  His
boyhood among the apes spread itself in a slow panorama
before him, and as it unfolded it induced within him a
mighty longing for the companionship of the shaggy,
low-browed brutes of his past.

He watched the blacks scatter their cook fire and
depart; but though the face of each of them had but
recently been as familiar to him as his own, they
awakened within him no recollections whatsoever.

When they had gone, he descended from the tree and
sought food.  Out upon the plain grazed numerous herds
of wild ruminants.  Toward a sleek, fat bunch of zebra
he wormed his stealthy way.  No intricate process of
reasoning caused him to circle widely until he was down
wind from his prey--he acted instinctively.  He took
advantage of every form of cover as he crawled upon all
fours and often flat upon his stomach toward them.

A plump young mare and a fat stallion grazed nearest to
him as he neared the herd.  Again it was instinct which
selected the former for his meat.  A low bush grew but
a few yards from the unsuspecting two.  The ape-man
reached its shelter.  He gathered his spear firmly in
his grasp.  Cautiously he drew his feet beneath him.
In a single swift move he rose and cast his heavy
weapon at the mare's side.  Nor did he wait to note the
effect of his assault, but leaped cat-like after his
spear, his hunting knife in his hand.

For an instant the two animals stood motionless.
The tearing of the cruel barb into her side brought a
sudden scream of pain and fright from the mare, and
then they both wheeled and broke for safety; but Tarzan
of the Apes, for a distance of a few yards, could equal
the speed of even these, and the first stride of the
mare found her overhauled, with a savage beast at her
shoulder.  She turned, biting and kicking at her foe.
Her mate hesitated for an instant, as though about to
rush to her assistance; but a backward glance revealed
to him the flying heels of the balance of the herd, and
with a snort and a shake of his head he wheeled and
dashed away.

Clinging with one hand to the short mane of his quarry,
Tarzan struck again and again with his knife at the
unprotected heart.  The result had, from the first,
been inevitable.  The mare fought bravely, but
hopelessly, and presently sank to the earth, her heart
pierced.  The ape-man placed a foot upon her carcass
and raised his voice in the victory call of the
Mangani.  In the distance, Basuli halted as the faint
notes of the hideous scream broke upon his ears.

"The great apes," he said to his companion.  "It has
been long since I have heard them in the country of the
Waziri.  What could have brought them back?"

Tarzan grasped his kill and dragged it to the partial
seclusion of the bush which had hidden his own near
approach, and there he squatted upon it, cut a huge
hunk of flesh from the loin and proceeded to satisfy
his hunger with the warm and dripping meat.

Attracted by the shrill screams of the mare, a pair of
hyenas slunk presently into view.  They trotted to a
point a few yards from the gorging ape-man, and halted.
Tarzan looked up, bared his fighting fangs and growled.
The hyenas returned the compliment, and withdrew a
couple of paces.  They made no move to attack; but
continued to sit at a respectful distance until Tarzan
had concluded his meal.  After the ape-man had cut a
few strips from the carcass to carry with him, he
walked slowly off in the direction of the river to
quench his thirst.  His way lay directly toward the
hyenas, nor did he alter his course because of them.

With all the lordly majesty of Numa, the lion,
he strode straight toward the growling beasts.  For a
moment they held their ground, bristling and defiant;
but only for a moment, and then slunk away to one side
while the indifferent ape-man passed them on his lordly
way.  A moment later they were tearing at the remains
of the zebra.

Back to the reeds went Tarzan, and through them toward
the river.  A herd of buffalo, startled by his
approach, rose ready to charge or to fly.  A great bull
pawed the ground and bellowed as his bloodshot eyes
discovered the intruder; but the ape-man passed across
their front as though ignorant of their existence.
The bull's bellowing lessened to a low rumbling, he turned
and scraped a horde of flies from his side with his
muzzle, cast a final glance at the ape-man and resumed
his feeding.  His numerous family either followed his
example or stood gazing after Tarzan in mild-eyed
curiosity, until the opposite reeds swallowed him from
view.

At the river, Tarzan drank his fill and bathed.  During
the heat of the day he lay up under the shade of a tree
near the ruins of his burned barns.  His eyes wandered
out across the plain toward the forest, and a longing
for the pleasures of its mysterious depths possessed
his thoughts for a considerable time.  With the next
sun he would cross the open and enter the forest!  There
was no hurry--there lay before him an endless vista of
tomorrows with naught to fill them but the satisfying
of the appetites and caprices of the moment.

The ape-man's mind was untroubled by regret for the
past, or aspiration for the future.  He could lie at
full length along a swaying branch, stretching his
giant limbs, and luxuriating in the blessed peace of
utter thoughtlessness, without an apprehension or a
worry to sap his nervous energy and rob him of his
peace of mind.  Recalling only dimly any other
existence, the ape-man was happy.  Lord Greystoke had
ceased to exist.

For several hours Tarzan lolled upon his swaying, leafy
couch until once again hunger and thirst suggested an
excursion.  Stretching lazily he dropped to the ground
and moved slowly toward the river.  The game trail down
which he walked had become by ages of use a deep,
narrow trench, its walls topped on either side by
impenetrable thicket and dense-growing trees closely
interwoven with thick-stemmed creepers and lesser vines
inextricably matted into two solid ramparts of
vegetation.  Tarzan had almost reached the point where
the trail debouched upon the open river bottom when he
saw a family of lions approaching along the path from
the direction of the river.  The ape-man counted seven--
a male and two lionesses, full grown, and four young
lions as large and quite as formidable as their
parents.  Tarzan halted, growling, and the lions
paused, the great male in the lead baring his fangs and
rumbling forth a warning roar.  In his hand the ape-man
held his heavy spear; but he had no intention of
pitting his puny weapon against seven lions; yet he
stood there growling and roaring and the lions did
likewise.  It was purely an exhibition of jungle bluff.
Each was trying to frighten off the other.  Neither
wished to turn back and give way, nor did either at
first desire to precipitate an encounter.  The lions
were fed sufficiently so as not to be goaded by pangs
of hunger and as for Tarzan he seldom ate the meat of
the carnivores; but a point of ethics was at stake and
neither side wished to back down.  So they stood there
facing one another, making all sorts of hideous noises
the while they hurled jungle invective back and forth.
How long this bloodless duel would have persisted it is
difficult to say, though eventually Tarzan would have
been forced to yield to superior numbers.

There came, however, an interruption which put an end
to the deadlock and it came from Tarzan's rear.  He and
the lions had been making so much noise that neither
could hear anything above their concerted bedlam, and
so it was that Tarzan did not hear the great bulk
bearing down upon him from behind until an instant
before it was upon him, and then he turned to see Buto,
the rhinoceros, his little, pig eyes blazing, charging
madly toward him and already so close that escape
seemed impossible; yet so perfectly were mind and
muscles coordinated in this unspoiled, primitive man
that almost simultaneously with the sense perception of
the threatened danger he wheeled and hurled his spear
at Buto's chest.  It was a heavy spear shod with iron,
and behind it were the giant muscles of the ape-man,
while coming to meet it was the enormous weight of Buto
and the momentum of his rapid rush.  All that happened
in the instant that Tarzan turned to meet the charge of
the irascible rhinoceros might take long to tell, and
yet would have taxed the swiftest lens to record.
As his spear left his hand the ape-man was looking down
upon the mighty horn lowered to toss him, so close was
Buto to him.  The spear entered the rhinoceros' neck at
its junction with the left shoulder and passed almost
entirely through the beast's body, and at the instant
that he launched it, Tarzan leaped straight into the
air alighting upon Buto's back but escaping the mighty
horn.

Then Buto espied the lions and bore madly down upon
them while Tarzan of the Apes leaped nimbly into the
tangled creepers at one side of the trail.  The first
lion met Buto's charge and was tossed high over the
back of the maddened brute, torn and dying, and then
the six remaining lions were upon the rhinoceros,
rending and tearing the while they were being gored or
trampled.  From the safety of his perch Tarzan watched
the royal battle with the keenest interest, for the
more intelligent of the jungle folk are interested in
such encounters.  They are to them what the racetrack
and the prize ring, the theater and the movies are to
us. They see them often; but always they enjoy them for
no two are precisely alike.

For a time it seemed to Tarzan that Buto, the
rhinoceros, would prove victor in the gory battle.
Already had he accounted for four of the seven lions
and badly wounded the three remaining when in a
momentary lull in the encounter he sank limply to his
knees and rolled over upon his side.  Tarzan's spear
had done its work.  It was the man-made weapon which
killed the great beast that might easily have survived
the assault of seven mighty lions, for Tarzan's spear
had pierced the great lungs, and Buto, with victory
almost in sight, succumbed to internal hemorrhage.

Then Tarzan came down from his sanctuary and as the
wounded lions, growling, dragged themselves away, the
ape-man cut his spear from the body of Buto, hacked off
a steak and vanished into the jungle.  The episode was
over.  It had been all in the day's work--something
which you and I might talk about for a lifetime Tarzan
dismissed from his mind the moment that the scene
passed from his sight.



12

La Seeks Vengeance


Swinging back through the jungle in a wide circle the
ape-man came to the river at another point, drank and
took to the trees again and while he hunted, all
oblivious of his past and careless of his future, there
came through the dark jungles and the open, parklike
places and across the wide meadows, where grazed the
countless herbivora of the mysterious continent, a
weird and terrible caravan in search of him.  There
were fifty frightful men with hairy bodies and gnarled
and crooked legs.  They were armed with knives and
great bludgeons and at their head marched an almost
naked woman, beautiful beyond compare.  It was La of
Opar, High Priestess of the Flaming God, and fifty of
her horrid priests searching for the purloiner of the
sacred sacrificial knife.

Never before had La passed beyond the crumbling outer
walls of Opar; but never before had need been so
insistent.  The sacred knife was gone!  Handed down
through countless ages it had come to her as a heritage
and an insignia of her religious office and regal
authority from some long-dead progenitor of lost and
forgotten Atlantis.  The loss of the crown jewels or
the Great Seal of England could have brought no greater
consternation to a British king than did the pilfering
of the sacred knife bring to La, the Oparian, Queen and
High Priestess of the degraded remnants of the oldest
civilization upon earth.  When Atlantis, with all her
mighty cities and her cultivated fields and her great
commerce and culture and riches sank into the sea long
ages since, she took with her all but a handful of her
colonists working the vast gold mines of Central
Africa.  From these and their degraded slaves and a
later intermixture of the blood of the anthropoids
sprung the gnarled men of Opar; but by some queer freak
of fate, aided by natural selection, the old Atlantean
strain had remained pure and undegraded in the females
descended from a single princess of the royal house of
Atlantis who had been in Opar at the time of the great
catastrophe.  Such was La.

Burning with white-hot anger was the High Priestess,
her heart a seething, molten mass of hatred for Tarzan
of the Apes.  The zeal of the religious fanatic whose
altar has been desecrated was triply enhanced by the
rage of a woman scorned.  Twice had she thrown her
heart at the feet of the godlike ape-man and twice had
she been repulsed.  La knew that she was beautiful--and
she was beautiful, not by the standards of prehistoric
Atlantis alone, but by those of modern times was La
physically a creature of perfection.  Before Tarzan
came that first time to Opar, La had never seen a human
male other than the grotesque and knotted men of her
clan.  With one of these she must mate sooner or later
that the direct line of high priestesses might not be
broken, unless Fate should bring other men to Opar.
Before Tarzan came upon his first visit, La had had no
thought that such men as he existed, for she knew only
her hideous little priests and the bulls of the tribe
of great anthropoids that had dwelt from time
immemorial in and about Opar, until they had come to be
looked upon almost as equals by the Oparians.  Among
the legends of Opar were tales of godlike men of the
olden time and of black men who had come more recently;
but these latter had been enemies who killed and
robbed.  And, too, these legends always held forth the
hope that some day that nameless continent from which
their race had sprung, would rise once more out of the
sea and with slaves at the long sweeps would send her
carven, gold-picked galleys forth to succor the
long-exiled colonists.

The coming of Tarzan had aroused within La's breast the
wild hope that at last the fulfillment of this ancient
prophecy was at hand; but more strongly still had it
aroused the hot fires of love in a heart that never
otherwise would have known the meaning of that
all-consuming passion, for such a wondrous creature as
La could never have felt love for any of the repulsive
priests of Opar.  Custom, duty and religious zeal might
have commanded the union; but there could have been no
love on La's part.  She had grown to young womanhood a
cold and heartless creature, daughter of a thousand
other cold, heartless, beautiful women who had never
known love.  And so when love came to her it liberated
all the pent passions of a thousand generations,
transforming La into a pulsing, throbbing volcano of
desire, and with desire thwarted this great force of
love and gentleness and sacrifice was transmuted by its
own fires into one of hatred and revenge.

It was in a state of mind superinduced by these
conditions that La led forth her jabbering company to
retrieve the sacred emblem of her high office and wreak
vengeance upon the author of her wrongs.  To Werper she
gave little thought.  The fact that the knife had been
in his hand when it departed from Opar brought down no
thoughts of vengeance upon his head.  Of course, he
should be slain when captured; but his death would give
La no pleasure--she looked for that in the contemplated
death agonies of Tarzan.  He should be tortured.
His should be a slow and frightful death.  His punishment
should be adequate to the immensity of his crime.
He had wrested the sacred knife from La; he had lain
sacreligious hands upon the High Priestess of the
Flaming God; he had desecrated the altar and the
temple.  For these things he should die; but he had
scorned the love of La, the woman, and for this he
should die horribly with great anguish.

The march of La and her priests was not without its
adventures.  Unused were these to the ways of the
jungle, since seldom did any venture forth from behind
Opar's crumbling walls, yet their very numbers
protected them and so they came without fatalities far
along the trail of Tarzan and Werper.  Three great apes
accompanied them and to these was delegated the
business of tracking the quarry, a feat beyond the
senses of the Oparians.  La commanded.  She arranged
the order of march, she selected the camps, she set the
hour for halting and the hour for resuming and though
she was inexperienced in such matters, her native
intelligence was so far above that of the men or the
apes that she did better than they could have done.
She was a hard taskmaster, too, for she looked down
with loathing and contempt upon the misshapen creatures
amongst which cruel Fate had thrown her and to some
extent vented upon them her dissatisfaction and her
thwarted love.  She made them build her a strong
protection and shelter each night and keep a great fire
burning before it from dusk to dawn.  When she tired of
walking they were forced to carry her upon an
improvised litter, nor did one dare to question her
authority or her right to such services.  In fact they
did not question either.  To them she was a goddess and
each loved her and each hoped that he would be chosen
as her mate, so they slaved for her and bore the
stinging lash of her displeasure and the habitually
haughty disdain of her manner without a murmur.

For many days they marched, the apes following the
trail easily and going a little distance ahead of the
body of the caravan that they might warn the others of
impending danger.  It was during a noonday halt while
all were lying resting after a tiresome march that one
of the apes rose suddenly and sniffed the breeze.  In a
low guttural he cautioned the others to silence and a
moment later was swinging quietly up wind into the
jungle.  La and the priests gathered silently together,
the hideous little men fingering their knives and
bludgeons, and awaited the return of the shaggy
anthropoid.

Nor had they long to wait before they saw him emerge
from a leafy thicket and approach them.  Straight to La
he came and in the language of the great apes which was
also the language of decadent Opar he addressed her.

"The great Tarmangani lies asleep there," he said,
pointing in the direction from which he had just come.
"Come and we can kill him."

"Do not kill him," commanded La in cold tones.
"Bring the great Tarmangani to me alive and unhurt.
The vengeance is La's.  Go; but make no sound!" and she
waved her hands to include all her followers.

Cautiously the weird party crept through the jungle in
the wake of the great ape until at last he halted them
with a raised hand and pointed upward and a little
ahead.  There they saw the giant form of the ape-man
stretched along a low bough and even in sleep one hand
grasped a stout limb and one strong, brown leg reached
out and overlapped another.  At ease lay Tarzan of the
Apes, sleeping heavily upon a full stomach and dreaming
of Numa, the lion, and Horta, the boar, and other
creatures of the jungle.  No intimation of danger
assailed the dormant faculties of the ape-man--he saw
no crouching hairy figures upon the ground beneath him
nor the three apes that swung quietly into the  tree
beside him.

The first intimation of danger that came to Tarzan was
the impact of three bodies as the three apes leaped
upon him and hurled him to the ground, where he
alighted half stunned beneath their combined weight and
was immediately set upon by the fifty hairy men or as
many of them as could swarm upon his person.  Instantly
the ape-man became the center of a whirling, striking,
biting maelstrom of horror.  He fought nobly but the
odds against him were too great.  Slowly they overcame
him though there was scarce one of them that did not
feel the weight of his mighty fist or the rending of
his fangs.



13

Condemned To Torture and Death


La had followed her company and when she saw them
clawing and biting at Tarzan, she raised her voice and
cautioned them not to kill him.  She saw that he was
weakening and that soon the greater numbers would
prevail over him, nor had she long to wait before the
mighty jungle creature lay helpless and bound at her
feet.

"Bring him to the place at which we stopped," she
commanded and they carried Tarzan back to the little
clearing and threw him down beneath a tree.

"Build me a shelter!" ordered La.  "We shall stop here
tonight and tomorrow in the face of the Flaming God, La
will offer up the heart of this defiler of the temple.
Where is the sacred knife?  Who took it from him?"

But no one had seen it and each was positive in his
assurance that the sacrificial weapon had not been upon
Tarzan's person when they captured him.  The ape-man
looked upon the menacing creatures which surrounded him
and snarled his defiance.  He looked upon La and
smiled.  In the face of death he was unafraid.

"Where is the knife?" La asked him.

"I do not know," replied Tarzan.  "The man took it with
him when he slipped away during the night.  Since you
are so desirous for its return I would look for him and
get it back for you, did you not hold me prisoner; but
now that I am to die I cannot get it back.  Of what
good was your knife, anyway?  You can make another.
Did you follow us all this way for nothing more than a
knife?  Let me go and find him and I will bring it back
to you."

La laughed a bitter laugh, for in her heart she knew
that Tarzan's sin was greater than the purloining of
the sacrificial knife of Opar; yet as she looked at him
lying bound and helpless before her, tears rose to her
eyes so that she had to turn away to hide them; but she
remained inflexible in her determination to make him
pay in frightful suffering and in eventual death for
daring to spurn the love of La.

When the shelter was completed La had Tarzan
transferred to it.  "All night I shall torture him,"
she muttered to her priests, "and at the first streak
of dawn you may prepare the flaming altar upon which
his heart shall be offered up to the Flaming God.
Gather wood well filled with pitch, lay it in the form
and size of the altar at Opar in the center of the
clearing that the Flaming God may look down upon our
handiwork and be pleased."

During the balance of the day the priests of Opar were
busy erecting an altar in the center of the clearing,
and while they worked they chanted weird hymns in the
ancient tongue of that lost continent that lies at the
bottom of the Atlantic.  They knew not the meanings of
the words they mouthed; they but repeated the ritual
that had been handed down from preceptor to neophyte
since that long-gone day when the ancestors of the
Piltdown man still swung by their tails in the humid
jungles that are England now.

And in the shelter of the hut, La paced to and fro
beside the stoic ape-man.  Resigned to his fate was
Tarzan.  No hope of succor gleamed through the dead
black of the death sentence hanging over him.  He knew
that his giant muscles could not part the many strands
that bound his wrists and ankles, for he had strained
often, but ineffectually for release.  He had no hope
of outside help and only enemies surrounded him within
the camp, and yet he smiled at La as she paced
nervously back and forth the length of the shelter.

And La?  She fingered her knife and looked down upon her
captive.  She glared and muttered but she did not
strike.  "Tonight!" she thought.  "Tonight, when it is
dark I will torture him." She looked upon his perfect,
godlike figure and upon his handsome, smiling face and
then she steeled her heart again by thoughts of her
love spurned; by religious thoughts that damned the
infidel who had desecrated the holy of holies; who had
taken from the blood-stained altar of Opar the offering
to the Flaming God--and not once but thrice.
Three times had Tarzan cheated the god of her fathers.
At the thought La paused and knelt at his side.  In her
hand was a sharp knife.  She placed its point against
the ape-man's side and pressed upon the hilt; but
Tarzan only smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

How beautiful he was!  La bent low over him, looking
into his eyes.  How perfect was his figure.  She
compared it with those of the knurled and knotted men
from whom she must choose a mate, and La shuddered at
the thought.  Dusk came and after dusk came night.
A great fire blazed within the little thorn boma about
the camp.  The flames played upon the new altar erected
in the center of the clearing, arousing in the mind of
the High Priestess of the Flaming God a picture of the
event of the coming dawn.  She saw this giant and
perfect form writhing amid the flames of the burning
pyre.  She saw those smiling lips, burned and
blackened, falling away from the strong, white teeth.
She saw the shock of black hair tousled upon Tarzan's
well-shaped head disappear in a spurt of flame.  She
saw these and many other frightful pictures as she
stood with closed eyes and clenched fists above the
object of her hate--ah! was it hate that La of Opar
felt?

The darkness of the jungle night had settled down upon
the camp, relieved only by the fitful flarings of the
fire that was kept up to warn off the man-eaters.
Tarzan lay quietly in his bonds.  He suffered from
thirst and from the cutting of the tight strands about
his wrists and ankles; but he made no complaint.
A jungle beast was Tarzan with the stoicism of the beast
and the intelligence of man.  He knew that his doom was
sealed--that no supplications would avail to temper the
severity of his end and so he wasted no breath in
pleadings; but waited patiently in the firm conviction
that his sufferings could not endure forever.

In the darkness La stooped above him.  In her hand was
a sharp knife and in her mind the determination to
initiate his torture without further delay.  The knife
was pressed against his side and La's face was close to
his when a sudden burst of flame from new branches
thrown upon the fire without, lighted up the interior
of the shelter.  Close beneath her lips La saw the
perfect features of the forest god and into her woman's
heart welled all the great love she had felt for Tarzan
since first she had seen him, and all the accumulated
passion of the years that she had dreamed of him.

Dagger in hand, La, the High Priestess, towered above
the helpless creature that had dared to violate the
sanctuary of her deity.  There should be no torture--
there should be instant death.  No longer should the
defiler of the temple pollute the sight of the lord god
almighty.  A single stroke of the heavy blade and then
the corpse to the flaming pyre without.  The knife arm
stiffened ready for the downward plunge, and then La,
the woman, collapsed weakly upon the body of the man
she loved.

She ran her hands in mute caress over his naked flesh;
she covered his forehead, his eyes, his lips with hot
kisses; she covered him with her body as though to
protect him from the hideous fate she had ordained for
him, and in trembling, piteous tones she begged him for
his love.  For hours the frenzy of her passion
possessed the burning hand-maiden of the Flaming God,
until at last sleep overpowered her and she lapsed into
unconsciousness beside the man she had sworn to torture
and to slay.  And Tarzan, untroubled by thoughts of the
future, slept peacefully in La's embrace.

At the first hint of dawn the chanting of the priests
of Opar brought Tarzan to wakefulness.  Initiated in
low and subdued tones, the sound soon rose in volume to
the open diapason of barbaric blood lust.  La stirred.
Her perfect arm pressed Tarzan closer to her--a smile
parted her lips and then she awoke, and slowly the
smile faded and her eyes went wide in horror as the
significance of the death chant impinged upon her
understanding.

"Love me, Tarzan!" she cried.  "Love me, and you shall
be saved."

Tarzan's bonds hurt him.  He was suffering the tortures
of long-restricted circulation.  With an angry growl he
rolled over with his back toward La.  That was her
answer!  The High Priestess leaped to her feet.  A hot
flush of shame mantled her cheek and then she went dead
white and stepped to the shelter's entrance.

"Come, Priests of the Flaming God!" she cried,
"and make ready the sacrifice."

The warped things advanced and entered the shelter.
They laid hands upon Tarzan and bore him forth, and as
they chanted they kept time with their crooked bodies,
swaying to and fro to the rhythm of their song of blood
and death.  Behind them came La, swaying too; but not
in unison with the chanted cadence.  White and drawn
was the face of the High Priestess--white and drawn
with unrequited love and hideous terror of the moments
to come.  Yet stern in her resolve was La.  The infidel
should die!  The scorner of her love should pay the
price upon the fiery altar.  She saw them lay the
perfect body there upon the rough branches.  She saw
the High Priest, he to whom custom would unite her--
bent, crooked, gnarled, stunted, hideous--advance with
the flaming torch and stand awaiting her command to
apply it to the faggots surrounding the sacrificial
pyre.  His hairy, bestial face was distorted in a
yellow-fanged grin of anticipatory enjoyment.  His
hands were cupped to receive the life blood of the
victim--the red nectar that at Opar would have filled
the golden sacrificial goblets.

La approached with upraised knife, her face turned
toward the rising sun and upon her lips a prayer to the
burning deity of her people.  The High Priest looked
questioningly toward her--the brand was burning close
to his hand and the faggots lay temptingly near.
Tarzan closed his eyes and awaited the end.  He knew
that he would suffer, for he recalled the faint
memories of past burns.  He knew that he would suffer
and die; but he did not flinch.  Death is no great
adventure to the jungle bred who walk hand-in-hand with
the grim specter by day and lie down at his side by
night through all the years of their lives.  It is
doubtful that the ape-man even speculated upon what
came after death.  As a matter of fact as his end
approached, his mind was occupied by thoughts of the
pretty pebbles he had lost, yet his every faculty still
was open to what passed around him.

He felt La lean over him and he opened his eyes.
He saw her white, drawn face and he saw tears blinding
her eyes.  "Tarzan, my Tarzan!" she moaned, "tell me that
you love me--that you will return to Opar with me--and
you shall live.  Even in the face of the anger of my
people I will save you.  This last chance I give you.
What is your answer?"

At the last moment the woman in La had triumphed over
the High Priestess of a cruel cult.  She saw upon the
altar the only creature that ever had aroused the fires
of love within her virgin breast; she saw the beast-faced
fanatic who would one day be her mate, unless she
found another less repulsive, standing with the burning
torch ready to ignite the pyre; yet with all her mad
passion for the ape-man she would give the word to
apply the flame if Tarzan's final answer was
unsatisfactory.  With heaving bosom she leaned close
above him.  "Yes or no?" she whispered.

Through the jungle, out of the distance, came faintly a
sound that brought a sudden light of hope to Tarzan's
eyes.  He raised his voice in a weird scream that sent
La back from him a step or two.  The impatient priest
grumbled and switched the torch from one hand to the
other at the same time holding it closer to the tinder
at the base of the pyre.

"Your answer!" insisted La.  "What is your answer to
the love of La of Opar?"

Closer came the sound that had attracted Tarzan's
attention and now the others heard it--the shrill
trumpeting of an elephant.  As La looked wide-eyed into
Tarzan's face, there to read her fate for happiness or
heartbreak, she saw an expression of concern shadow his
features.  Now, for the first time, she guessed the
meaning of Tarzan's shrill scream--he had summoned
Tantor, the elephant, to his rescue!  La's brows
contracted in a savage scowl.  "You refuse La!"
she cried.  "Then die!  The torch!" she commanded,
turning toward the priest.

Tarzan looked up into her face.  "Tantor is coming,"
he said.  "I thought that he would rescue me; but I know
now from his voice that he will slay me and you and all
that fall in his path, searching out with the cunning
of Sheeta, the panther, those who would hide from him,
for Tantor is mad with the madness of love."

La knew only too well the insane ferocity of a bull
elephant in MUST.  She knew that Tarzan had not
exaggerated.  She knew that the devil in the cunning,
cruel brain of the great beast might send it hither and
thither hunting through the forest for those who
escaped its first charge, or the beast might pass on
without returning--no one might guess which.

"I cannot love you, La," said Tarzan in a low voice.
"I do not know why, for you are very beautiful.
I could not go back and live in Opar--I who have the
whole broad jungle for my range.  No, I cannot love you
but I cannot see you die beneath the goring tusks of
mad Tantor.  Cut my bonds before it is too late.
Already he is almost upon us.  Cut them and I may yet
save you."

A little spiral of curling smoke rose from one corner
of the pyre--the flames licked upward, crackling.
La stood there like a beautiful statue of despair gazing
at Tarzan and at the spreading flames.  In a moment
they would reach out and grasp him.  From the tangled
forest came the sound of cracking limbs and crashing
trunks--Tantor was coming down upon them, a huge
Juggernaut of the jungle.  The priests were becoming
uneasy.  They cast apprehensive glances in the direction
of the approaching elephant and then back at La.

"Fly!" she commanded them and then she stooped and cut
the bonds securing her prisoner's feet and hands.
In an instant Tarzan was upon the ground.  The priests
screamed out their rage and disappointment.  He with
the torch took a menacing step toward La and the ape-man.
"Traitor!" He shrieked at the woman.  "For this
you too shall die!" Raising his bludgeon he rushed upon
the High Priestess; but Tarzan was there before her.
Leaping in to close quarters the ape-man seized the
upraised weapon and wrenched it from the hands of the
frenzied fanatic and then the priest closed upon him
with tooth and nail.  Seizing the stocky, stunted body
in his mighty hands Tarzan raised the creature high
above his head, hurling him at his fellows who were now
gathered ready to bear down upon their erstwhile
captive.  La stood proudly with ready knife behind the
ape-man.  No faint sign of fear marked her perfect
brow--only haughty disdain for her priests and
admiration for the man she loved so hopelessly filled
her thoughts.

Suddenly upon this scene burst the mad bull--a huge
tusker, his little eyes inflamed with insane rage.
The priests stood for an instant paralyzed with terror;
but Tarzan turned and gathering La in his arms raced for
the nearest tree.  Tantor bore down upon him trumpeting shrilly.
La clung with both white arms about the ape-man's neck.
She felt him leap into the air and
marveled at his strength and his ability as, burdened
with her weight, he swung nimbly into the lower
branches of a large tree and quickly bore her upward
beyond reach of the sinuous trunk of the pachyderm.

Momentarily baffled here, the huge elephant wheeled and
bore down upon the hapless priests who had now
scattered, terror-stricken, in every direction.
The nearest he gored and threw high among the branches
of a tree.  One he seized in the coils of his trunk and
broke upon a huge bole, dropping the mangled pulp to
charge, trumpeting, after another.  Two he trampled
beneath his huge feet and by then the others had
disappeared into the jungle.  Now Tantor turned his
attention once more to Tarzan for one of the symptoms
of madness is a revulsion of affection--objects of sane
love become the objects of insane hatred.  Peculiar in
the unwritten annals of the jungle was the proverbial
love that had existed between the ape-man and the tribe
of Tantor.  No elephant in all the jungle would harm
the Tarmangani--the white-ape; but with the madness of
MUST upon him the great bull sought to destroy his
long-time play-fellow.

Back to the tree where La and Tarzan perched came
Tantor, the elephant.  He reared up with his forefeet
against the bole and reached high toward them with his
long trunk; but Tarzan had foreseen this and clambered
beyond the bull's longest reach.  Failure but tended to
further enrage the mad creature.  He bellowed and
trumpeted and screamed until the earth shook to the
mighty volume of his noise.  He put his head against
the tree and pushed and the tree bent before his mighty
strength; yet still it held.

The actions of Tarzan were peculiar in the extreme.
Had Numa, or Sabor, or Sheeta, or any other beast of
the jungle been seeking to destroy him, the ape-man
would have danced about hurling missiles and invectives
at his assailant.  He would have insulted and taunted
them, reviling in the jungle Billingsgate he knew so
well; but now he sat silent out of Tantor's reach and
upon his handsome face was an expression of deep sorrow
and pity, for of all the jungle folk Tarzan loved
Tantor the best.  Could he have slain him he would not
have thought of doing so.  His one idea was to escape,
for he knew that with the passing of the MUST
Tantor would be sane again and that once more he might
stretch at full length upon that mighty back and make
foolish speech into those great, flapping ears.

Finding that the tree would not fall to his pushing,
Tantor was but enraged the more.  He looked up at the
two perched high above him, his red-rimmed eyes blazing
with insane hatred, and then he wound his trunk about
the bole of the tree, spread his giant feet wide apart
and tugged to uproot the jungle giant.  A huge creature
was Tantor, an enormous bull in the full prime of all
his stupendous strength.  Mightily he strove until
presently, to Tarzan's consternation, the great tree
gave slowly at the roots.  The ground rose in little
mounds and ridges about the base of the bole, the tree
tilted--in another moment it would be uprooted and fall.

The ape-man whirled La to his back and just as the tree
inclined slowly in its first movement out of the
perpendicular, before the sudden rush of its final
collapse, he swung to the branches of a lesser
neighbor.  It was a long and perilous leap.  La closed
her eyes and shuddered; but when she opened them again
she found herself safe and Tarzan whirling onward
through the forest.  Behind them the uprooted tree
crashed heavily to the ground, carrying with it the
lesser trees in its path and then Tantor, realizing
that his prey had escaped him, set up once more his
hideous trumpeting and followed at a rapid charge upon
their trail.



14

A Priestess But Yet a Woman


At first La closed her eyes and clung to Tarzan in terror,
though she made no outcry; but presently she gained
sufficient courage to look about her, to look down
at the ground beneath and even to keep her eyes open
during the wide, perilous swings from tree to tree,
and then there came over her a sense of safety
because of her confidence in the perfect physical
creature in whose strength and nerve and agility her
fate lay.  Once she raised her eyes to the burning sun
and murmured a prayer of thanks to her pagan god that
she had not been permitted to destroy this godlike man,
and her long lashes were wet with tears.  A strange
anomaly was La of Opar--a creature of circumstance torn
by conflicting emotions.  Now the cruel and
bloodthirsty creature of a heartless god and again a
melting woman filled with compassion and tenderness.
Sometimes the incarnation of jealousy and revenge and
sometimes a sobbing maiden, generous and forgiving; at
once a virgin and a wanton; but always--a woman.
Such was La.

She pressed her cheek close to Tarzan's shoulder.
Slowly she turned her head until her hot lips were
pressed against his flesh.  She loved him and would
gladly have died for him; yet within an hour she had
been ready to plunge a knife into his heart and might
again within the coming hour.

A hapless priest seeking shelter in the jungle chanced
to show himself to enraged Tantor.  The great beast
turned to one side, bore down upon the crooked, little
man, snuffed him out and then, diverted from his
course, blundered away toward the south.  In a few
minutes even the noise of his trumpeting was lost in
the distance.

Tarzan dropped to the ground and La slipped to her feet
from his back.  "Call your people together," said Tarzan.

"They will kill me," replied La.

"They will not kill you," contradicted the ape-man.
"No one will kill you while Tarzan of the Apes is here.
Call them and we will talk with them."

La raised her voice in a weird, flutelike call that
carried far into the jungle on every side.  From near
and far came answering shouts in the barking tones of
the Oparian priests: "We come!  We come!" Again and
again, La repeated her summons until singly and in
pairs the greater portion of her following approached
and halted a short distance away from the High
Priestess and her savior.  They came with scowling
brows and threatening mien.  When all had come Tarzan
addressed them.

"Your La is safe," said the ape-man.  "Had she slain me
she would now herself be dead and many more of you; but
she spared me that I might save her.  Go your way with
her back to Opar, and Tarzan will go his way into the
jungle. Let there be peace always between Tarzan and
La.  What is your answer?"

The priests grumbled and shook their heads.  They spoke
together and La and Tarzan could see that they were not
favorably inclined toward the proposition.  They did
not wish to take La back and they did wish to complete
the sacrifice of Tarzan to the Flaming God.  At last
the ape-man became impatient.

"You will obey the commands of your queen," he said,
"and go back to Opar with her or Tarzan of the Apes
will call together the other creatures of the jungle
and slay you all.  La saved me that I might save you
and her.  I have served you better alive than I could
have dead.  If you are not all fools you will let me go
my way in peace and you will return to Opar with La.
I know not where the sacred knife is; but you can fashion
another.  Had I not taken it from La you would have
slain me and now your god must be glad that I took it
since I have saved his priestess from love-mad Tantor.
Will you go back to Opar with La, promising that no
harm shall befall her?"

The priests gathered together in a little knot arguing
and discussing.  They pounded upon their breasts with
their fists; they raised their hands and eyes to their
fiery god; they growled and barked among themselves
until it became evident to Tarzan that one of their
number was preventing the acceptance of his proposal.
This was the High Priest whose heart was filled with
jealous rage because La openly acknowledged her love
for the stranger, when by the worldly customs of their
cult she should have belonged to him. Seemingly there
was to be no solution of the problem until another
priest stepped forth and, raising his hand, addressed
La.

"Cadj, the High Priest," he announced, "would sacrifice
you both to the Flaming God; but all of us except Cadj
would gladly return to Opar with our queen."

"You are many against one," spoke up Tarzan.
"Why should you not have your will?  Go your way with
La to Opar and if Cadj interferes slay him."

The priests of Opar welcomed this suggestion with loud
cries of approval.  To them it appeared nothing short
of divine inspiration.  The influence of ages of
unquestioning obedience to high priests had made it
seem impossible to them to question his authority; but
when they realized that they could force him to their
will they were as happy as children with new toys.

They rushed forward and seized Cadj.  They talked in
loud menacing tones into his ear.  They threatened him
with bludgeon and knife until at last he acquiesced in
their demands, though sullenly, and then Tarzan stepped
close before Cadj.

"Priest," he said, "La goes back to her temple under
the protection of her priests and the threat of Tarzan
of the Apes that whoever harms her shall die.  Tarzan
will go again to Opar before the next rains and if harm
has befallen La, woe betide Cadj, the High Priest."

Sullenly Cadj promised not to harm his queen.

"Protect her," cried Tarzan to the other Oparians.
"Protect her so that when Tarzan comes again he will
find La there to greet him."

"La will be there to greet thee," exclaimed the High
Priestess, "and La will wait, longing, always longing,
until you come again.  Oh, tell me that you will come!"

"Who knows?" asked the ape-man as he swung quickly into
the trees and raced off toward the east.

For a moment La stood looking after him, then her head
drooped, a sigh escaped her lips and like an old woman
she took up the march toward distant Opar.

Through the trees raced Tarzan of the Apes until the
darkness of night had settled upon the jungle, then he
lay down and slept, with no thought beyond the morrow
and with even La but the shadow of a memory within his
consciousness.

But a few marches to the north Lady Greystoke looked
forward to the day when her mighty lord and master
should discover the crime of Achmet Zek, and be
speeding to rescue and avenge, and even as she pictured
the coming of John Clayton, the object of her thoughts
squatted almost naked, beside a fallen log, beneath
which he was searching with grimy fingers for a chance
beetle or a luscious grub.

Two days elapsed following the theft of the jewels
before Tarzan gave them a thought.  Then, as they
chanced to enter his mind, he conceived a desire to
play with them again, and, having nothing better to do
than satisfy the first whim which possessed him, he
rose and started across the plain from the forest in
which he had spent the preceding day.

Though no mark showed where the gems had been buried,
and though the spot resembled the balance of an
unbroken stretch several miles in length, where the
reeds terminated at the edge of the meadowland, yet the
ape-man moved with unerring precision directly to the
place where he had hid his treasure.

With his hunting knife he upturned the loose earth,
beneath which the pouch should be; but, though he
excavated to a greater distance than the depth of the
original hole there was no sign of pouch or jewels.
Tarzan's brow clouded as he discovered that he had been
despoiled.  Little or no reasoning was required to
convince him of the identity of the guilty party, and
with the same celerity that had marked his decision to
unearth the jewels, he set out upon the trail of the
thief.

Though the spoor was two days old, and practically
obliterated in many places, Tarzan followed it with
comparative ease.  A white man could not have followed
it twenty paces twelve hours after it had been made, a
black man would have lost it within the first mile; but
Tarzan of the Apes had been forced in childhood to
develop senses that an ordinary mortal scarce ever uses.

We may note the garlic and whisky on the breath of a
fellow strap hanger, or the cheap perfume emanating
from the person of the wondrous lady sitting in front
of us, and deplore the fact of our sensitive noses;
but, as a matter of fact, we cannot smell at all, our
olfactory organs are practically atrophied, by
comparison with the development of the sense among the
beasts of the wild.

Where a foot is placed an effluvium remains for a
considerable time.  It is beyond the range of our
sensibilities; but to a creature of the lower orders,
especially to the hunters and the hunted, as
interesting and ofttimes more lucid than is the printed
page to us.

Nor was Tarzan dependent alone upon his sense of smell.
Vision and hearing had been brought to a marvelous
state of development by the necessities of his early
life, where survival itself depended almost daily upon
the exercise of the keenest vigilance and the constant
use of all his faculties.

And so he followed the old trail of the Belgian through
the forest and toward the north; but because of the age
of the trail he was constrained to a far from rapid
progress.  The man he followed was two days ahead of
him when Tarzan took up the pursuit, and each day he
gained upon the ape-man.  The latter, however, felt not
the slightest doubt as to the outcome.  Some day he
would overhaul his quarry--he could bide his time in
peace until that day dawned.  Doggedly he followed the
faint spoor, pausing by day only to kill and eat, and
at night only to sleep and refresh himself.

Occasionally he passed parties of savage warriors; but
these he gave a wide berth, for he was hunting with a
purpose that was not to be distracted by the minor
accidents of the trail.

These parties were of the collecting hordes of the
Waziri and their allies which Basuli had scattered his
messengers broadcast to summon.  They were marching to
a common rendezvous in preparation for an assault upon
the stronghold of Achmet Zek; but to Tarzan they were
enemies--he retained no conscious memory of any
friendship for the black men.

It was night when he halted outside the palisaded
village of the Arab raider.  Perched in the branches of
a great tree he gazed down upon the life within the
enclosure.  To this place had the spoor led him.  His
quarry must be within; but how was he to find him among
so many huts?  Tarzan, although cognizant of his mighty
powers, realized also his limitations.  He knew that he
could not successfully cope with great numbers in open
battle.  He must resort to the stealth and trickery of
the wild beast, if he were to succeed.

Sitting in the safety of his tree, munching upon the
leg bone of Horta, the boar, Tarzan waited a favorable
opportunity to enter the village.  For awhile he gnawed
at the bulging, round ends of the large bone,
splintering off small pieces between his strong jaws,
and sucking at the delicious marrow within; but all the
time he cast repeated glances into the village.  He saw
white-robed figures, and half-naked blacks; but not
once did he see one who resembled the stealer of the gems.

Patiently he waited until the streets were deserted by
all save the sentries at the gates, then he dropped
lightly to the ground, circled to the opposite side of
the village and approached the palisade.

At his side hung a long, rawhide rope--a natural and
more dependable evolution from the grass rope of his
childhood. Loosening this, he spread the noose upon the
ground behind him, and with a quick movement of his
wrist tossed the coils over one of the sharpened
projections of the summit of the palisade.

Drawing the noose taut, he tested the solidity of its
hold. Satisfied, the ape-man ran nimbly up the vertical
wall, aided by the rope which he clutched in both
hands.  Once at the top it required but a moment to
gather the dangling rope once more into its coils, make
it fast again at his waist, take a quick glance
downward within the palisade, and, assured that no one
lurked directly beneath him, drop softly to the ground.

Now he was within the village.  Before him stretched a
series of tents and native huts.  The business of
exploring each of them would be fraught with danger;
but danger was only a natural factor of each day's
life--it never appalled Tarzan.  The chances appealed
to him--the chances of life and death, with his prowess
and his faculties pitted against those of a worthy
antagonist.

It was not necessary that he enter each habitation--
through a door, a window or an open chink, his nose
told him whether or not his prey lay within.  For some
time he found one disappointment following upon the
heels of another in quick succession.  No spoor of the
Belgian was discernible. But at last he came to a tent
where the smell of the thief was strong.  Tarzan
listened, his ear close to the canvas at the rear, but
no sound came from within.

At last he cut one of the pin ropes, raised the bottom
of the canvas, and intruded his head within the
interior.  All was quiet and dark.  Tarzan crawled
cautiously within--the scent of the Belgian was strong;
but it was not live scent. Even before he had examined
the interior minutely, Tarzan knew that no one was
within it.

In one corner he found a pile of blankets and clothing
scattered about; but no pouch of pretty pebbles.
A careful examination of the balance of the tent revealed
nothing more, at least nothing to indicate the presence
of the jewels; but at the side where the blankets and
clothing lay, the ape-man discovered that the tent wall
had been loosened at the bottom, and presently he
sensed that the Belgian had recently passed out of the
tent by this avenue.

Tarzan was not long in following the way that his prey
had fled.  The spoor led always in the shadow and at
the rear of the huts and tents of the village--it was
quite evident to Tarzan that the Belgian had gone alone
and secretly upon his mission.  Evidently he feared the
inhabitants of the village, or at least his work had
been of such a nature that he dared not risk detection.

At the back of a native hut the spoor led through a
small hole recently cut in the brush wall and into the
dark interior beyond.  Fearlessly, Tarzan followed the
trail.  On hands and knees, he crawled through the
small aperture.  Within the hut his nostrils were
assailed by many odors; but clear and distinct among
them was one that half aroused a latent memory of the
past--it was the faint and delicate odor of a woman.
With the cognizance of it there rose in the breast of
the ape-man a strange uneasiness--the result of an
irresistible force which he was destined to become
acquainted with anew--the instinct which draws the male
to his mate.

In the same hut was the scent spoor of the Belgian,
too, and as both these assailed the nostrils of the
ape-man, mingling one with the other, a jealous rage
leaped and burned within him, though his memory held
before the mirror of recollection no image of the she
to which he had attached his desire.

Like the tent he had investigated, the hut, too, was
empty, and after satisfying himself that his stolen
pouch was secreted nowhere within, he left, as he had
entered, by the hole in the rear wall.

Here he took up the spoor of the Belgian, followed it
across the clearing, over the palisade, and out into
the dark jungle beyond.



15

The Flight of Werper


After Werper had arranged the dummy in his bed, and
sneaked out into the darkness of the village beneath
the rear wall of his tent, he had gone directly to the
hut in which Jane Clayton was held captive.

Before the doorway squatted a black sentry.  Werper
approached him boldly, spoke a few words in his ear,
handed him a package of tobacco, and passed into the
hut.  The black grinned and winked as the European
disappeared within the darkness of the interior.

The Belgian, being one of Achmet Zek's principal
lieutenants, might naturally go where he wished within
or without the village, and so the sentry had not
questioned his right to enter the hut with the white,
woman prisoner.

Within, Werper called in French and in a low whisper:
"Lady Greystoke!  It is I, M. Frecoult.  Where are you?"
But there was no response.  Hastily the man felt around
the interior, groping blindly through the darkness with
outstretched hands.  There was no one within!

Werper's astonishment surpassed words.  He was on the
point of stepping without to question the sentry, when
his eyes, becoming accustomed to the dark, discovered a
blotch of lesser blackness near the base of the rear
wall of the hut. Examination revealed the fact that the
blotch was an opening cut in the wall.  It was large
enough to permit the passage of his body, and assured
as he was that Lady Greystoke had passed out through
the aperture in an attempt to escape the village, he
lost no time in availing himself of the same avenue;
but neither did he lose time in a fruitless search for
Jane Clayton.

His own life depended upon the chance of his eluding,
or outdistancing Achmet Zek, when that worthy should
have discovered that he had escaped.  His original plan
had contemplated connivance in the escape of Lady
Greystoke for two very good and sufficient reasons.
The first was that by saving her he would win the
gratitude of the English, and thus lessen the chance of
his extradition should his identity and his crime
against his superior officer be charged against him.

The second reason was based upon the fact that only one
direction of escape was safely open to him.  He could
not travel to the west because of the Belgian
possessions which lay between him and the Atlantic.
The south was closed to him by the feared presence of
the savage ape-man he had robbed.  To the north lay the
friends and allies of Achmet Zek.  Only toward the
east, through British East Africa, lay reasonable
assurance of freedom.

Accompanied by a titled Englishwoman whom he had
rescued from a frightful fate, and his identity vouched
for by her as that of a Frenchman by the name of
Frecoult, he had looked forward, and not without
reason, to the active assistance of the British from
the moment that he came in contact with their first
outpost.

But now that Lady Greystoke had disappeared, though he
still looked toward the east for hope, his chances were
lessened, and another, subsidiary design completely
dashed. From the moment that he had first laid eyes
upon Jane Clayton he had nursed within his breast a
secret passion for the beautiful American wife of the
English lord, and when Achmet Zek's discovery of the
jewels had necessitated flight, the Belgian had
dreamed, in his planning, of a future in which he might
convince Lady Greystoke that her husband was dead,
and by playing upon her gratitude win her for himself.

At that part of the village farthest from the gates,
Werper discovered that two or three long poles, taken
from a nearby pile which had been collected for the
construction of huts, had been leaned against the top
of the palisade, forming a precarious, though not
impossible avenue of escape.

Rightly, he inferred that thus had Lady Greystoke found
the means to scale the wall, nor did he lose even a
moment in following her lead.  Once in the jungle he
struck out directly eastward.

A few miles south of him, Jane Clayton lay panting
among the branches of a tree in which she had taken
refuge from a prowling and hungry lioness.

Her escape from the village had been much easier than
she had anticipated.  The knife which she had used to
cut her way through the brush wall of the hut to
freedom she had found sticking in the wall of her
prison, doubtless left there by accident when a former
tenant had vacated the premises.

To cross the rear of the village, keeping always in the
densest shadows, had required but a few moments, and
the fortunate circumstance of the discovery of the hut
poles lying so near the palisade had solved for her the
problem of the passage of the high wall.

For an hour she had followed the old game trail toward
the south, until there fell upon her trained hearing
the stealthy padding of a stalking beast behind her.
The nearest tree gave her instant sanctuary, for she
was too wise in the ways of the jungle to chance her
safety for a moment after discovering that she was
being hunted.

Werper, with better success, traveled slowly onward
until dawn, when, to his chagrin, he discovered a
mounted Arab upon his trail.  It was one of Achmet
Zek's minions, many of whom were scattered in all
directions through the forest, searching for the
fugitive Belgian.

Jane Clayton's escape had not yet been discovered when
Achmet Zek and his searchers set forth to overhaul
Werper. The only man who had seen the Belgian after his
departure from his tent was the black sentry before the
doorway of Lady Greystoke's prison hut, and he had been
silenced by the discovery of the dead body of the man
who had relieved him, the sentry that Mugambi had
dispatched.

The bribe taker naturally inferred that Werper had
slain his fellow and dared not admit that he had
permitted him to enter the hut, fearing as he did,
the anger of Achmet Zek. So, as chance directed that he
should be the one to discover the body of the sentry
when the first alarm had been given following Achmet
Zek's discovery that Werper had outwitted him, the
crafty black had dragged the dead body to the interior
of a nearby tent, and himself resumed his station
before the doorway of the hut in which he still
believed the woman to be.

With the discovery of the Arab close behind him, the
Belgian hid in the foliage of a leafy bush.  Here the
trail ran straight for a considerable distance, and
down the shady forest aisle, beneath the overarching
branches of the trees, rode the white-robed figure of
the pursuer.

Nearer and nearer he came.  Werper crouched closer to
the ground behind the leaves of his hiding place.
Across the trail a vine moved.  Werper's eyes instantly
centered upon the spot.  There was no wind to stir the
foliage in the depths of the jungle.  Again the vine
moved.  In the mind of the Belgian only the presence of
a sinister and malevolent force could account for the
phenomenon.

The man's eyes bored steadily into the screen of leaves
upon the opposite side of the trail.  Gradually a form
took shape beyond them--a tawny form, grim and
terrible, with yellow-green eyes glaring fearsomely
across the narrow trail straight into his.

Werper could have screamed in fright, but up the trail
was coming the messenger of another death, equally sure
and no less terrible.  He remained silent, almost
paralyzed by fear. The Arab approached.  Across the
trail from Werper the lion crouched for the spring,
when suddenly his attention was attracted toward the
horseman.

The Belgian saw the massive head turn in the direction
of the raider and his heart all but ceased its beating
as he awaited the result of this interruption.  At a
walk the horseman approached.  Would the nervous animal
he rode take fright at the odor of the carnivore, and,
bolting, leave Werper still to the mercies of the king
of beasts?

But he seemed unmindful of the near presence of the
great cat.  On he came, his neck arched, champing at
the bit between his teeth.  The Belgian turned his eyes
again toward the lion.  The beast's whole attention now
seemed riveted upon the horseman.  They were abreast
the lion now, and still the brute did not spring.
Could he be but waiting for them to pass before
returning his attention to the original prey?  Werper
shuddered and half rose.  At the same instant the lion
sprang from his place of concealment, full upon the
mounted man.  The horse, with a shrill neigh of terror,
shrank sideways almost upon the Belgian, the lion
dragged the helpless Arab from his saddle, and the
horse leaped back into the trail and fled away toward
the west.

But he did not flee alone.  As the frightened beast had
pressed in upon him, Werper had not been slow to note
the quickly emptied saddle and the opportunity it
presented. Scarcely had the lion dragged the Arab down
from one side, than the Belgian, seizing the pommel of
the saddle and the horse's mane, leaped upon the
horse's back from the other.

A half hour later a naked giant, swinging easily
through the lower branches of the trees, paused, and
with raised head, and dilating nostrils sniffed the
morning air.  The smell of blood fell strong upon his
senses, and mingled with it was the scent of Numa, the
lion.  The giant cocked his head upon one side and
listened.

From a short distance up the trail came the
unmistakable noises of the greedy feeding of a lion.
The crunching of bones, the gulping of great pieces,
the contented growling, all attested the nearness of
the king at table.

Tarzan approached the spot, still keeping to the
branches of the trees.  He made no effort to conceal
his approach, and presently he had evidence that Numa
had heard him, from the ominous, rumbling warning that
broke from a thicket beside the trail.

Halting upon a low branch just above the lion Tarzan
looked down upon the grisly scene.  Could this
unrecognizable thing be the man he had been trailing?
The ape-man wondered.  From time to time he had
descended to the trail and verified his judgment by the
evidence of his scent that the Belgian had followed
this game trail toward the east.

Now he proceeded beyond the lion and his feast,
again descended and examined the ground with his nose.
There was no scent spoor here of the man he had been
trailing. Tarzan returned to the tree.  With keen eyes
he searched the ground about the mutilated corpse for a
sign of the missing pouch of pretty pebbles; but naught
could he see of it.

He scolded Numa and tried to drive the great beast
away; but only angry growls rewarded his efforts.
He tore small branches from a nearby limb and hurled them
at his ancient enemy.  Numa looked up with bared fangs,
grinning hideously, but he did not rise from his kill.

Then Tarzan fitted an arrow to his bow, and drawing the
slim shaft far back let drive with all the force of the
tough wood that only he could bend.  As the arrow sank
deeply into his side, Numa leaped to his feet with a
roar of mingled rage and pain.  He leaped futilely at
the grinning ape-man, tore at the protruding end of the
shaft, and then, springing into the trail, paced back
and forth beneath his tormentor. Again Tarzan loosed a
swift bolt.  This time the missile, aimed with care,
lodged in the lion's spine.  The great creature halted
in its tracks, and lurched awkwardly forward upon its
face, paralyzed.

Tarzan dropped to the trail, ran quickly to the beast's
side, and drove his spear deep into the fierce heart,
then after recovering his arrows turned his attention
to the mutilated remains of the animal's prey in the
nearby thicket.

The face was gone.  The Arab garments aroused no doubt
as to the man's identity, since he had trailed him into
the Arab camp and out again, where he might easily have
acquired the apparel.  So sure was Tarzan that the body
was that of he who had robbed him that he made no
effort to verify his deductions by scent among the
conglomerate odors of the great carnivore and the fresh
blood of the victim.

He confined his attentions to a careful search for the
pouch, but nowhere upon or about the corpse was any
sign of the missing article or its contents.  The ape-man
was disappointed--possibly not so much because of
the loss of the colored pebbles as with Numa for
robbing him of the pleasures of revenge.

Wondering what could have become of his possessions,
the ape-man turned slowly back along the trail in the
direction from which he had come.  In his mind he
revolved a plan to enter and search the Arab camp,
after darkness had again fallen.  Taking to the trees,
he moved directly south in search of prey, that he
might satisfy his hunger before midday, and then lie up
for the afternoon in some spot far from the camp, where
he might sleep without fear of discovery until it came
time to prosecute his design.

Scarcely had he quitted the trail when a tall, black
warrior, moving at a dogged trot, passed toward the
east.  It was Mugambi, searching for his mistress.
He continued along the trail, halting to examine the body
of the dead lion.  An expression of puzzlement crossed
his features as he bent to search for the wounds which
had caused the death of the jungle lord.  Tarzan had
removed his arrows, but to Mugambi the proof of death
was as strong as though both the lighter missiles and
the spear still protruded from the carcass.

The black looked furtively about him.  The body was
still warm, and from this fact he reasoned that the
killer was close at hand, yet no sign of living man
appeared.  Mugambi shook his head, and continued along
the trail, but with redoubled caution.

All day he traveled, stopping occasionally to call
aloud the single word, "Lady," in the hope that at last
she might hear and respond; but in the end his loyal
devotion brought him to disaster.

From the northeast, for several months, Abdul Mourak,
in command of a detachment of Abyssinian soldiers, had
been assiduously searching for the Arab raider, Achmet
Zek, who, six months previously, had affronted the
majesty of Abdul Mourak's emperor by conducting a slave
raid within the boundaries of Menelek's domain.

And now it happened that Abdul Mourak had halted for a
short rest at noon upon this very day and along the
same trail that Werper and Mugambi were following
toward the east.

It was shortly after the soldiers had dismounted that
the Belgian, unaware of their presence, rode his tired
mount almost into their midst, before he had discovered
them.  Instantly he was surrounded, and a volley of
questions hurled at him, as he was pulled from his
horse and led toward the presence of the commander.

Falling back upon his European nationality, Werper
assured Abdul Mourak that he was a Frenchman, hunting
in Africa, and that he had been attacked by strangers,
his safari killed or scattered, and himself escaping
only by a miracle.

From a chance remark of the Abyssinian, Werper
discovered the purpose of the expedition, and when he
realized that these men were the enemies of Achmet Zek,
he took heart, and immediately blamed his predicament
upon the Arab.

Lest, however, he might again fall into the hands of
the raider, he discouraged Abdul Mourak in the further
prosecution of his pursuit, assuring the Abyssinian
that Achmet Zek commanded a large and dangerous force,
and also that he was marching rapidly toward the south.

Convinced that it would take a long time to overhaul
the raider, and that the chances of engagement made the
outcome extremely questionable, Mourak, none too
unwillingly, abandoned his plan and gave the necessary
orders for his command to pitch camp where they were,
preparatory to taking up the return march toward
Abyssinia the following morning.

It was late in the afternoon that the attention of the
camp was attracted toward the west by the sound of a
powerful voice calling a single word, repeated several
times: "Lady!  Lady!  Lady!"

True to their instincts of precaution, a number of
Abyssinians, acting under orders from Abdul Mourak,
advanced stealthily through the jungle toward the
author of the call.

A half hour later they returned, dragging Mugambi among
them.  The first person the big black's eyes fell upon
as he was hustled into the presence of the Abyssinian
officer, was M. Jules Frecoult, the Frenchman who had
been the guest of his master and whom he last had seen
entering the village of Achmet Zek under circumstances
which pointed to his familiarity and friendship for the
raiders.

Between the disasters that had befallen his master and
his master's house, and the Frenchman, Mugambi saw a
sinister relationship, which kept him from recalling to
Werper's attention the identity which the latter
evidently failed to recognize.

Pleading that he was but a harmless hunter from a tribe
farther south, Mugambi begged to be allowed to go upon
his way; but Abdul Mourak, admiring the warrior's
splendid physique, decided to take him back to Adis
Abeba and present him to Menelek.  A few moments later
Mugambi and Werper were marched away under guard, and
the Belgian learned for the first time, that he too was
a prisoner rather than a guest.  In vain he protested
against such treatment, until a strapping soldier
struck him across the mouth and threatened to shoot him
if he did not desist.

Mugambi took the matter less to heart, for he had not
the slightest doubt but that during the course of the
journey he would find ample opportunity to elude the
vigilance of his guards and make good his escape.
With this idea always uppermost in his mind, he courted
the good opinion of the Abyssinians, asked them many
questions about their emperor and their country, and
evinced a growing desire to reach their destination,
that he might enjoy all the good things which they
assured him the city of Adis Abeba contained.  Thus he
disarmed their suspicions, and each day found a slight
relaxation of their watchfulness over him.

By taking advantage of the fact that he and Werper
always were kept together, Mugambi sought to learn what
the other knew of the whereabouts of Tarzan, or the
authorship of the raid upon the bungalow, as well as
the fate of Lady Greystoke; but as he was confined to
the accidents of conversation for this information, not
daring to acquaint Werper with his true identity, and
as Werper was equally anxious to conceal from the world
his part in the destruction of his host's home and
happiness, Mugambi learned nothing--at least in this way.

But there came a time when he learned a very surprising
thing, by accident.

The party had camped early in the afternoon of a sultry
day, upon the banks of a clear and beautiful stream.
The bottom of the river was gravelly, there was no
indication of crocodiles, those menaces to promiscuous
bathing in the rivers of certain portions of the dark
continent, and so the Abyssinians took advantage of the
opportunity to perform long-deferred, and much needed,
ablutions.

As Werper, who, with Mugambi, had been given permission
to enter the water, removed his clothing, the black
noted the care with which he unfastened something which
circled his waist, and which he took off with his
shirt, keeping the latter always around and concealing
the object of his suspicious solicitude.

It was this very carefulness which attracted the
black's attention to the thing, arousing a natural
curiosity in the warrior's mind, and so it chanced that
when the Belgian, in the nervousness of overcaution,
fumbled the hidden article and dropped it, Mugambi saw
it as it fell upon the ground, spilling a portion of
its contents on the sward.

Now Mugambi had been to London with his master.
He was not the unsophisticated savage that his apparel
proclaimed him.  He had mingled with the cosmopolitan
hordes of the greatest city in the world; he had
visited museums and inspected shop windows; and,
besides, he was a shrewd and intelligent man.

The instant that the jewels of Opar rolled,
scintillating, before his astonished eyes, he
recognized them for what they were; but he recognized
something else, too, that interested him far more
deeply than the value of the stones. A thousand times
he had seen the leathern pouch which dangled at his
master's side, when Tarzan of the Apes had, in a spirit
of play and adventure, elected to return for a few
hours to the primitive manners and customs of his
boyhood, and surrounded by his naked warriors hunt the
lion and the leopard, the buffalo and the elephant
after the manner he loved best.

Werper saw that Mugambi had seen the pouch and the
stones.  Hastily he gathered up the precious gems and
returned them to their container, while Mugambi,
assuming an air of indifference, strolled down to the
river for his bath.

The following morning Abdul Mourak was enraged and
chagrined to discover that this huge, black prisoner
had escaped during the night, while Werper was
terrified for the same reason, until his trembling
fingers discovered the pouch still in its place beneath
his shirt, and within it the hard outlines of its
contents.



16

Tarzan Again Leads the Mangani


Achmet Zek with two of his followers had circled far to
the south to intercept the flight of his deserting
lieutenant, Werper.  Others had spread out in various
directions, so that a vast circle had been formed by
them during the night, and now they were beating in
toward the center.

Achmet and the two with him halted for a short rest
just before noon.  They squatted beneath the trees upon
the southern edge of a clearing.  The chief of the
raiders was in ill humor.  To have been outwitted by an
unbeliever was bad enough; but to have, at the same
time, lost the jewels upon which he had set his
avaricious heart was altogether too much--Allah must,
indeed be angry with his servant.

Well, he still had the woman.  She would bring a fair
price in the north, and there was, too, the buried
treasure beside the ruins of the Englishman's house.

A slight noise in the jungle upon the opposite side of
the clearing brought Achmet Zek to immediate and alert
attention.  He gathered his rifle in readiness for
instant use, at the same time motioning his followers
to silence and concealment.  Crouching behind the
bushes the three waited, their eyes fastened upon the
far side of the open space.

Presently the foliage parted and a woman's face
appeared, glancing fearfully from side to side.
A moment later, evidently satisfied that no immediate
danger lurked before her, she stepped out into the
clearing in full view of the Arab.

Achmet Zek caught his breath with a muttered
exclamation of incredulity and an imprecation.
The woman was the prisoner he had thought safely guarded
at his camp!

Apparently she was alone, but Achmet Zek waited that he
might make sure of it before seizing her.  Slowly Jane
Clayton started across the clearing.  Twice already
since she had quitted the village of the raiders had
she barely escaped the fangs of carnivora, and once she
had almost stumbled into the path of one of the
searchers.  Though she was almost despairing of ever
reaching safety she still was determined to fight on,
until death or success terminated her endeavors.

As the Arabs watched her from the safety of their
concealment, and Achmet Zek noted with satisfaction
that she was walking directly into his clutches,
another pair of eyes looked down upon the entire scene
from the foliage of an adjacent tree.

Puzzled, troubled eyes they were, for all their gray
and savage glint, for their owner was struggling with
an intangible suggestion of the familiarity of the face
and figure of the woman below him.

A sudden crashing of the bushes at the point from which
Jane Clayton had emerged into the clearing brought her
to a sudden stop and attracted the attention of the
Arabs and the watcher in the tree to the same point.

The woman wheeled about to see what new danger menaced
her from behind, and as she did so a great, anthropoid
ape waddled into view.  Behind him came another and
another; but Lady Greystoke did not wait to learn how
many more of the hideous creatures were so close upon
her trail.

With a smothered scream she rushed toward the opposite
jungle, and as she reached the bushes there, Achmet Zek
and his two henchmen rose up and seized her.  At the
same instant a naked, brown giant dropped from the
branches of a tree at the right of the clearing.

Turning toward the astonished apes he gave voice to a
short volley of low gutturals, and without waiting to
note the effect of his words upon them, wheeled and
charged for the Arabs.

Achmet Zek was dragging Jane Clayton toward his
tethered horse.  His two men were hastily unfastening
all three mounts.  The woman, struggling to escape the
Arab, turned and saw the ape-man running toward her.
A glad light of hope illuminated her face.

"John!" she cried.  "Thank God that you have come in time."

Behind Tarzan came the great apes, wondering, but
obedient to his summons.  The Arabs saw that they would
not have time to mount and make their escape before the
beasts and the man were upon them.  Achmet Zek
recognized the latter as the redoubtable enemy of such
as he, and he saw, too, in the circumstance an
opportunity to rid himself forever of the menace of the
ape-man's presence.

Calling to his men to follow his example he raised his
rifle and leveled it upon the charging giant.  His
followers, acting with no less alacrity than himself,
fired almost simultaneously, and with the reports of
the rifles, Tarzan of the Apes and two of his hairy
henchmen pitched forward among the jungle grasses.

The noise of the rifle shots brought the balance of the
apes to a wondering pause, and, taking advantage of
their momentary distraction, Achmet Zek and his fellows
leaped to their horses' backs and galloped away with
the now hopeless and grief-stricken woman.

Back to the village they rode, and once again Lady
Greystoke found herself incarcerated in the filthy,
little hut from which she had thought to have escaped
for good.  But this time she was not only guarded by an
additional sentry, but bound as well.

Singly and in twos the searchers who had ridden out
with Achmet Zek upon the trail of the Belgian, returned
empty handed.  With the report of each the raider's
rage and chagrin increased, until he was in such a
transport of ferocious anger that none dared approach
him.  Threatening and cursing, Achmet Zek paced up and
down the floor of his silken tent; but his temper
served him naught--Werper was gone and with him the
fortune in scintillating gems which had aroused the
cupidity of his chief and placed the sentence of death
upon the head of the lieutenant.

With the escape of the Arabs the great apes had turned
their attention to their fallen comrades.  One was
dead, but another and the great white ape still
breathed.  The hairy monsters gathered about these two,
grumbling and muttering after the fashion of their kind.

Tarzan was the first to regain consciousness.  Sitting
up, he looked about him.  Blood was flowing from a
wound in his shoulder.  The shock had thrown him down
and dazed him; but he was far from dead.  Rising slowly
to his feet he let his eyes wander toward the spot
where last he had seen the she, who had aroused within
his savage breast such strange emotions.

"Where is she?" he asked.

"The Tarmangani took her away," replied one of the apes.
"Who are you who speak the language of the Mangani?"

"I am Tarzan," replied the ape-man; "mighty hunter,
greatest of fighters.  When I roar, the jungle is
silent and trembles with terror.  I am Tarzan of the
Apes.  I have been away; but now I have come back to my
people."

"Yes," spoke up an old ape, "he is Tarzan.  I know him.
It is well that he has come back.  Now we shall have
good hunting."

The other apes came closer and sniffed at the ape-man.
Tarzan stood very still, his fangs half bared, and his
muscles tense and ready for action; but there was none
there to question his right to be with them, and
presently, the inspection satisfactorily concluded, the
apes again returned their attention to the other survivor.

He too was but slightly wounded, a bullet, grazing his
skull, having stunned him, so that when he regained
consciousness he was apparently as fit as ever.

The apes told Tarzan that they had been traveling
toward the east when the scent spoor of the she had
attracted them and they had stalked her.  Now they
wished to continue upon their interrupted march; but
Tarzan preferred to follow the Arabs and take the woman
from them.  After a considerable argument it was
decided that they should first hunt toward the east for
a few days and then return and search for the Arabs,
and as time is of little moment to the ape folk, Tarzan
acceded to their demands, he, himself, having reverted
to a mental state but little superior to their own.

Another circumstance which decided him to postpone
pursuit of the Arabs was the painfulness of his wound.
It would be better to wait until that had healed before
he pitted himself again against the guns of the
Tarmangani.

And so, as Jane Clayton was pushed into her prison hut
and her hands and feet securely bound, her natural
protector roamed off toward the east in company with a
score of hairy monsters, with whom he rubbed shoulders
as familiarly as a few months before he had mingled
with his immaculate fellow-members of one of London's
most select and exclusive clubs.

But all the time there lurked in the back of his
injured brain a troublesome conviction that he had no
business where he was--that he should be, for some
unaccountable reason, elsewhere and among another sort
of creature.  Also, there was the compelling urge to be
upon the scent of the Arabs, undertaking the rescue of
the woman who had appealed so strongly to his savage
sentiments; though the thought-word which naturally
occurred to him in the contemplation of the venture,
was "capture," rather than "rescue."

To him she was as any other jungle she, and he had set
his heart upon her as his mate.  For an instant, as he
had approached closer to her in the clearing where the
Arabs had seized her, the subtle aroma which had first
aroused his desires in the hut that had imprisoned her
had fallen upon his nostrils, and told him that he had
found the creature for whom he had developed so sudden
and inexplicable a passion.

The matter of the pouch of jewels also occupied his
thoughts to some extent, so that he found a double urge
for his return to the camp of the raiders.  He would
obtain possession of both his pretty pebbles and the
she.  Then he would return to the great apes with his
new mate and his baubles, and leading his hairy
companions into a far wilderness beyond the ken of man,
live out his life, hunting and battling among the lower
orders after the only manner which he now recollected.

He spoke to his fellow-apes upon the matter, in an
attempt to persuade them to accompany him; but all
except Taglat and Chulk refused.  The latter was young
and strong, endowed with a greater intelligence than
his fellows, and therefore the possessor of better
developed powers of imagination.  To him the expedition
savored of adventure, and so appealed, strongly.  With
Taglat there was another incentive--a secret and
sinister incentive, which, had Tarzan of the Apes had
knowledge of it, would have sent him at the other's
throat in jealous rage.

Taglat was no longer young; but he was still a
formidable beast, mightily muscled, cruel, and,
because of his greater experience, crafty and cunning.
Too, he was of giant proportions, the very weight of his
huge bulk serving ofttimes to discount in his favor the
superior agility of a younger antagonist.

He was of a morose and sullen disposition that marked
him even among his frowning fellows, where such
characteristics are the rule rather than the exception,
and, though Tarzan did not guess it, he hated the ape-man
with a ferocity that he was able to hide only
because the dominant spirit of the nobler creature had
inspired within him a species of dread which was as
powerful as it was inexplicable to him.

These two, then, were to be Tarzan's companions upon
his return to the village of Achmet Zek.  As they set
off, the balance of the tribe vouchsafed them but a
parting stare, and then resumed the serious business of
feeding.

Tarzan found difficulty in keeping the minds of his
fellows set upon the purpose of their adventure, for
the mind of an ape lacks the power of long-sustained
concentration.  To set out upon a long journey, with a
definite destination in view, is one thing, to remember
that purpose and keep it uppermost in one's mind
continually is quite another.  There are so many things
to distract one's attention along the way.

Chulk was, at first, for rushing rapidly ahead as
though the village of the raiders lay but an hour's
march before them instead of several days; but within a
few minutes a fallen tree attracted his attention with
its suggestion of rich and succulent forage beneath,
and when Tarzan, missing him, returned in search, he
found Chulk squatting beside the rotting bole, from
beneath which he was assiduously engaged in digging out
the grubs and beetles, whose kind form a considerable
proportion of the diet of the apes.

Unless Tarzan desired to fight there was nothing to
do but wait until Chulk had exhausted the storehouse,
and this he did, only to discover that Taglat was now
missing.  After a considerable search, he found that
worthy gentleman contemplating the sufferings of an
injured rodent he had pounced upon.  He would sit in
apparent indifference, gazing in another direction,
while the crippled creature, wriggled slowly and
painfully away from him, and then, just as his victim
felt assured of escape, he would reach out a giant palm
and slam it down upon the fugitive.  Again and again he
repeated this operation, until, tiring of the sport, he
ended the sufferings of his plaything by devouring it.

Such were the exasperating causes of delay which
retarded Tarzan's return journey toward the village of
Achmet Zek; but the ape-man was patient, for in his
mind was a plan which necessitated the presence of
Chulk and Taglat when he should have arrived at his
destination.

It was not always an easy thing to maintain in the
vacillating minds of the anthropoids a sustained
interest in their venture.  Chulk was wearying of the
continued marching and the infrequency and short
duration of the rests.  He would gladly have abandoned
this search for adventure had not Tarzan continually
filled his mind with alluring pictures of the great
stores of food which were to be found in the village of
Tarmangani.

Taglat nursed his secret purpose to better advantage
than might have been expected of an ape, yet there were
times when he, too, would have abandoned the adventure
had not Tarzan cajoled him on.

It was mid-afternoon of a sultry, tropical day when the
keen senses of the three warned them of the proximity
of the Arab camp.  Stealthily they approached, keeping
to the dense tangle of growing things which made
concealment easy to their uncanny jungle craft.

First came the giant ape-man, his smooth, brown skin
glistening with the sweat of exertion in the close, hot
confines of the jungle.  Behind him crept Chulk and
Taglat, grotesque and shaggy caricatures of their
godlike leader.

Silently they made their way to the edge of the
clearing which surrounded the palisade, and here they
clambered into the lower branches of a large tree
overlooking the village occupied by the enemy, the
better to spy upon his goings and comings.

A horseman, white burnoosed, rode out through the
gateway of the village.  Tarzan, whispering to Chulk
and Taglat to remain where they were, swung, monkey-like,
through the trees in the direction of the trail
the Arab was riding.  From one jungle giant to the next
he sped with the rapidity of a squirrel and the silence
of a ghost.

The Arab rode slowly onward, unconscious of the danger
hovering in the trees behind him.  The ape-man made a
slight detour and increased his speed until he had
reached a point upon the trail in advance of the
horseman.  Here he halted upon a leafy bough which
overhung the narrow, jungle trail. On came the victim,
humming a wild air of the great desert land of the
north.  Above him poised the savage brute that was
today bent upon the destruction of a human life--the
same creature who a few months before, had occupied his
seat in the House of Lords at London, a respected and
distinguished member of that august body.

The Arab passed beneath the overhanging bough, there
was a slight rustling of the leaves above, the horse
snorted and plunged as a brown-skinned creature dropped
upon its rump.  A pair of mighty arms encircled the
Arab and he was dragged from his saddle to the trail.

Ten minutes later the ape-man, carrying the outer
garments of an Arab bundled beneath an arm, rejoined
his companions.  He exhibited his trophies to them,
explaining in low gutturals the details of his exploit.
Chulk and Taglat fingered the fabrics, smelled of them,
and, placing them to their ears, tried to listen to them.

Then Tarzan led them back through the jungle to the
trail, where the three hid themselves and waited.
Nor had they long to wait before two of Achmet Zek's
blacks, clothed in habiliments similar to their master's,
came down the trail on foot, returning to the camp.

One moment they were laughing and talking together--the
next they lay stretched in death upon the trail, three
mighty engines of destruction bending over them.
Tarzan removed their outer garments as he had removed
those of his first victim, and again retired with Chulk
and Taglat to the greater seclusion of the tree they
had first selected.

Here the ape-man arranged the garments upon his shaggy
fellows and himself, until, at a distance, it might
have appeared that three white-robed Arabs squatted
silently among the branches of the forest.

Until dark they remained where they were, for from his
point of vantage, Tarzan could view the enclosure
within the palisade.  He marked the position of the hut
in which he had first discovered the scent spoor of the
she he sought.  He saw the two sentries standing before
its doorway, and he located the habitation of Achmet
Zek, where something told him he would most likely find
the missing pouch and pebbles.

Chulk and Taglat were, at first, greatly interested in
their wonderful raiment.  They fingered the fabric,
smelled of it, and regarded each other intently with
every mark of satisfaction and pride.  Chulk, a
humorist in his way, stretched forth a long and hairy
arm, and grasping the hood of Taglat's burnoose pulled
it down over the latter's eyes, extinguishing him,
snuffer-like, as it were.

The older ape, pessimistic by nature, recognized no
such thing as humor.  Creatures laid their paws upon
him for but two things--to search for fleas and to
attack.  The pulling of the Tarmangani-scented thing
about his head and eyes could not be for the
performance of the former act; therefore it must be the
latter.  He was attacked!  Chulk had attacked him.

With a snarl he was at the other's throat, not even
waiting to lift the woolen veil which obscured his
vision.  Tarzan leaped upon the two, and swaying and
toppling upon their insecure perch the three great
beasts tussled and snapped at one another until the
ape-man finally succeeded in separating the enraged
anthropoids.

An apology is unknown to these savage progenitors of
man, and explanation a laborious and usually futile
process, Tarzan bridged the dangerous gulf by
distracting their attention from their altercation to a
consideration of their plans for the immediate future.
Accustomed to frequent arguments in which more hair
than blood is wasted, the apes speedily forget such
trivial encounters, and presently Chulk and Taglat were
again squatting in close proximity to each other and
peaceful repose, awaiting the moment when the ape-man
should lead them into the village of the Tarmangani.

It was long after darkness had fallen, that Tarzan led
his companions from their hiding place in the tree to
the ground and around the palisade to the far side of
the village.

Gathering the skirts of his burnoose, beneath one arm,
that his legs might have free action, the ape-man took
a short running start, and scrambled to the top of the
barrier.  Fearing lest the apes should rend their
garments to shreds in a similar attempt, he had
directed them to wait below for him, and himself
securely perched upon the summit of the palisade he
unslung his spear and lowered one end of it to Chulk.

The ape seized it, and while Tarzan held tightly to the
upper end, the anthropoid climbed quickly up the shaft
until with one paw he grasped the top of the wall.
To scramble then to Tarzan's side was the work of but an
instant.  In like manner Taglat was conducted to their
sides, and a moment later the three dropped silently
within the enclosure.

Tarzan led them first to the rear of the hut in which
Jane Clayton was confined, where, through the roughly
repaired aperture in the wall, he sought with his
sensitive nostrils for proof that the she he had come
for was within.

Chulk and Taglat, their hairy faces pressed close to
that of the patrician, sniffed with him.  Each caught
the scent spoor of the woman within, and each reacted
according to his temperament and his habits of thought.

It left Chulk indifferent.  The she was for Tarzan--all
that he desired was to bury his snout in the foodstuffs
of the Tarmangani.  He had come to eat his fill without
labor--Tarzan had told him that that should be his
reward, and he was satisfied.

But Taglat's wicked, bloodshot eyes, narrowed to the
realization of the nearing fulfillment of his carefully
nursed plan.  It is true that sometimes during the
several days that had elapsed since they had set out
upon their expedition it had been difficult for Taglat
to hold his idea uppermost in his mind, and on several
occasions he had completely forgotten it, until Tarzan,
by a chance word, had recalled it to him, but, for an
ape, Taglat had done well.

Now, he licked his chops, and he made a sickening,
sucking noise with his flabby lips as he drew in his breath.

Satisfied that the she was where he had hoped to find
her, Tarzan led his apes toward the tent of Achmet Zek.
A passing Arab and two slaves saw them, but the night
was dark and the white burnooses hid the hairy limbs of
the apes and the giant figure of their leader, so that
the three, by squatting down as though in conversation,
were passed by, unsuspected.  To the rear of the tent
they made their way.  Within, Achmet Zek conversed with
several of his lieutenants.  Without, Tarzan listened.



17

The Deadly Peril of Jane Clayton


Lieutenant Albert Werper, terrified by contemplation of
the fate which might await him at Adis Abeba, cast
about for some scheme of escape, but after the black
Mugambi had eluded their vigilance the Abyssinians
redoubled their precautions to prevent Werper following
the lead of the Negro.

For some time Werper entertained the idea of bribing
Abdul Mourak with a portion of the contents of the
pouch; but fearing that the man would demand all the
gems as the price of liberty, the Belgian, influenced
by avarice, sought another avenue from his dilemma.

It was then that there dawned upon him the possibility
of the success of a different course which would still
leave him in possession of the jewels, while at the
same time satisfying the greed of the Abyssinian with
the conviction that he had obtained all that Werper had
to offer.

And so it was that a day or so after Mugambi had
disappeared, Werper asked for an audience with Abdul
Mourak.  As the Belgian entered the presence of his
captor the scowl upon the features of the latter boded
ill for any hope which Werper might entertain, still he
fortified himself by recalling the common weakness of
mankind, which permits the most inflexible of natures
to bend to the consuming desire for wealth.

Abdul Mourak eyed him, frowningly.  "What do you want
now?" he asked.

"My liberty," replied Werper.

The Abyssinian sneered.  "And you disturbed me thus to
tell me what any fool might know," he said.

"I can pay for it," said Werper.

Abdul Mourak laughed loudly.  "Pay for it?" he cried.
"What with--the rags that you have upon your back?
Or, perhaps you are concealing beneath your coat a thousand
pounds of ivory.  Get out!  You are a fool.  Do not
bother me again or I shall have you whipped."

But Werper persisted.  His liberty and perhaps his life
depended upon his success.

"Listen to me," he pleaded.  "If I can give you as much
gold as ten men may carry will you promise that I shall
be conducted in safety to the nearest English
commissioner?"

"As much gold as ten men may carry!" repeated Abdul
Mourak.  "You are crazy.  Where have you so much gold
as that?"

"I know where it is hid," said Werper.  "Promise, and I
will lead you to it--if ten loads is enough?"

Abdul Mourak had ceased to laugh.  He was eyeing the
Belgian intently.  The fellow seemed sane enough--yet
ten loads of gold!  It was preposterous.  The Abyssinian
thought in silence for a moment.

"Well, and if I promise," he said.  "How far is this gold?"

"A long week's march to the south," replied Werper.

"And if we do not find it where you say it is, do you
realize what your punishment will be?"

"If it is not there I will forfeit my life," replied
the Belgian.  "I know it is there, for I saw it buried
with my own eyes.  And more--there are not only ten
loads, but as many as fifty men may carry.  It is all
yours if you will promise to see me safely delivered
into the protection of the English."

"You will stake your life against the finding of the
gold?" asked Abdul.

Werper assented with a nod.

"Very well," said the Abyssinian, "I promise, and even
if there be but five loads you shall have your freedom;
but until the gold is in my possession you remain a
prisoner."

"I am satisfied," said Werper.  "Tomorrow we start?"

Abdul Mourak nodded, and the Belgian returned to his
guards.  The following day the Abyssinian soldiers were
surprised to receive an order which turned their faces
from the northeast to the south.  And so it happened
that upon the very night that Tarzan and the two apes
entered the village of the raiders, the Abyssinians
camped but a few miles to the east of the same spot.

While Werper dreamed of freedom and the unmolested
enjoyment of the fortune in his stolen pouch, and Abdul
Mourak lay awake in greedy contemplation of the fifty
loads of gold which lay but a few days farther to the
south of him, Achmet Zek gave orders to his lieutenants
that they should prepare a force of fighting men and
carriers to proceed to the ruins of the Englishman's
DOUAR on the morrow and bring back the fabulous
fortune which his renegade lieutenant had told him was
buried there.

And as he delivered his instructions to those within, a
silent listener crouched without his tent, waiting for
the time when he might enter in safety and prosecute
his search for the missing pouch and the pretty pebbles
that had caught his fancy.

At last the swarthy companions of Achmet Zek quitted
his tent, and the leader went with them to smoke a pipe
with one of their number, leaving his own silken
habitation unguarded.  Scarcely had they left the
interior when a knife blade was thrust through the
fabric of the rear wall, some six feet above the
ground, and a swift downward stroke opened an entrance
to those who waited beyond.

Through the opening stepped the ape-man, and close
behind him came the huge Chulk; but Taglat did not
follow them.  Instead he turned and slunk through the
darkness toward the hut where the she who had arrested
his brutish interest lay securely bound.  Before the
doorway the sentries sat upon their haunches,
conversing in monotones.  Within, the young woman lay
upon a filthy sleeping mat, resigned, through utter
hopelessness to whatever fate lay in store for her
until the opportunity arrived which would permit her to
free herself by the only means which now seemed even
remotely possible--the hitherto detested act of
self-destruction.

Creeping silently toward the sentries, a white-burnoosed
figure approached the shadows at one end of the hut.
The meager intellect of the creature denied
it the advantage it might have taken of its disguise.
Where it could have walked boldly to the very sides of
the sentries, it chose rather to sneak upon them,
unseen, from the rear.

It came to the corner of the hut and peered around.
The sentries were but a few paces away; but the ape did
not dare expose himself, even for an instant, to those
feared and hated thunder-sticks which the Tarmangani
knew so well how to use, if there were another and
safer method of attack.

Taglat wished that there was a tree nearby from the
over-hanging branches of which he might spring upon his
unsuspecting prey; but, though there was no tree, the
idea gave birth to a plan.  The eaves of the hut were
just above the heads of the sentries--from them he
could leap upon the Tarmangani, unseen.  A quick snap
of those mighty jaws would dispose of one of them
before the other realized that they were attacked,
and the second would fall an easy prey to the strength,
agility and ferocity of a second quick charge.

Taglat withdrew a few paces to the rear of the hut,
gathered himself for the effort, ran quickly forward
and leaped high into the air.  He struck the roof
directly above the rear wall of the hut, and the
structure, reinforced by the wall beneath, held his
enormous weight for an instant, then he moved forward a
step, the roof sagged, the thatching parted and the
great anthropoid shot through into the interior.

The sentries, hearing the crashing of the roof poles,
leaped to their feet and rushed into the hut.  Jane
Clayton tried to roll aside as the great form lit upon
the floor so close to her that one foot pinned her
clothing to the ground.

The ape, feeling the movement beside him, reached down
and gathered the girl in the hollow of one mighty arm.
The burnoose covered the hairy body so that Jane
Clayton believed that a human arm supported her, and
from the extremity of hopelessness a great hope sprang
into her breast that at last she was in the keeping of
a rescuer.

The two sentries were now within the hut, but
hesitating because of doubt as to the nature of the
cause of the disturbance.  Their eyes, not yet
accustomed to the darkness of the interior, told them
nothing, nor did they hear any sound, for the ape stood
silently awaiting their attack.

Seeing that they stood without advancing, and realizing
that, handicapped as he was by the weight of the she,
he could put up but a poor battle, Taglat elected to
risk a sudden break for liberty.  Lowering his head, he
charged straight for the two sentries who blocked the
doorway.  The impact of his mighty shoulders bowled
them over upon their backs, and before they could
scramble to their feet, the ape was gone, darting in
the shadows of the huts toward the palisade at the far
end of the village.

The speed and strength of her rescuer filled Jane
Clayton with wonder.  Could it be that Tarzan had
survived the bullet of the Arab?  Who else in all the
jungle could bear the weight of a grown woman as
lightly as he who held her?  She spoke his name; but
there was no response.  Still she did not give up hope.

At the palisade the beast did not even hesitate.
A single mighty leap carried it to the top, where it
poised but for an instant before dropping to the ground
upon the opposite side.  Now the girl was almost
positive that she was safe in the arms of her husband,
and when the ape took to the trees and bore her swiftly
into the jungle, as Tarzan had done at other times in
the past, belief became conviction.

In a little moonlit glade, a mile or so from the camp
of the raiders, her rescuer halted and dropped her to
the ground.  His roughness surprised her, but still she
had no doubts.  Again she called him by name, and at
the same instant the ape, fretting under the restraints
of the unaccustomed garments of the Tarmangani, tore
the burnoose from him, revealing to the eyes of the
horror-struck woman the hideous face and hairy form of
a giant anthropoid.

With a piteous wail of terror, Jane Clayton swooned,
while, from the concealment of a nearby bush, Numa,
the lion, eyed the pair hungrily and licked his chops.



Tarzan, entering the tent of Achmet Zek, searched the
interior thoroughly.  He tore the bed to pieces and
scattered the contents of box and bag about the floor.
He investigated whatever his eyes discovered, nor did
those keen organs overlook a single article within the
habitation of the raider chief; but no pouch or pretty
pebbles rewarded his thoroughness.

Satisfied at last that his belongings were not in the
possession of Achmet Zek, unless they were on the
person of the chief himself, Tarzan decided to secure
the person of the she before further prosecuting his
search for the pouch.

Motioning for Chulk to follow him, he passed out of the
tent by the same way that he had entered it, and
walking boldly through the village, made directly for
the hut where Jane Clayton had been imprisoned.

He noted with surprise the absence of Taglat, whom he
had expected to find awaiting him outside the tent of
Achmet Zek; but, accustomed as he was to the
unreliability of apes, he gave no serious attention to
the present defection of his surly companion.  So long
as Taglat did not cause interference with his plans,
Tarzan was indifferent to his absence.

As he approached the hut, the ape-man noticed that a
crowd had collected about the entrance.  He could see
that the men who composed it were much excited, and
fearing lest Chulk's disguise should prove inadequate
to the concealment of his true identity in the face of
so many observers, he commanded the ape to betake
himself to the far end of the village, and there await him.

As Chulk waddled off, keeping to the shadows, Tarzan
advanced boldly toward the excited group before the
doorway of the hut.  He mingled with the blacks and the
Arabs in an endeavor to learn the cause of the
commotion, in his interest forgetting that he alone of
the assemblage carried a spear, a bow and arrows, and
thus might become an object of suspicious attention.

Shouldering his way through the crowd he approached the
doorway, and had almost reached it when one of the
Arabs laid a hand upon his shoulder, crying: "Who is
this?" at the same time snatching back the hood from
the ape-man's face.

Tarzan of the Apes in all his savage life had never
been accustomed to pause in argument with an
antagonist.  The primitive instinct of self-preservation
acknowledges many arts and wiles; but
argument is not one of them, nor did he now waste
precious time in an attempt to convince the raiders
that he was not a wolf in sheep's clothing.  Instead he
had his unmasker by the throat ere the man's words had
scarce quitted his lips, and hurling him from side to
side brushed away those who would have swarmed upon him.

Using the Arab as a weapon, Tarzan forced his way
quickly to the doorway, and a moment later was within
the hut.  A hasty examination revealed the fact that it
was empty, and his sense of smell discovered, too, the
scent spoor of Taglat, the ape.  Tarzan uttered a low,
ominous growl.  Those who were pressing forward at the
doorway to seize him, fell back as the savage notes of
the bestial challenge smote upon their ears.  They
looked at one another in surprise and consternation.
A man had entered the hut alone, and yet with their own
ears they had heard the voice of a wild beast within.
What could it mean?  Had a lion or a leopard sought
sanctuary in the interior, unbeknown to the sentries?

Tarzan's quick eyes discovered the opening in the roof,
through which Taglat had fallen.  He guessed that the
ape had either come or gone by way of the break, and
while the Arabs hesitated without, he sprang, catlike,
for the opening, grasped the top of the wall and
clambered out upon the roof, dropping instantly to the
ground at the rear of the hut.

When the Arabs finally mustered courage to enter the
hut, after firing several volleys through the walls,
they found the interior deserted.  At the same time
Tarzan, at the far end of the village, sought for
Chulk; but the ape was nowhere to be found.

Robbed of his she, deserted by his companions, and as
much in ignorance as ever as to the whereabouts of his
pouch and pebbles, it was an angry Tarzan who climbed
the palisade and vanished into the darkness of the
jungle.

For the present he must give up the search for his
pouch, since it would be paramount to self-destruction
to enter the Arab camp now while all its inhabitants
were aroused and upon the alert.

In his escape from the village, the ape-man had lost
the spoor of the fleeing Taglat, and now he circled
widely through the forest in an endeavor to again pick
it up.

Chulk had remained at his post until the cries and
shots of the Arabs had filled his simple soul with
terror, for above all things the ape folk fear the
thunder-sticks of the Tarmangani; then he had clambered
nimbly over the palisade, tearing his burnoose in the
effort, and fled into the depths of the jungle,
grumbling and scolding as he went.

Tarzan, roaming the jungle in search of the trail of
Taglat and the she, traveled swiftly.  In a little
moonlit glade ahead of him the great ape was bending
over the prostrate form of the woman Tarzan sought.
The beast was tearing at the bonds that confined her
ankles and wrists, pulling and gnawing upon the cords.

The course the ape-man was taking would carry him but a
short distance to the right of them, and though he
could not have seen them the wind was bearing down from them
to him, carrying their scent spoor strongly toward him.

A moment more and Jane Clayton's safety might have been
assured, even though Numa, the lion, was already
gathering himself in preparation for a charge; but
Fate, already all too cruel, now outdid herself--the
wind veered suddenly for a few moments, the scent spoor
that would have led the ape-man to the girl's side was
wafted in the opposite direction; Tarzan passed within
fifty yards of the tragedy that was being enacted in
the glade, and the opportunity was gone beyond recall.



18

The Fight For the Treasure


It was morning before Tarzan could bring himself to a
realization of the possibility of failure of his quest,
and even then he would only admit that success was but
delayed.  He would eat and sleep, and then set forth
again.  The jungle was wide; but wide too were the
experience and cunning of Tarzan.  Taglat might travel
far; but Tarzan would find him in the end, though he
had to search every tree in the mighty forest.

Soliloquizing thus, the ape-man followed the spoor of
Bara, the deer, the unfortunate upon which he had
decided to satisfy his hunger.  For half an hour the
trail led the ape-man toward the east along a
well-marked game path, when suddenly, to the stalker's
astonishment, the quarry broke into sight, racing madly
back along the narrow way straight toward the hunter.

Tarzan, who had been following along the trail, leaped
so quickly to the concealing verdure at the side that
the deer was still unaware of the presence of an enemy
in this direction, and while the animal was still some
distance away, the ape-man swung into the lower
branches of the tree which overhung the trail.  There
he crouched, a savage beast of prey, awaiting the
coming of its victim.

What had frightened the deer into so frantic a retreat,
Tarzan did not know--Numa, the lion, perhaps, or
Sheeta, the panther; but whatsoever it was mattered
little to Tarzan of the Apes--he was ready and willing
to defend his kill against any other denizen of the
jungle.  If he were unable to do it by means of
physical prowess, he had at his command another and a
greater power--his shrewd intelligence.

And so, on came the running deer, straight into the
jaws of death.  The ape-man turned so that his back was
toward the approaching animal.  He poised with bent
knees upon the gently swaying limb above the trail,
timing with keen ears the nearing hoof beats of
frightened Bara.

In a moment the victim flashed beneath the limb and at
the same instant the ape-man above sprang out and down
upon its back.  The weight of the man's body carried
the deer to the ground.  It stumbled forward once in a
futile effort to rise, and then mighty muscles dragged
its head far back, gave the neck a vicious wrench, and
Bara was dead.

Quick had been the killing, and equally quick were the
ape-man's subsequent actions, for who might know what
manner of killer pursued Bara, or how close at hand he
might be?  Scarce had the neck of the victim snapped
than the carcass was hanging over one of Tarzan's broad
shoulders, and an instant later the ape-man was perched
once more among the lower branches of a tree above the
trail, his keen, gray eyes scanning the pathway down
which the deer had fled.

Nor was it long before the cause of Bara's fright
became evident to Tarzan, for presently came the
unmistakable sounds of approaching horsemen.  Dragging
his kill after him the ape-man ascended to the middle
terrace, and settling himself comfortably in the crotch
of a tree where he could still view the trail beneath,
cut a juicy steak from the deer's loin, and burying his
strong, white teeth in the hot flesh proceeded to enjoy
the fruits of his prowess and his cunning.

Nor did he neglect the trail beneath while he satisfied
his hunger.  His sharp eyes saw the muzzle of the
leading horse as it came into view around a bend in the
tortuous trail, and one by one they scrutinized the
riders as they passed beneath him in single file.

Among them came one whom Tarzan recognized, but so
schooled was the ape-man in the control of his emotions
that no slightest change of expression, much less any
hysterical demonstration that might have revealed his
presence, betrayed the fact of his inward excitement.

Beneath him, as unconscious of his presence as were the
Abyssinians before and behind him, rode Albert Werper,
while the ape-man scrutinized the Belgian for some sign
of the pouch which he had stolen.

As the Abyssinians rode toward the south, a giant
figure hovered ever upon their trail--a huge, almost
naked white man, who carried the bloody carcass of a
deer upon his shoulders, for Tarzan knew that he might
not have another opportunity to hunt for some time if
he were to follow the Belgian.

To endeavor to snatch him from the midst of the armed
horsemen, not even Tarzan would attempt other than in
the last extremity, for the way of the wild is the way
of caution and cunning, unless they be aroused to
rashness by pain or anger.

So the Abyssinians and the Belgian marched southward
and Tarzan of the Apes swung silently after them
through the swaying branches of the middle terrace.

A two days' march brought them to a level plain beyond
which lay mountains--a plain which Tarzan remembered
and which aroused within him vague half memories and
strange longings.  Out upon the plain the horsemen
rode, and at a safe distance behind them crept the ape-man,
taking advantage of such cover as the ground afforded.

Beside a charred pile of timbers the Abyssinians
halted, and Tarzan, sneaking close and concealing
himself in nearby shrubbery, watched them in
wonderment.  He saw them digging up the earth, and he
wondered if they had hidden meat there in the past and
now had come for it.  Then he recalled how he had
buried his pretty pebbles, and the suggestion that had
caused him to do it.  They were digging for the things
the blacks had buried here!

Presently he saw them uncover a dirty, yellow object,
and he witnessed the joy of Werper and of Abdul Mourak
as the grimy object was exposed to view.  One by one
they unearthed many similar pieces, all of the same
uniform, dirty yellow, until a pile of them lay upon
the ground, a pile which Abdul Mourak fondled and
petted in an ecstasy of greed.

Something stirred in the ape-man's mind as he looked
long upon the golden ingots.  Where had he seen such
before?  What were they?  Why did these Tarmangani covet
them so greatly?  To whom did they belong?

He recalled the black men who had buried them.
The things must be theirs.  Werper was stealing them as
he had stolen Tarzan's pouch of pebbles.  The ape-man's
eyes blazed in anger.  He would like to find the black
men and lead them against these thieves.  He wondered
where their village might be.

As all these things ran through the active mind, a
party of men moved out of the forest at the edge of the
plain and advanced toward the ruins of the burned bungalow.

Abdul Mourak, always watchful, was the first to see
them, but already they were halfway across the open.
He called to his men to mount and hold themselves in
readiness, for in the heart of Africa who may know
whether a strange host be friend or foe?

Werper, swinging into his saddle, fastened his eyes
upon the newcomers, then, white and trembling he turned
toward Abdul Mourak.

"It is Achmet Zek and his raiders," he whispered.
"They are come for the gold."

It must have been at about the same instant that Achmet
Zek discovered the pile of yellow ingots and realized
the actuality of what he had already feared since first
his eyes had alighted upon the party beside the ruins
of the Englishman's bungalow.  Someone had forestalled
him--another had come for the treasure ahead of him.

The Arab was crazed by rage.  Recently everything had
gone against him.  He had lost the jewels, the Belgian,
and for the second time he had lost the Englishwoman.
Now some one had come to rob him of this treasure which
he had thought as safe from disturbance here as though
it never had been mined.

He cared not whom the thieves might be.  They would not
give up the gold without a battle, of that he was
certain, and with a wild whoop and a command to his
followers, Achmet Zek put spurs to his horse and dashed
down upon the Abyssinians, and after him, waving their
long guns above their heads, yelling and cursing, came
his motley horde of cut-throat followers.

The men of Abdul Mourak met them with a volley which
emptied a few saddles, and then the raiders were among
them, and sword, pistol and musket, each was doing its
most hideous and bloody work.

Achmet Zek, spying Werper at the first charge, bore
down upon the Belgian, and the latter, terrified by
contemplation of the fate he deserved, turned his
horse's head and dashed madly away in an effort to
escape.  Shouting to a lieutenant to take command, and
urging him upon pain of death to dispatch the
Abyssinians and bring the gold back to his camp, Achmet
Zek set off across the plain in pursuit of the Belgian,
his wicked nature unable to forego the pleasures of
revenge, even at the risk of sacrificing the treasure.

As the pursued and the pursuer raced madly toward the
distant forest the battle behind them raged with bloody
savageness.  No quarter was asked or given by either
the ferocious Abyssinians or the murderous cut-throats
of Achmet Zek.

From the concealment of the shrubbery Tarzan watched
the sanguinary conflict which so effectually surrounded
him that he found no loop-hole through which he might
escape to follow Werper and the Arab chief.

The Abyssinians were formed in a circle which included
Tarzan's position, and around and into them galloped
the yelling raiders, now darting away, now charging in
to deliver thrusts and cuts with their curved swords.

Numerically the men of Achmet Zek were superior, and
slowly but surely the soldiers of Menelek were being
exterminated.  To Tarzan the result was immaterial.
He watched with but a single purpose--to escape the ring
of blood-mad fighters and be away after the Belgian and
his pouch.

When he had first discovered Werper upon the trail
where he had slain Bara, he had thought that his eyes
must be playing him false, so certain had he been that
the thief had been slain and devoured by Numa; but
after following the detachment for two days, with his
keen eyes always upon the Belgian, he no longer doubted
the identity of the man, though he was put to it to
explain the identity of the mutilated corpse he had
supposed was the man he sought.

As he crouched in hiding among the unkempt shrubbery
which so short a while since had been the delight and
pride of the wife he no longer recalled, an Arab and an
Abyssinian wheeled their mounts close to his position
as they slashed at each other with their swords.

Step by step the Arab beat back his adversary until the
latter's horse all but trod upon the ape-man, and then
a vicious cut clove the black warrior's skull, and the
corpse toppled backward almost upon Tarzan.

As the Abyssinian tumbled from his saddle the
possibility of escape which was represented by the
riderless horse electrified the ape-man to instant
action.  Before the frightened beast could gather
himself for flight a naked giant was astride his back.
A strong hand had grasped his bridle rein, and the
surprised Arab discovered a new foe in the saddle of
him, whom he had slain.

But this enemy wielded no sword, and his spear and bow
remained upon his back.  The Arab, recovered from his
first surprise, dashed in with raised sword to
annihilate this presumptuous stranger.  He aimed a
mighty blow at the ape-man's head, a blow which swung
harmlessly through thin air as Tarzan ducked from its
path, and then the Arab felt the other's horse brushing
his leg, a great arm shot out and encircled his waist,
and before he could recover himself he was dragged from
his saddle, and forming a shield for his antagonist was
borne at a mad run straight through the encircling
ranks of his fellows.

Just beyond them he was tossed aside upon the ground,
and the last he saw of his strange foeman the latter
was galloping off across the plain in the direction of
the forest at its farther edge.

For another hour the battle raged nor did it cease
until the last of the Abyssinians lay dead upon the
ground, or had galloped off toward the north in flight.
But a handful of men escaped, among them Abdul Mourak.

The victorious raiders collected about the pile of
golden ingots which the Abyssinians had uncovered, and
there awaited the return of their leader.  Their
exultation was slightly tempered by the glimpse they
had had of the strange apparition of the naked white
man galloping away upon the horse of one of their
foemen and carrying a companion who was now among them
expatiating upon the superhuman strength of the ape-man.
None of them there but was familiar with the name
and fame of Tarzan of the Apes, and the fact that they
had recognized the white giant as the ferocious enemy
of the wrongdoers of the jungle, added to their terror,
for they had been assured that Tarzan was dead.

Naturally superstitious, they fully believed that they
had seen the disembodied spirit of the dead man, and
now they cast fearful glances about them in expectation
of the ghost's early return to the scene of the ruin
they had inflicted upon him during their recent raid
upon his home, and discussed in affrighted whispers the
probable nature of the vengeance which the spirit would
inflict upon them should he return to find them in
possession of his gold.

As they conversed their terror grew, while from the
concealment of the reeds along the river below them a
small party of naked, black warriors watched their
every move.  From the heights beyond the river these
black men had heard the noise of the conflict, and
creeping warily down to the stream had forded it and
advanced through the reeds until they were in a
position to watch every move of the combatants.

For a half hour the raiders awaited Achmet Zek's
return, their fear of the earlier return of the ghost
of Tarzan constantly undermining their loyalty to and
fear of their chief.  Finally one among them voiced the
desires of all when he announced that he intended
riding forth toward the forest in search of Achmet Zek.
Instantly every man of them sprang to his mount.

"The gold will be safe here," cried one.  "We have
killed the Abyssinians and there are no others to carry
it away.  Let us ride in search of Achmet Zek!"

And a moment later, amidst a cloud of dust, the raiders
were galloping madly across the plain, and out from the
concealment of the reeds along the river, crept a party
of black warriors toward the spot where the golden
ingots of Opar lay piled on the ground.

Werper had still been in advance of Achmet Zek when he
reached the forest; but the latter, better mounted, was
gaining upon him.  Riding with the reckless courage of
desperation the Belgian urged his mount to greater
speed even within the narrow confines of the winding,
game trail that the beast was following.

Behind him he could hear the voice of Achmet Zek crying
to him to halt; but Werper only dug the spurs deeper
into the bleeding sides of his panting mount.  Two
hundred yards within the forest a broken branch lay
across the trail.  It was a small thing that a horse
might ordinarily take in his natural stride without
noticing its presence; but Werper's horse was jaded,
his feet were heavy with weariness, and as the branch
caught between his front legs he stumbled, was unable
to recover himself, and went down, sprawling in the
trail.

Werper, going over his head, rolled a few yards farther
on, scrambled to his feet and ran back.  Seizing the
reins he tugged to drag the beast to his feet; but the
animal would not or could not rise, and as the Belgian
cursed and struck at him, Achmet Zek appeared in view.

Instantly the Belgian ceased his efforts with the dying
animal at his feet, and seizing his rifle, dropped
behind the horse and fired at the oncoming Arab.

His bullet, going low, struck Achmet Zek's horse in the
breast, bringing him down a hundred yards from where
Werper lay preparing to fire a second shot.

The Arab, who had gone down with his mount, was
standing astride him, and seeing the Belgian's
strategic position behind his fallen horse, lost no
time in taking up a similar one behind his own.

And there the two lay, alternately firing at and
cursing each other, while from behind the Arab, Tarzan
of the Apes approached to the edge of the forest.  Here
he heard the occasional shots of the duelists, and
choosing the safer and swifter avenue of the forest
branches to the uncertain transportation afforded by a
half-broken Abyssinian pony, took to the trees.

Keeping to one side of the trail, the ape-man came
presently to a point where he could look down in
comparative safety upon the fighters.  First one and
then the other would partially raise himself above his
breastwork of horseflesh, fire his weapon and
immediately drop flat behind his shelter, where he
would reload and repeat the act a moment later.

Werper had but little ammunition, having been hastily
armed by Abdul Mourak from the body of one of the first
of the Abyssinians who had fallen in the fight about
the pile of ingots, and now he realized that soon he
would have used his last bullet, and be at the mercy of
the Arab--a mercy with which he was well acquainted.

Facing both death and despoilment of his treasure, the
Belgian cast about for some plan of escape, and the
only one that appealed to him as containing even a
remote possibility of success hinged upon the chance of
bribing Achmet Zek.

Werper had fired all but a single cartridge, when,
during a lull in the fighting, he called aloud to his
opponent.

"Achmet Zek," he cried, "Allah alone knows which one of
us may leave our bones to rot where he lies upon this
trail today if we keep up our foolish battle.  You wish
the contents of the pouch I wear about my waist, and I
wish my life and my liberty even more than I do the
jewels.  Let us each, then, take that which he most
desires and go our separate ways in peace.  I will lay
the pouch upon the carcass of my horse, where you may
see it, and you, in turn, will lay your gun upon your
horse, with butt toward me.  Then I will go away,
leaving the pouch to you, and you will let me go in
safety.  I want only my life, and my freedom."

The Arab thought in silence for a moment.  Then he
spoke. His reply was influenced by the fact that he had
expended his last shot.

"Go your way, then," he growled, "leaving the pouch in
plain sight behind you.  See, I lay my gun thus, with
the butt toward you.  Go."

Werper removed the pouch from about his waist.
Sorrowfully and affectionately he let his fingers press
the hard outlines of the contents.  Ah, if he could
extract a little handful of the precious stones!  But
Achmet Zek was standing now, his eagle eyes commanding
a plain view of the Belgian and his every act.

Regretfully Werper laid the pouch, its contents
undisturbed, upon the body of his horse, rose, and
taking his rifle with him, backed slowly down the trail
until a turn hid him from the view of the watchful Arab.

Even then Achmet Zek did not advance, fearful as he was
of some such treachery as he himself might have been
guilty of under like circumstances; nor were his
suspicions groundless, for the Belgian, no sooner had
he passed out of the range of the Arab's vision, halted
behind the bole of a tree, where he still commanded an
unobstructed view of his dead horse and the pouch, and
raising his rifle covered the spot where the other's
body must appear when he came forward to seize the
treasure.

But Achmet Zek was no fool to expose himself to the
blackened honor of a thief and a murderer.  Taking his
long gun with him, he left the trail, entering the rank
and tangled vegetation which walled it, and crawling
slowly forward on hands and knees he paralleled the
trail; but never for an instant was his body exposed to
the rifle of the hidden assassin.

Thus Achmet Zek advanced until he had come opposite the
dead horse of his enemy.  The pouch lay there in full
view, while a short distance along the trail, Werper
waited in growing impatience and nervousness, wondering
why the Arab did not come to claim his reward.

Presently he saw the muzzle of a rifle appear suddenly
and mysteriously a few inches above the pouch, and
before he could realize the cunning trick that the Arab
had played upon him the sight of the weapon was
adroitly hooked into the rawhide thong which formed the
carrying strap of the pouch, and the latter was drawn
quickly from his view into the dense foliage at the
trail's side.

Not for an instant had the raider exposed a square inch
of his body, and Werper dared not fire his one
remaining shot unless every chance of a successful hit
was in his favor.

Chuckling to himself, Achmet Zek withdrew a few paces
farther into the jungle, for he was as positive that
Werper was waiting nearby for a chance to pot him as
though his eyes had penetrated the jungle trees to the
figure of the hiding Belgian, fingering his rifle
behind the bole of the buttressed giant.

Werper did not dare advance--his cupidity would not
permit him to depart, and so he stood there, his rifle
ready in his hands, his eyes watching the trail before
him with catlike intensity.

But there was another who had seen the pouch and
recognized it, who did advance with Achmet Zek,
hovering above him, as silent and as sure as death
itself, and as the Arab, finding a little spot less
overgrown with bushes than he had yet encountered,
prepared to gloat his eyes upon the contents of the
pouch, Tarzan paused directly above him, intent upon
the same object.

Wetting his thin lips with his tongue, Achmet Zek
loosened the tie strings which closed the mouth of the
pouch, and cupping one claw-like hand poured forth a
portion of the contents into his palm.

A single look he took at the stones lying in his hand.
His eyes narrowed, a curse broke from his lips, and he
hurled the small objects upon the ground, disdainfully.
Quickly he emptied the balance of the contents until he
had scanned each separate stone, and as he dumped them
all upon the ground and stamped upon them his rage grew
until the muscles of his face worked in demon-like
fury, and his fingers clenched until his nails bit into
the flesh.

Above, Tarzan watched in wonderment.  He had been
curious to discover what all the pow-wow about his
pouch had meant.  He wanted to see what the Arab would
do after the other had gone away, leaving the pouch
behind him, and, having satisfied his curiosity, he
would then have pounced upon Achmet Zek and taken the
pouch and his pretty pebbles away from him, for did
they not belong to Tarzan?

He saw the Arab now throw aside the empty pouch, and
grasping his long gun by the barrel, clublike, sneak
stealthily through the jungle beside the trail along
which Werper had gone.

As the man disappeared from his view, Tarzan dropped to
the ground and commenced gathering up the spilled
contents of the pouch, and the moment that he obtained
his first near view of the scattered pebbles he
understood the rage of the Arab, for instead of the
glittering and scintillating gems which had first
caught and held the attention of the ape-man, the pouch
now contained but a collection of ordinary river
pebbles.



19

Jane Clayton and the Beasts of the Jungle


Mugambi, after his successful break for liberty,
had fallen upon hard times.  His way had led him through
a country with which he was unfamiliar, a jungle country
in which he could find no water, and but little food,
so that after several days of wandering he found
himself so reduced in strength that he could barely
drag himself along.

It was with growing difficulty that he found the
strength necessary to construct a shelter by night
wherein he might be reasonably safe from the large
carnivora, and by day he still further exhausted his
strength in digging for edible roots, and searching for
water.

A few stagnant pools at considerable distances apart
saved him from death by thirst; but his was a pitiable
state when finally he stumbled by accident upon a large
river in a country where fruit was abundant, and small
game which he might bag by means of a combination of
stealth, cunning, and a crude knob-stick which he had
fashioned from a fallen limb.

Realizing that he still had a long march ahead of him
before he could reach even the outskirts of the Waziri
country, Mugambi wisely decided to remain where he was
until he had recuperated his strength and health.  A
few days' rest would accomplish wonders for him, he
knew, and he could ill afford to sacrifice his chances
for a safe return by setting forth handicapped by
weakness.

And so it was that he constructed a substantial thorn
boma, and rigged a thatched shelter within it, where he
might sleep by night in security, and from which he
sallied forth by day to hunt the flesh which alone
could return to his giant thews their normal prowess.

One day, as he hunted, a pair of savage eyes discovered
him from the concealment of the branches of a great
tree beneath which the black warrior passed.
Bloodshot, wicked eyes they were, set in a fierce and
hairy face.

They watched Mugambi make his little kill of a small
rodent, and they followed him as he returned to his
hut, their owner moving quietly through the trees upon
the trail of the Negro.

The creature was Chulk, and he looked down upon the
unconscious man more in curiosity than in hate.  The
wearing of the Arab burnoose which Tarzan had placed
upon his person had aroused in the mind of the
anthropoid a desire for similar mimicry of the
Tarmangani.  The burnoose, though, had obstructed his
movements and proven such a nuisance that the ape had
long since torn it from him and thrown it away.

Now, however, he saw a Gomangani arrayed in less
cumbersome apparel--a loin cloth, a few copper
ornaments and a feather headdress.  These were more in
line with Chulk's desires than a flowing robe which was
constantly getting between one's legs, and catching
upon every limb and bush along the leafy trail.

Chulk eyed the pouch, which, suspended over Mugambi's
shoulder, swung beside his black hip.  This took his
fancy, for it was ornamented with feathers and a
fringe, and so the ape hung about Mugambi's boma,
waiting an opportunity to seize either by stealth or
might some object of the black's apparel.

Nor was it long before the opportunity came.  Feeling
safe within his thorny enclosure, Mugambi was wont to
stretch himself in the shade of his shelter during the
heat of the day, and sleep in peaceful security until
the declining sun carried with it the enervating
temperature of midday.

Watching from above, Chulk saw the black warrior
stretched thus in the unconsciousness of sleep one
sultry afternoon.  Creeping out upon an overhanging
branch the anthropoid dropped to the ground within the
boma.  He approached the sleeper upon padded feet which
gave forth no sound, and with an uncanny woodcraft that
rustled not a leaf or a grass blade.

Pausing beside the man, the ape bent over and examined
his belongings.  Great as was the strength of Chulk
there lay in the back of his little brain a something
which deterred him from arousing the man to combat--a
sense that is inherent in all the lower orders, a
strange fear of man, that rules even the most powerful
of the jungle creatures at times.

To remove Mugambi's loin cloth without awakening him
would be impossible, and the only detachable things
were the knob-stick and the pouch, which had fallen
from the black's shoulder as he rolled in sleep.

Seizing these two articles, as better than nothing at
all, Chulk retreated with haste, and every indication
of nervous terror, to the safety of the tree from which
he had dropped, and, still haunted by that indefinable
terror which the close proximity of man awakened in his
breast, fled precipitately through the jungle.  Aroused
by attack, or supported by the presence of another of
his kind, Chulk could have braved the presence of a
score of human beings, but alone--ah, that was a
different matter--alone, and unenraged.

It was some time after Mugambi awoke that he missed the
pouch.  Instantly he was all excitement.  What could
have become of it?  It had been at his side when he lay
down to sleep--of that he was certain, for had he not
pushed it from beneath him when its bulging bulk,
pressing against his ribs, caused him discomfort?  Yes,
it had been there when he lay down to sleep.  How then
had it vanished?

Mugambi's savage imagination was filled with visions of
the spirits of departed friends and enemies, for only
to the machinations of such as these could he attribute
the disappearance of his pouch and knob-stick in the
first excitement of the discovery of their loss; but
later and more careful investigation, such as his
woodcraft made possible, revealed indisputable evidence
of a more material explanation than his excited fancy
and superstition had at first led him to accept.

In the trampled turf beside him was the faint impress
of huge, manlike feet.  Mugambi raised his brows as the
truth dawned upon him.  Hastily leaving the boma he
searched in all directions about the enclosure for some
farther sign of the tell-tale spoor.  He climbed trees
and sought for evidence of the direction of the thief's
flight; but the faint signs left by a wary ape who
elects to travel through the trees eluded the woodcraft
of Mugambi.  Tarzan might have followed them; but no
ordinary mortal could perceive them, or perceiving,
translate.

The black, now strengthened and refreshed by his rest,
felt ready to set out again for Waziri, and finding
himself another knob-stick, turned his back upon the
river and plunged into the mazes of the jungle.

As Taglat struggled with the bonds which secured the
ankles and wrists of his captive, the great lion that
eyed the two from behind a nearby clump of bushes
wormed closer to his intended prey.

The ape's back was toward the lion.  He did not see the
broad head, fringed by its rough mane, protruding
through the leafy wall.  He could not know that the
powerful hind paws were gathering close beneath the
tawny belly preparatory to a sudden spring, and his
first intimation of impending danger was the thunderous
and triumphant roar which the charging lion could no
longer suppress.

Scarce pausing for a backward glance, Taglat abandoned
the unconscious woman and fled in the opposite
direction from the horrid sound which had broken in so
unexpected and terrifying a manner upon his startled
ears; but the warning had come too late to save him,
and the lion, in his second bound, alighted full upon
the broad shoulders of the anthropoid.

As the great bull went down there was awakened in him
to the full all the cunning, all the ferocity, all the
physical prowess which obey the mightiest of the
fundamental laws of nature, the law of self-preservation,
and turning upon his back he closed with
the carnivore in a death struggle so fearless and
abandoned, that for a moment the great Numa himself may
have trembled for the outcome.

Seizing the lion by the mane, Taglat buried his
yellowed fangs deep in the monster's throat, growling
hideously through the muffled gag of blood and hair.
Mixed with the ape's voice the lion's roars of rage and
pain reverberated through the jungle, till the lesser
creatures of the wild, startled from their peaceful
pursuits, scurried fearfully away.

Rolling over and over upon the turf the two battled
with demoniac fury, until the colossal cat, by doubling
his hind paws far up beneath his belly sank his talons
deep into Taglat's chest, then, ripping downward with
all his strength, Numa accomplished his design, and the
disemboweled anthropoid, with a last spasmodic
struggle, relaxed in limp and bloody dissolution
beneath his titanic adversary.

Scrambling to his feet, Numa looked about quickly in
all directions, as though seeking to detect the
possible presence of other foes; but only the still and
unconscious form of the girl, lying a few paces from
him met his gaze, and with an angry growl he placed a
forepaw upon the body of his kill and raising his head
gave voice to his savage victory cry.

For another moment he stood with fierce eyes roving to
and fro about the clearing.  At last they halted for a
second time upon the girl.  A low growl rumbled from
the lion's throat.  His lower jaw rose and fell, and
the slaver drooled and dripped upon the dead face of
Taglat.

Like two yellow-green augurs, wide and unblinking, the
terrible eyes remained fixed upon Jane Clayton.  The
erect and majestic pose of the great frame shrank
suddenly into a sinister crouch as, slowly and gently
as one who treads on eggs, the devil-faced cat crept
forward toward the girl.

Beneficent Fate maintained her in happy unconsciousness
of the dread presence sneaking stealthily upon her.
She did not know when the lion paused at her side.
She did not hear the sniffing of his nostrils as he smelled
about her.  She did not feel the heat of the fetid
breath upon her face, nor the dripping of the saliva
from the frightful jaws half opened so close above her.

Finally the lion lifted a forepaw and turned the body
of the girl half over, then he stood again eyeing her
as though still undetermined whether life was extinct
or not.  Some noise or odor from the nearby jungle
attracted his attention for a moment.  His eyes did not
again return to Jane Clayton, and presently he left
her, walked over to the remains of Taglat, and
crouching down upon his kill with his back toward the
girl, proceeded to devour the ape.

It was upon this scene that Jane Clayton at last opened
her eyes.  Inured to danger, she maintained her
self-possession in the face of the startling surprise
which her new-found consciousness revealed to her.  She
neither cried out nor moved a muscle, until she had
taken in every detail of the scene which lay within the
range of her vision.

She saw that the lion had killed the ape, and that he
was devouring his prey less than fifty feet from where
she lay; but what could she do?  Her hands and feet were
bound.  She must wait then, in what patience she could
command, until Numa had eaten and digested the ape,
when, without doubt, he would return to feast upon her,
unless, in the meantime, the dread hyenas should
discover her, or some other of the numerous prowling
carnivora of the jungle.

As she lay tormented by these frightful thoughts, she
suddenly became conscious that the bonds at her wrists
and ankles no longer hurt her, and then of the fact
that her hands were separated, one lying upon either
side of her, instead of both being confined at her back.

Wonderingly she moved a hand.  What miracle had been
performed?  It was not bound!  Stealthily and noiselessly
she moved her other limbs, only to discover that she
was free.  She could not know how the thing had
happened, that Taglat, gnawing upon them for sinister
purposes of his own, had cut them through but an
instant before Numa had frightened him from his victim.

For a moment Jane Clayton was overwhelmed with joy and
thanksgiving; but only for a moment.  What good was her
new-found liberty in the face of the frightful beast
crouching so close beside her?  If she could have had
this chance under different conditions, how happily she
would have taken advantage of it; but now it was given
to her when escape was practically impossible.

The nearest tree was a hundred feet away, the lion less
than fifty.  To rise and attempt to reach the safety of
those tantalizing branches would be but to invite
instant destruction, for Numa would doubtless be too
jealous of this future meal to permit it to escape with
ease.  And yet, too, there was another possibility--a
chance which hinged entirely upon the unknown temper of
the great beast.

His belly already partially filled, he might watch with
indifference the departure of the girl; yet could she
afford to chance so improbable a contingency?  She
doubted it.  Upon the other hand she was no more minded
to allow this frail opportunity for life to entirely
elude her without taking or attempting to take some
advantage from it.

She watched the lion narrowly.  He could not see her
without turning his head more than halfway around.  She
would attempt a ruse.  Silently she rolled over in the
direction of the nearest tree, and away from the lion,
until she lay again in the same position in which Numa
had left her, but a few feet farther from him.

Here she lay breathless watching the lion; but the
beast gave no indication that he had heard aught to
arouse his suspicions.  Again she rolled over, gaining
a few more feet and again she lay in rigid
contemplation of the beast's back.

During what seemed hours to her tense nerves, Jane
Clayton continued these tactics, and still the lion fed
on in apparent unconsciousness that his second prey was
escaping him.  Already the girl was but a few paces
from the tree--a moment more and she would be close
enough to chance springing to her feet, throwing
caution aside and making a sudden, bold dash for
safety.  She was halfway over in her turn, her face
away from the lion, when he suddenly turned his great
head and fastened his eyes upon her.  He saw her roll
over upon her side away from him, and then her eyes
were turned again toward him, and the cold sweat broke
from the girl's every pore as she realized that with
life almost within her grasp, death had found her out.

For a long time neither the girl nor the lion moved.
The beast lay motionless, his head turned upon his
shoulders and his glaring eyes fixed upon the rigid
victim, now nearly fifty yards away.  The girl stared
back straight into those cruel orbs, daring not to move
even a muscle.

The strain upon her nerves was becoming so unbearable
that she could scarcely restrain a growing desire to
scream, when Numa deliberately turned back to the
business of feeding; but his back-layed ears attested a
sinister regard for the actions of the girl behind him.

Realizing that she could not again turn without
attracting his immediate and perhaps fatal attention,
Jane Clayton resolved to risk all in one last attempt
to reach the tree and clamber to the lower branches.

Gathering herself stealthily for the effort, she leaped
suddenly to her feet, but almost simultaneously the
lion sprang up, wheeled and with wide-distended jaws
and terrific roars, charged swiftly down upon her.

Those who have spent lifetimes hunting the big game of
Africa will tell you that scarcely any other creature
in the world attains the speed of a charging lion.
For the short distance that the great cat can maintain it,
it resembles nothing more closely than the onrushing of
a giant locomotive under full speed, and so, though the
distance that Jane Clayton must cover was relatively
small, the terrific speed of the lion rendered her
hopes of escape almost negligible.

Yet fear can work wonders, and though the upward spring
of the lion as he neared the tree into which she was
scrambling brought his talons in contact with her boots
she eluded his raking grasp, and as he hurtled against
the bole of her sanctuary, the girl drew herself into
the safety of the branches above his reach.

For some time the lion paced, growling and moaning,
beneath the tree in which Jane Clayton crouched,
panting and trembling.  The girl was a prey to the
nervous reaction from the frightful ordeal through
which she had so recently passed, and in her
overwrought state it seemed that never again should she
dare descend to the ground among the fearsome dangers
which infested the broad stretch of jungle that she
knew must lie between herself and the nearest village
of her faithful Waziri.

It was almost dark before the lion finally quit the
clearing, and even had his place beside the remnants of
the mangled ape not been immediately usurped by a pack
of hyenas, Jane Clayton would scarcely have dared
venture from her refuge in the face of impending night,
and so she composed herself as best she could for the
long and tiresome wait, until daylight might offer some
means of escape from the dread vicinity in which she
had witnessed such terrifying adventures.

Tired nature at last overcame even her fears, and she
dropped into a deep slumber, cradled in a comparatively
safe, though rather uncomfortable, position against the
bole of the tree, and supported by two large branches
which grew outward, almost horizontally, but a few
inches apart.

The sun was high in the heavens when she at last awoke,
and beneath her was no sign either of Numa or the
hyenas.  Only the clean-picked bones of the ape,
scattered about the ground, attested the fact of what
had transpired in this seemingly peaceful spot but a
few hours before.

Both hunger and thirst assailed her now, and realizing
that she must descend or die of starvation, she at last
summoned courage to undertake the ordeal of continuing
her journey through the jungle.

Descending from the tree, she set out in a southerly
direction, toward the point where she believed the
plains of Waziri lay, and though she knew that only
ruin and desolation marked the spot where once her
happy home had stood, she hoped that by coming to the
broad plain she might eventually reach one of the
numerous Waziri villages that were scattered over the
surrounding country, or chance upon a roving band of
these indefatigable huntsmen.

The day was half spent when there broke unexpectedly
upon her startled ears the sound of a rifle shot not
far ahead of her.  As she paused to listen, this first
shot was followed by another and another and another.
What could it mean?  The first explanation which sprung
to her mind attributed the firing to an encounter
between the Arab raiders and a party of Waziri; but as
she did not know upon which side victory might rest, or
whether she were behind friend or foe, she dared not
advance nearer on the chance of revealing herself to an
enemy.

After listening for several minutes she became
convinced that no more than two or three rifles were
engaged in the fight, since nothing approximating the
sound of a volley reached her ears; but still she
hesitated to approach, and at last, determining to take
no chance, she climbed into the concealing foliage of a
tree beside the trail she had been following and there
fearfully awaited whatever might reveal itself.

As the firing became less rapid she caught the sound of
men's voices, though she could distinguish no words,
and at last the reports of the guns ceased, and she
heard two men calling to each other in loud tones.
Then there was a long silence which was finally broken
by the stealthy padding of footfalls on the trail ahead
of her, and in another moment a man appeared in view
backing toward her, a rifle ready in his hands, and his
eyes directed in careful watchfulness along the way
that he had come.

Almost instantly Jane Clayton recognized the man as M.
Jules Frecoult, who so recently had been a guest in her
home.  She was upon the point of calling to him in glad
relief when she saw him leap quickly to one side and
hide himself in the thick verdure at the trail's side.
It was evident that he was being followed by an enemy,
and so Jane Clayton kept silent, lest she distract
Frecoult's attention, or guide his foe to his hiding
place.

Scarcely had Frecoult hidden himself than the figure of
a white-robed Arab crept silently along the trail in
pursuit.  From her hiding place, Jane Clayton could see
both men plainly.  She recognized Achmet Zek as the
leader of the band of ruffians who had raided her home
and made her a prisoner, and as she saw Frecoult, the
supposed friend and ally, raise his gun and take
careful aim at the Arab, her heart stood still and
every power of her soul was directed upon a fervent
prayer for the accuracy of his aim.

Achmet Zek paused in the middle of the trail.  His keen
eyes scanned every bush and tree within the radius of
his vision.  His tall figure presented a perfect target
to the perfidious assassin.  There was a sharp report,
and a little puff of smoke arose from the bush that hid
the Belgian, as Achmet Zek stumbled forward and
pitched, face down, upon the trail.

As Werper stepped back into the trail, he was startled
by the sound of a glad cry from above him, and as he
wheeled about to discover the author of this unexpected
interruption, he saw Jane Clayton drop lightly from a
nearby tree and run forward with outstretched hands to
congratulate him upon his victory.



20

Jane Clayton Again a Prisoner


Though her clothes were torn and her hair disheveled,
Albert Werper realized that he never before had looked
upon such a vision of loveliness as that which Lady
Greystoke presented in the relief and joy which she
felt in coming so unexpectedly upon a friend and
rescuer when hope had seemed so far away.

If the Belgian had entertained any doubts as to the
woman's knowledge of his part in the perfidious attack
upon her home and herself, it was quickly dissipated by
the genuine friendliness of her greeting.  She told him
quickly of all that had befallen her since he had
departed from her home, and as she spoke of the death
of her husband her eyes were veiled by the tears which
she could not repress.

"I am shocked," said Werper, in well-simulated
sympathy; "but I am not surprised.  That devil there,"
and he pointed toward the body of Achmet Zek, "has
terrorized the entire country.  Your Waziri are either
exterminated, or have been driven out of their country,
far to the south.  The men of Achmet Zek occupy the
plain about your former home--there is neither
sanctuary nor escape in that direction.  Our only hope
lies in traveling northward as rapidly as we may, of
coming to the camp of the raiders before the knowledge
of Achmet Zek's death reaches those who were left
there, and of obtaining, through some ruse, an escort
toward the north.

"I think that the thing can be accomplished, for I was
a guest of the raider's before I knew the nature of the
man, and those at the camp are not aware that I turned
against him when I discovered his villainy.

"Come!  We will make all possible haste to reach the
camp before those who accompanied Achmet Zek upon his
last raid have found his body and carried the news of
his death to the cut-throats who remained behind.  It
is our only hope, Lady Greystoke, and you must place
your entire faith in me if I am to succeed.  Wait for
me here a moment while I take from the Arab's body the
wallet that he stole from me," and Werper stepped
quickly to the dead man's side, and, kneeling, sought
with quick fingers the pouch of jewels.  To his
consternation, there was no sign of them in the
garments of Achmet Zek.  Rising, he walked back along
the trail, searching for some trace of the missing
pouch or its contents; but he found nothing, even
though he searched carefully the vicinity of his dead
horse, and for a few paces into the jungle on either
side.  Puzzled, disappointed and angry, he at last
returned to the girl.  "The wallet is gone," he
explained, crisply, "and I dare not delay longer in
search of it. We must reach the camp before the
returning raiders."

Unsuspicious of the man's true character, Jane Clayton
saw nothing peculiar in his plans, or in his specious
explanation of his former friendship for the raider,
and so she grasped with alacrity the seeming hope for
safety which he proffered her, and turning about she
set out with Albert Werper toward the hostile camp in
which she so lately had been a prisoner.

It was late in the afternoon of the second day before
they reached their destination, and as they paused upon
the edge of the clearing before the gates of the walled
village, Werper cautioned the girl to accede to
whatever he might suggest by his conversation with the
raiders.

"I shall tell them," he said, "that I apprehended you
after you escaped from the camp, that I took you to
Achmet Zek, and that as he was engaged in a stubborn
battle with the Waziri, he directed me to return to
camp with you, to obtain here a sufficient guard, and
to ride north with you as rapidly as possible and
dispose of you at the most advantageous terms to a
certain slave broker whose name he gave me."

Again the girl was deceived by the apparent frankness
of the Belgian.  She realized that desperate situations
required desperate handling, and though she trembled
inwardly at the thought of again entering the vile and
hideous village of the raiders she saw no better course
than that which her companion had suggested.

Calling aloud to those who tended the gates, Werper,
grasping Jane Clayton by the arm, walked boldly across
the clearing.  Those who opened the gates to him
permitted their surprise to show clearly in their
expressions.  That the discredited and hunted
lieutenant should be thus returning fearlessly of his
own volition, seemed to disarm them quite as
effectually as his manner toward Lady Greystoke had
deceived her.

The sentries at the gate returned Werper's salutations,
and viewed with astonishment the prisoner whom he
brought into the village with him.

Immediately the Belgian sought the Arab who had been
left in charge of the camp during Achmet Zek's absence,
and again his boldness disarmed suspicion and won the
acceptance of his false explanation of his return.
The fact that he had brought back with him the woman
prisoner who had escaped, added strength to his claims,
and Mohammed Beyd soon found himself fraternizing
good-naturedly with the very man whom he would have slain
without compunction had he discovered him alone in the
jungle a half hour before.

Jane Clayton was again confined to the prison hut she
had formerly occupied, but as she realized that this
was but a part of the deception which she and Frecoult
were playing upon the credulous raiders, it was with
quite a different sensation that she again entered the
vile and filthy interior, from that which she had
previously experienced, when hope was so far away.

Once more she was bound and sentries placed before the
door of her prison; but before Werper left her he
whispered words of cheer into her ear.  Then he left,
and made his way back to the tent of Mohammed Beyd.
He had been wondering how long it would be before the
raiders who had ridden out with Achmet Zek would return
with the murdered body of their chief, and the more he
thought upon the matter the greater his fears became,
that without accomplices his plan would fail.

What, even, if he got away from the camp in safety
before any returned with the true story of his guilt--
of what value would this advantage be other than to
protract for a few days his mental torture and his
life?  These hard riders, familiar with every trail and
bypath, would get him long before he could hope to
reach the coast.

As these thoughts passed through his mind he entered
the tent where Mohammed Beyd sat cross-legged upon a
rug, smoking.  The Arab looked up as the European came
into his presence.

"Greetings, O Brother!" he said.

"Greetings!" replied Werper.

For a while neither spoke further.  The Arab was the
first to break the silence.

"And my master, Achmet Zek, was well when last you saw
him?" he asked.

"Never was he safer from the sins and dangers of
mortality," replied the Belgian.

"It is well," said Mohammed Beyd, blowing a little puff
of blue smoke straight out before him.

Again there was silence for several minutes.

"And if he were dead?" asked the Belgian, determined to
lead up to the truth, and attempt to bribe Mohammed
Beyd into his service.

The Arab's eyes narrowed and he leaned forward, his
gaze boring straight into the eyes of the Belgian.

"I have been thinking much, Werper, since you returned
so unexpectedly to the camp of the man whom you had
deceived, and who sought you with death in his heart.
I have been with Achmet Zek for many years--his own
mother never knew him so well as I. He never forgives--
much less would he again trust a man who had once
betrayed him; that I know.

"I have thought much, as I said, and the result of my
thinking has assured me that Achmet Zek is dead--for
otherwise you would never have dared return to his
camp, unless you be either a braver man or a bigger
fool than I have imagined.  And, if this evidence of my
judgment is not sufficient, I have but just now
received from your own lips even more confirmatory
witness--for did you not say that Achmet Zek was never
more safe from the sins and dangers of mortality?

"Achmet Zek is dead--you need not deny it.  I was not
his mother, or his mistress, so do not fear that my
wailings shall disturb you.  Tell me why you have come
back here. Tell me what you want, and, Werper, if you
still possess the jewels of which Achmet Zek told me,
there is no reason why you and I should not ride north
together and divide the ransom of the white woman and
the contents of the pouch you wear about your person. Eh?"

The evil eyes narrowed, a vicious, thin-lipped smile
tortured the villainous face, as Mohammed Beyd grinned
knowingly into the face of the Belgian.

Werper was both relieved and disturbed by the Arab's
attitude.  The complacency with which he accepted the
death of his chief lifted a considerable burden of
apprehension from the shoulders of Achmet Zek's
assassin; but his demand for a share of the jewels
boded ill for Werper when Mohammed Beyd should have
learned that the precious stones were no longer in the
Belgian's possession.

To acknowledge that he had lost the jewels might be to
arouse the wrath or suspicion of the Arab to such an
extent as would jeopardize his new-found chances of
escape.  His one hope seemed, then, to lie in fostering
Mohammed Beyd's belief that the jewels were still in
his possession, and depend upon the accidents of the
future to open an avenue of escape.

Could he contrive to tent with the Arab upon the march
north, he might find opportunity in plenty to remove
this menace to his life and liberty--it was worth
trying, and, further, there seemed no other way out of
his difficulty.

"Yes," he said, "Achmet Zek is dead.  He fell in battle
with a company of Abyssinian cavalry that held me
captive.  During the fighting I escaped; but I doubt if
any of Achmet Zek's men live, and the gold they sought
is in the possession of the Abyssinians.  Even now they
are doubtless marching on this camp, for they were sent
by Menelek to punish Achmet Zek and his followers for a
raid upon an Abyssinian village.  There are many of
them, and if we do not make haste to escape we shall
all suffer the same fate as Achmet Zek."

Mohammed Beyd listened in silence.  How much of the
unbeliever's story he might safely believe he did not
know; but as it afforded him an excuse for deserting
the village and making for the north he was not
inclined to cross-question the Belgian too minutely.

"And if I ride north with you," he asked, "half the
jewels and half the ransom of the woman shall be mine?"

"Yes," replied Werper.

"Good," said Mohammed Beyd.  "I go now to give the
order for the breaking of camp early on the morrow,"
and he rose to leave the tent.

Werper laid a detaining hand upon his arm.

"Wait," he said, "let us determine how many shall
accompany us.  It is not well that we be burdened by
the women and children, for then indeed we might be
overtaken by the Abyssinians.  It would be far better
to select a small guard of your bravest men, and leave
word behind that we are riding WEST.  Then, when
the Abyssinians come they will be put upon the wrong
trail should they have it in their hearts to pursue us,
and if they do not they will at least ride north with
less rapidity than as though they thought that we were
ahead of them."

"The serpent is less wise than thou, Werper," said
Mohammed Beyd with a smile.  "It shall be done as you
say.  Twenty men shall accompany us, and we shall ride
WEST--when we leave the village."

"Good," cried the Belgian, and so it was arranged.

Early the next morning Jane Clayton, after an almost
sleepless night, was aroused by the sound of voices
outside her prison, and a moment later, M. Frecoult,
and two Arabs entered.  The latter unbound her ankles
and lifted her to her feet.  Then her wrists were
loosed, she was given a handful of dry bread, and led
out into the faint light of dawn.

She looked questioningly at Frecoult, and at a moment
that the Arab's attention was attracted in another
direction the man leaned toward her and whispered that
all was working out as he had planned.  Thus assured,
the young woman felt a renewal of the hope which the
long and miserable night of bondage had almost expunged.

Shortly after, she was lifted to the back of a horse,
and surrounded by Arabs, was escorted through the
gateway of the village and off into the jungle toward
the west.  Half an hour later the party turned north,
and northerly was their direction for the balance of
the march.

M. Frecoult spoke with her but seldom, and she
understood that in carrying out his deception he must
maintain the semblance of her captor, rather than
protector, and so she suspected nothing though she saw
the friendly relations which seemed to exist between
the European and the Arab leader of the band.

If Werper succeeded in keeping himself from
conversation with the young woman, he failed signally
to expel her from his thoughts.  A hundred times a day
he found his eyes wandering in her direction and
feasting themselves upon her charms of face and figure.
Each hour his infatuation for her grew, until his
desire to possess her gained almost the proportions of
madness.

If either the girl or Mohammed Beyd could have guessed
what passed in the mind of the man which each thought a
friend and ally, the apparent harmony of the little
company would have been rudely disturbed.

Werper had not succeeded in arranging to tent with
Mohammed Beyd, and so he revolved many plans for the
assassination of the Arab that would have been greatly
simplified had he been permitted to share the other's
nightly shelter.

Upon the second day out Mohammed Beyd reined his horse
to the side of the animal on which the captive was
mounted.  It was, apparently, the first notice which
the Arab had taken of the girl; but many times during
these two days had his cunning eyes peered greedily
from beneath the hood of his burnoose to gloat upon the
beauties of the prisoner.

Nor was this hidden infatuation of any recent origin.
He had conceived it when first the wife of the
Englishman had fallen into the hands of Achmet Zek; but
while that austere chieftain lived, Mohammed Beyd had
not even dared hope for a realization of his
imaginings.

Now, though, it was different--only a despised dog of a
Christian stood between himself and possession of the
girl.  How easy it would be to slay the unbeliever, and
take unto himself both the woman and the jewels!  With
the latter in his possession, the ransom which might be
obtained for the captive would form no great inducement
to her relinquishment in the face of the pleasures of
sole ownership of her.  Yes, he would kill Werper,
retain all the jewels and keep the Englishwoman.

He turned his eyes upon her as she rode along at his
side.  How beautiful she was!  His fingers opened and
closed--skinny, brown talons itching to feel the soft
flesh of the victim in their remorseless clutch.

"Do you know," he asked leaning toward her, "where this
man would take you?"

Jane Clayton nodded affirmatively.

"And you are willing to become the plaything of a black
sultan?"

The girl drew herself up to her full height, and turned
her head away; but she did not reply.  She feared lest
her knowledge of the ruse that M. Frecoult was playing
upon the Arab might cause her to betray herself through
an insufficient display of terror and aversion.

"You can escape this fate," continued the Arab;
"Mohammed Beyd will save you," and he reached out a
brown hand and seized the fingers of her right hand in
a grasp so sudden and so fierce that this brutal
passion was revealed as clearly in the act as though
his lips had confessed it in words. Jane Clayton
wrenched herself from his grasp.

"You beast!" she cried.  "Leave me or I shall call M.
Frecoult."

Mohammed Beyd drew back with a scowl.  His thin, upper
lip curled upward, revealing his smooth, white teeth.

"M. Frecoult?" he jeered.  "There is no such person.
The man's name is Werper.  He is a liar, a thief, and a
murderer.  He killed his captain in the Congo country
and fled to the protection of Achmet Zek.  He led
Achmet Zek to the plunder of your home.  He followed
your husband, and planned to steal his gold from him.
He has told me that you think him your protector, and
he has played upon this to win your confidence that it
might be easier to carry you north and sell you into
some black sultan's harem.  Mohammed Beyd is your only
hope," and with this assertion to provide the captive
with food for thought, the Arab spurred forward toward
the head of the column.

Jane Clayton could not know how much of Mohammed Beyd's
indictment might be true, or how much false; but at
least it had the effect of dampening her hopes and
causing her to review with suspicion every past act of
the man upon whom she had been looking as her sole
protector in the midst of a world of enemies and
dangers.

On the march a separate tent had been provided for the
captive, and at night it was pitched between those of
Mohammed Beyd and Werper.  A sentry was posted at the
front and another at the back, and with these
precautions it had not been thought necessary to
confine the prisoner to bonds.  The evening following
her interview with Mohammed Beyd, Jane Clayton sat for
some time at the opening of her tent watching the rough
activities of the camp.  She had eaten the meal that
had been brought her by Mohammed Beyd's Negro slave--a
meal of cassava cakes and a nondescript stew in which a
new-killed monkey, a couple of squirrels and the
remains of a zebra, slain the previous day, were
impartially and unsavorily combined; but the one-time
Baltimore belle had long since submerged in the stern
battle for existence, an estheticism which formerly
revolted at much slighter provocation.

As the girl's eyes wandered across the trampled jungle
clearing, already squalid from the presence of man, she
no longer apprehended either the nearer objects of the
foreground, the uncouth men laughing or quarreling
among themselves, or the jungle beyond, which
circumscribed the extreme range of her material vision.
Her gaze passed through all these, unseeing, to center
itself upon a distant bungalow and scenes of happy
security which brought to her eyes tears of mingled joy
and sorrow.  She saw a tall, broad-shouldered man
riding in from distant fields; she saw herself waiting
to greet him with an armful of fresh-cut roses from the
bushes which flanked the little rustic gate before her.
All this was gone, vanished into the past, wiped out by
the torches and bullets and hatred of these hideous and
degenerate men.  With a stifled sob, and a little
shudder, Jane Clayton turned back into her tent and
sought the pile of unclean blankets which were her bed.
Throwing herself face downward upon them she sobbed
forth her misery until kindly sleep brought her, at
least temporary, relief.

And while she slept a figure stole from the tent that
stood to the right of hers.  It approached the sentry
before the doorway and whispered a few words in the
man's ear.  The latter nodded, and strode off through
the darkness in the direction of his own blankets.
The figure passed to the rear of Jane Clayton's tent
and spoke again to the sentry there, and this man also
left, following in the trail of the first.

Then he who had sent them away stole silently to the
tent flap and untying the fastenings entered with the
noiselessness of a disembodied spirit.



21

The Flight to the Jungle


Sleepless upon his blankets, Albert Werper let his evil
mind dwell upon the charms of the woman in the nearby
tent.  He had noted Mohammed Beyd's sudden interest in
the girl, and judging the man by his own standards, had
guessed at the basis of the Arab's sudden change of
attitude toward the prisoner.

And as he let his imaginings run riot they aroused
within him a bestial jealousy of Mohammed Beyd, and a
great fear that the other might encompass his base
designs upon the defenseless girl.  By a strange
process of reasoning, Werper, whose designs were
identical with the Arab's, pictured himself as Jane
Clayton's protector, and presently convinced himself
that the attentions which might seem hideous to her
if proffered by Mohammed Beyd, would be welcomed from
Albert Werper.

Her husband was dead, and Werper fancied that he could
replace in the girl's heart the position which had been
vacated by the act of the grim reaper.  He could offer
Jane Clayton marriage--a thing which Mohammed Beyd
would not offer, and which the girl would spurn from
him with as deep disgust as she would his unholy lust.

It was not long before the Belgian had succeeded in
convincing himself that the captive not only had every
reason for having conceived sentiments of love for him;
but that she had by various feminine methods
acknowledged her new-born affection.

And then a sudden resolution possessed him.  He threw
the blankets from him and rose to his feet.  Pulling on
his boots and buckling his cartridge belt and revolver
about his hips he stepped to the flap of his tent and
looked out.  There was no sentry before the entrance to
the prisoner's tent!  What could it mean?  Fate was
indeed playing into his hands.

Stepping outside he passed to the rear of the girl's
tent.  There was no sentry there, either!  And now,
boldly, he walked to the entrance and stepped within.

Dimly the moonlight illumined the interior.  Across the
tent a figure bent above the blankets of a bed.  There
was a whispered word, and another figure rose from the
blankets to a sitting position.  Slowly Albert Werper's
eyes were becoming accustomed to the half darkness of
the tent.  He saw that the figure leaning over the bed
was that of a man, and he guessed at the truth of the
nocturnal visitor's identity.

A sullen, jealous rage enveloped him.  He took a step
in the direction of the two.  He heard a frightened cry
break from the girl's lips as she recognized the
features of the man above her, and he saw Mohammed Beyd
seize her by the throat and bear her back upon the
blankets.

Cheated passion cast a red blur before the eyes of the
Belgian.  No!  The man should not have her.  She was for
him and him alone.  He would not be robbed of his rights.

Quickly he ran across the tent and threw himself upon
the back of Mohammed Beyd.  The latter, though
surprised by this sudden and unexpected attack, was not
one to give up without a battle.  The Belgian's fingers
were feeling for his throat, but the Arab tore them
away, and rising wheeled upon his adversary.  As they
faced each other Werper struck the Arab a heavy blow in
the face, sending him staggering backward.  If he had
followed up his advantage he would have had Mohammed
Beyd at his mercy in another moment; but instead he
tugged at his revolver to draw it from its holster, and
Fate ordained that at that particular moment the weapon
should stick in its leather scabbard.

Before he could disengage it, Mohammed Beyd had
recovered himself and was dashing upon him.  Again
Werper struck the other in the face, and the Arab
returned the blow.  Striking at each other and
ceaselessly attempting to clinch, the two battled
about the small interior of the tent, while the girl,
wide-eyed in terror and astonishment, watched the
duel in frozen silence.

Again and again Werper struggled to draw his weapon.
Mohammed Beyd, anticipating no such opposition to his
base desires, had come to the tent unarmed, except for
a long knife which he now drew as he stood panting
during the first brief rest of the encounter.

"Dog of a Christian," he whispered, "look upon this
knife in the hands of Mohammed Beyd!  Look well,
unbeliever, for it is the last thing in life that you
shall see or feel.  With it Mohammed Beyd will cut out
your black heart.  If you have a God pray to him now--
in a minute more you shall be dead," and with that he
rushed viciously upon the Belgian, his knife raised
high above his head.

Werper was still dragging futilely at his weapon.  The
Arab was almost upon him.  In desperation the European
waited until Mohammed Beyd was all but against him,
then he threw himself to one side to the floor of the
tent, leaving a leg extended in the path of the Arab.

The trick succeeded.  Mohammed Beyd, carried on by the
momentum of his charge, stumbled over the projecting
obstacle and crashed to the ground.  Instantly he was
up again and wheeling to renew the battle; but Werper
was on foot ahead of him, and now his revolver,
loosened from its holster, flashed in his hand.

The Arab dove headfirst to grapple with him, there was
a sharp report, a lurid gleam of flame in the darkness,
and Mohammed Beyd rolled over and over upon the floor
to come to a final rest beside the bed of the woman he
had sought to dishonor.

Almost immediately following the report came the sound
of excited voices in the camp without.  Men were
calling back and forth to one another asking the
meaning of the shot.  Werper could hear them running
hither and thither, investigating.

Jane Clayton had risen to her feet as the Arab died,
and now she came forward with outstretched hands toward
Werper.

"How can I ever thank you, my friend?" she asked.
"And to think that only today I had almost believed the
infamous story which this beast told me of your perfidy
and of your past.  Forgive me, M. Frecoult.  I might
have known that a white man and a gentleman could be
naught else than the protector of a woman of his own
race amid the dangers of this savage land."

Werper's hands dropped limply at his sides.  He stood
looking at the girl; but he could find no words to
reply to her.  Her innocent arraignment of his true
purposes was unanswerable.

Outside, the Arabs were searching for the author of
the disturbing shot.  The two sentries who had been
relieved and sent to their blankets by Mohammed Beyd
were the first to suggest going to the tent of the
prisoner.  It occurred to them that possibly the woman
had successfully defended herself against their leader.

Werper heard the men approaching.  To be apprehended as
the slayer of Mohammed Beyd would be equivalent to a
sentence of immediate death.  The fierce and brutal
raiders would tear to pieces a Christian who had dared
spill the blood of their leader.  He must find some
excuse to delay the finding of Mohammed Beyd's dead
body.

Returning his revolver to its holster, he walked
quickly to the entrance of the tent.  Parting the flaps
he stepped out and confronted the men, who were rapidly
approaching.  Somehow he found within him the necessary
bravado to force a smile to his lips, as he held up his
hand to bar their farther progress.

"The woman resisted," he said, "and Mohammed Beyd was
forced to shoot her.  She is not dead--only slightly
wounded.  You may go back to your blankets.  Mohammed
Beyd and I will look after the prisoner;" then he
turned and re-entered the tent, and the raiders,
satisfied by this explanation, gladly returned to their
broken slumbers.

As he again faced Jane Clayton, Werper found himself
animated by quite different intentions than those which
had lured him from his blankets but a few minutes
before.  The excitement of his encounter with Mohammed
Beyd, as well as the dangers which he now faced at the
hands of the raiders when morning must inevitably
reveal the truth of what had occurred in the tent of
the prisoner that night, had naturally cooled the hot
passion which had dominated him when he entered the
tent.

But another and stronger force was exerting itself in
the girl's favor.  However low a man may sink, honor
and chivalry, has he ever possessed them, are never
entirely eradicated from his character, and though
Albert Werper had long since ceased to evidence the
slightest claim to either the one or the other, the
spontaneous acknowledgment of them which the girl's
speech had presumed had reawakened them both within
him.

For the first time he realized the almost hopeless and
frightful position of the fair captive, and the depths
of ignominy to which he had sunk, that had made it
possible for him, a well-born, European gentleman, to
have entertained even for a moment the part that he had
taken in the ruin of her home, happiness, and herself.

Too much of baseness already lay at the threshold of
his conscience for him ever to hope entirely to redeem
himself; but in the first, sudden burst of contrition
the man conceived an honest intention to undo, in so
far as lay within his power, the evil that his criminal
avarice had brought upon this sweet and unoffending
woman.

As he stood apparently listening to the retreating
footsteps--Jane Clayton approached him.

"What are we to do now?" she asked.  "Morning will
bring discovery of this," and she pointed to the still
body of Mohammed Beyd.  "They will kill you when they
find him."

For a time Werper did not reply, then he turned
suddenly toward the woman.

"I have a plan," he cried.  "It will require nerve and
courage on your part; but you have already shown that
you possess both.  Can you endure still more?"

"I can endure anything," she replied with a brave
smile, "that may offer us even a slight chance for
escape."

"You must simulate death," he explained, "while I carry
you from the camp.  I will explain to the sentries that
Mohammed Beyd has ordered me to take your body into the
jungle.  This seemingly unnecessary act I shall explain
upon the grounds that Mohammed Beyd had conceived a
violent passion for you and that he so regretted the
act by which he had become your slayer that he could
not endure the silent reproach of your lifeless body."

The girl held up her hand to stop.  A smile touched her
lips.

"Are you quite mad?" she asked.  "Do you imagine that
the sentries will credit any such ridiculous tale?"

"You do not know them," he replied.  "Beneath their
rough exteriors, despite their calloused and criminal
natures, there exists in each a well-defined strain of
romantic emotionalism--you will find it among such as
these throughout the world.  It is romance which lures
men to lead wild lives of outlawry and crime.  The ruse
will succeed--never fear."

Jane Clayton shrugged.  "We can but try it--and then
what?"

"I shall hide you in the jungle," continued the
Belgian, "coming for you alone and with two horses in
the morning."

"But how will you explain Mohammed Beyd's death?" she
asked.  "It will be discovered before ever you can
escape the camp in the morning."

"I shall not explain it," replied Werper.  "Mohammed
Beyd shall explain it himself--we must leave that to
him.  Are you ready for the venture?"

"Yes."

"But wait, I must get you a weapon and ammunition,"
and Werper walked quickly from the tent.

Very shortly he returned with an extra revolver and
ammunition belt strapped about his waist.

"Are you ready?" he asked.

"Quite ready," replied the girl.

"Then come and throw yourself limply across my left
shoulder," and Werper knelt to receive her.

"There," he said, as he rose to his feet.  "Now, let
your arms, your legs and your head hang limply.
Remember that you are dead."

A moment later the man walked out into the camp, the
body of the woman across his shoulder.

A thorn boma had been thrown up about the camp, to
discourage the bolder of the hungry carnivora.  A
couple of sentries paced to and fro in the light of a
fire which they kept burning brightly.  The nearer of
these looked up in surprise as he saw Werper approaching.

"Who are you?" he cried.  "What have you there?"

Werper raised the hood of his burnoose that the fellow
might see his face.

"This is the body of the woman," he explained.
"Mohammed Beyd has asked me to take it into the jungle,
for he cannot bear to look upon the face of her whom he
loved, and whom necessity compelled him to slay.  He
suffers greatly--he is inconsolable.  It was with
difficulty that I prevented him taking his own life."

Across the speaker's shoulder, limp and frightened, the
girl waited for the Arab's reply.  He would laugh at
this preposterous story; of that she was sure.  In an
instant he would unmask the deception that M. Frecoult
was attempting to practice upon him, and they would
both be lost.  She tried to plan how best she might aid
her would-be rescuer in the fight which must most
certainly follow within a moment or two.

Then she heard the voice of the Arab as he replied to
M. Frecoult.

"Are you going alone, or do you wish me to awaken
someone to accompany you?" he asked, and his tone
denoted not the least surprise that Mohammed Beyd had
suddenly discovered such remarkably sensitive
characteristics.

"I shall go alone," replied Werper, and he passed on
and out through the narrow opening in the boma, by
which the sentry stood.

A moment later he had entered among the boles of the
trees with his burden, and when safely hidden from the
sentry's view lowered the girl to her feet, with a low,
"sh-sh," when she would have spoken.

Then he led her a little farther into the forest,
halted beneath a large tree with spreading branches,
buckled a cartridge belt and revolver about her waist,
and assisted her to clamber into the lower branches.

"Tomorrow," he whispered, "as soon as I can elude them,
I will return for you.  Be brave, Lady Greystoke--we
may yet escape."

"Thank you," she replied in a low tone.  "You have been
very kind, and very brave."

Werper did not reply, and the darkness of the night hid
the scarlet flush of shame which swept upward across
his face.  Quickly he turned and made his way back to
camp.  The sentry, from his post, saw him enter his own
tent; but he did not see him crawl under the canvas at
the rear and sneak cautiously to the tent which the
prisoner had occupied, where now lay the dead body of
Mohammed Beyd.

Raising the lower edge of the rear wall, Werper crept
within and approached the corpse.  Without an instant's
hesitation he seized the dead wrists and dragged the
body upon its back to the point where he had just
entered.  On hands and knees he backed out as he had
come in, drawing the corpse after him.  Once outside
the Belgian crept to the side of the tent and surveyed
as much of the camp as lay within his vision--no one
was watching.

Returning to the body, he lifted it to his shoulder,
and risking all on a quick sally, ran swiftly across
the narrow opening which separated the prisoner's tent
from that of the dead man.  Behind the silken wall he
halted and lowered his burden to the ground, and there
he remained motionless for several minutes, listening.

Satisfied, at last, that no one had seen him, he
stooped and raised the bottom of the tent wall, backed
in and dragged the thing that had been Mohammed Beyd
after him.  To the sleeping rugs of the dead raider he
drew the corpse, then he fumbled about in the darkness
until he had found Mohammed Beyd's revolver.  With the
weapon in his hand he returned to the side of the dead
man, kneeled beside the bedding, and inserted his right
hand with the weapon beneath the rugs, piled a number
of thicknesses of the closely woven fabric over and
about the revolver with his left hand.  Then he pulled
the trigger, and at the same time he coughed.

The muffled report could not have been heard above the
sound of his cough by one directly outside the tent.
Werper was satisfied.  A grim smile touched his lips as
he withdrew the weapon from the rugs and placed it
carefully in the right hand of the dead man, fixing
three of the fingers around the grip and the index
finger inside the trigger guard.

A moment longer he tarried to rearrange the disordered
rugs, and then he left as he had entered, fastening
down the rear wall of the tent as it had been before he
had raised it.

Going to the tent of the prisoner he removed there also
the evidence that someone might have come or gone
beneath the rear wall.  Then he returned to his own
tent, entered, fastened down the canvas, and crawled
into his blankets.

The following morning he was awakened by the excited
voice of Mohammed Beyd's slave calling to him at the
entrance of his tent.

"Quick!  Quick!" cried the black in a frightened tone.
"Come!  Mohammed Beyd is dead in his tent--dead by his
own hand."

Werper sat up quickly in his blankets at the first
alarm, a startled expression upon his countenance; but
at the last words of the black a sigh of relief escaped
his lips and a slight smile replaced the tense lines
upon his face.

"I come," he called to the slave, and drawing on his
boots, rose and went out of his tent.

Excited Arabs and blacks were running from all parts of
the camp toward the silken tent of Mohammed Beyd, and
when Werper entered he found a number of the raiders
crowded about the corpse, now cold and stiff.

Shouldering his way among them, the Belgian halted
beside the dead body of the raider.  He looked down in
silence for a moment upon the still face, then he
wheeled upon the Arabs.

"Who has done this thing?" he cried.  His tone was both
menacing and accusing.  "Who has murdered Mohammed Beyd?"

A sudden chorus of voices arose in tumultuous protest.

"Mohammed Beyd was not murdered," they cried.  "He died
by his own hand.  This, and Allah, are our witnesses,"
and they pointed to a revolver in the dead man's hand.

For a time Werper pretended to be skeptical; but at
last permitted himself to be convinced that Mohammed
Beyd had indeed killed himself in remorse for the death
of the white woman he had, all unknown to his
followers, loved so devotedly.

Werper himself wrapped the blankets of the dead man
about the corpse, taking care to fold inward the
scorched and bullet-torn fabric that had muffled the
report of the weapon he had fired the night before.
Then six husky blacks carried the body out into the
clearing where the camp stood, and deposited it in a
shallow grave.  As the loose earth fell upon the silent
form beneath the tell-tale blankets, Albert Werper
heaved another sigh of relief--his plan had worked out
even better than he had dared hope.

With Achmet Zek and Mohammed Beyd both dead, the
raiders were without a leader, and after a brief
conference they decided to return into the north on
visits to the various tribes to which they belonged,
Werper, after learning the direction they intended
taking, announced that for his part, he was going east
to the coast, and as they knew of nothing he possessed
which any of them coveted, they signified their
willingness that he should go his way.

As they rode off, he sat his horse in the center of the
clearing watching them disappear one by one into the
jungle, and thanked his God that he had at last escaped
their villainous clutches.

When he could no longer hear any sound of them, he
turned to the right and rode into the forest toward the
tree where he had hidden Lady Greystoke, and drawing
rein beneath it, called up in a gay and hopeful voice a
pleasant, "Good morning!"

There was no reply, and though his eyes searched the
thick foliage above him, he could see no sign of the
girl.  Dismounting, he quickly climbed into the tree,
where he could obtain a view of all its branches.  The
tree was empty--Jane Clayton had vanished during the
silent watches of the jungle night.



22

Tarzan Recovers His Reason


As Tarzan let the pebbles from the recovered pouch run
through his fingers, his thoughts returned to the pile
of yellow ingots about which the Arabs and the
Abyssinians had waged their relentless battle.

What was there in common between that pile of dirty
metal and the beautiful, sparkling pebbles that had
formerly been in his pouch?  What was the metal?
From whence had it come?  What was that tantalizing
half-conviction which seemed to demand the recognition of
his memory that the yellow pile for which these men had
fought and died had been intimately connected with his
past--that it had been his?

What had been his past?  He shook his head.  Vaguely the
memory of his apish childhood passed slowly in review--
then came a strangely tangled mass of faces, figures
and events which seemed to have no relation to Tarzan
of the Apes, and yet which were, even in their
fragmentary form, familiar.

Slowly and painfully, recollection was attempting to
reassert itself, the hurt brain was mending, as the
cause of its recent failure to function was being
slowly absorbed or removed by the healing processes of
perfect circulation.

The people who now passed before his mind's eye for the
first time in weeks wore familiar faces; but yet he
could neither place them in the niches they had once
filled in his past life, nor call them by name.  One
was a fair she, and it was her face which most often
moved through the tangled recollections of his
convalescing brain.  Who was she?  What had she been to
Tarzan of the Apes?  He seemed to see her about the very
spot upon which the pile of gold had been unearthed by
the Abyssinians; but the surroundings were vastly
different from those which now obtained.

There was a building--there were many buildings--and
there were hedges, fences, and flowers.  Tarzan
puckered his brow in puzzled study of the wonderful
problem.  For an instant he seemed to grasp the whole
of a true explanation, and then, just as success was
within his grasp, the picture faded into a jungle scene
where a naked, white youth danced in company with a
band of hairy, primordial ape-things.

Tarzan shook his head and sighed.  Why was it that he
could not recollect?  At least he was sure that in some
way the pile of gold, the place where it lay, the
subtle aroma of the elusive she he had been pursuing,
the memory figure of the white woman, and he himself,
were inextricably connected by the ties of a forgotten
past.

If the woman belonged there, what better place to
search or await her than the very spot which his broken
recollections seemed to assign to her?  It was worth
trying.  Tarzan slipped the thong of the empty pouch
over his shoulder and started off through the trees in
the direction of the plain.

At the outskirts of the forest he met the Arabs
returning in search of Achmet Zek.  Hiding, he let them
pass, and then resumed his way toward the charred ruins
of the home he had been almost upon the point of
recalling to his memory.

His journey across the plain was interrupted by the
discovery of a small herd of antelope in a little
swale, where the cover and the wind were well combined
to make stalking easy.  A fat yearling rewarded a half
hour of stealthy creeping and a sudden, savage rush,
and it was late in the afternoon when the ape-man
settled himself upon his haunches beside his kill to
enjoy the fruits of his skill, his cunning, and his
prowess.

His hunger satisfied, thirst next claimed his
attention.  The river lured him by the shortest path
toward its refreshing waters, and when he had drunk,
night already had fallen and he was some half mile or
more down stream from the point where he had seen the
pile of yellow ingots, and where he hoped to meet the
memory woman, or find some clew to her whereabouts or
her identity.

To the jungle bred, time is usually a matter of small
moment, and haste, except when engendered by terror,
by rage, or by hunger, is distasteful.  Today was gone.
Therefore tomorrow, of which there was an infinite
procession, would answer admirably for Tarzan's further
quest.  And, besides, the ape-man was tired and would
sleep.

A tree afforded him the safety, seclusion and comforts
of a well-appointed bedchamber, and to the chorus of
the hunters and the hunted of the wild river bank he
soon dropped off into deep slumber.

Morning found him both hungry and thirsty again, and
dropping from his tree he made his way to the drinking
place at the river's edge.  There he found Numa, the
lion, ahead of him.  The big fellow was lapping the
water greedily, and at the approach of Tarzan along the
trail in his rear, he raised his head, and turning his
gaze backward across his maned shoulders glared at the
intruder.  A low growl of warning rumbled from his
throat; but Tarzan, guessing that the beast had but
just quitted his kill and was well filled, merely made
a slight detour and continued to the river, where he
stopped a few yards above the tawny cat, and dropping
upon his hands and knees plunged his face into the cool
water.  For a moment the lion continued to eye the man;
then he resumed his drinking, and man and beast
quenched their thirst side by side each apparently
oblivious of the other's presence.

Numa was the first to finish.  Raising his head, he
gazed across the river for a few minutes with that
stony fixity of attention which is a characteristic of
his kind.  But for the ruffling of his black mane to
the touch of the passing breeze he might have been
wrought from golden bronze, so motionless, so
statuesque his pose.

A deep sigh from the cavernous lungs dispelled the
illusion.  The mighty head swung slowly around until
the yellow eyes rested upon the man.  The bristled lip
curved upward, exposing yellow fangs.  Another warning
growl vibrated the heavy jowls, and the king of beasts
turned majestically about and paced slowly up the trail
into the dense reeds.

Tarzan of the Apes drank on, but from the corners of
his gray eyes he watched the great brute's every move
until he had disappeared from view, and, after, his
keen ears marked the movements of the carnivore.

A plunge in the river was followed by a scant breakfast
of eggs which chance discovered to him, and then he set
off up river toward the ruins of the bungalow where the
golden ingots had marked the center of yesterday's
battle.

And when he came upon the spot, great was his surprise
and consternation, for the yellow metal had
disappeared.  The earth, trampled by the feet of horses
and men, gave no clew.  It was as though the ingots had
evaporated into thin air.

The ape-man was at a loss to know where to turn or what
next to do.  There was no sign of any spoor which might
denote that the she had been here.  The metal was gone,
and if there was any connection between the she and the
metal it seemed useless to wait for her now that the
latter had been removed elsewhere.

Everything seemed to elude him--the pretty pebbles, the
yellow metal, the she, his memory.  Tarzan was
disgusted.  He would go back into the jungle and look
for Chulk, and so he turned his steps once more toward
the forest.  He moved rapidly, swinging across the
plain in a long, easy trot, and at the edge of the
forest, taking to the trees with the agility and speed
of a small monkey.

His direction was aimless--he merely raced on and on
through the jungle, the joy of unfettered action his
principal urge, with the hope of stumbling upon some
clew to Chulk or the she, a secondary incentive.

For two days he roamed about, killing, eating, drinking
and sleeping wherever inclination and the means to
indulge it occurred simultaneously.  It was upon the
morning of the third day that the scent spoor of horse
and man were wafted faintly to his nostrils.  Instantly
he altered his course to glide silently through the
branches in the direction from which the scent came.

It was not long before he came upon a solitary horseman
riding toward the east.  Instantly his eyes confirmed
what his nose had previously suspected--the rider was
he who had stolen his pretty pebbles.  The light of
rage flared suddenly in the gray eyes as the ape-man
dropped lower among the branches until he moved almost
directly above the unconscious Werper.

There was a quick leap, and the Belgian felt a heavy
body hurtle onto the rump of his terror-stricken mount.
The horse, snorting, leaped forward.  Giant arms
encircled the rider, and in the twinkling of an eye he
was dragged from his saddle to find himself lying in
the narrow trail with a naked, white giant kneeling
upon his breast.

Recognition came to Werper with the first glance at his
captor's face, and a pallor of fear overspread his
features.  Strong fingers were at his throat, fingers
of steel.  He tried to cry out, to plead for his life;
but the cruel fingers denied him speech, as they were
as surely denying him life.

"The pretty pebbles?" cried the man upon his breast.
"What did you with the pretty pebbles--with Tarzan's
pretty pebbles?"

The fingers relaxed to permit a reply.  For some time
Werper could only choke and cough--at last he regained
the powers of speech.

"Achmet Zek, the Arab, stole them from me," he cried;
"he made me give up the pouch and the pebbles."

"I saw all that," replied Tarzan; "but the pebbles in
the pouch were not the pebbles of Tarzan--they were
only such pebbles as fill the bottoms of the rivers,
and the shelving banks beside them.  Even the Arab
would not have them, for he threw them away in anger
when he had looked upon them.  It is my pretty pebbles
that I want--where are they?"

"I do not know, I do not know," cried Werper.  "I gave
them to Achmet Zek or he would have killed me.  A few
minutes later he followed me along the trail to slay
me, although he had promised to molest me no further,
and I shot and killed him; but the pouch was not upon
his person and though I searched about the jungle for
some time I could not find it."

"I found it, I tell you," growled Tarzan, "and I also
found the pebbles which Achmet Zek had thrown away in
disgust.  They were not Tarzan's pebbles.  You have
hidden them!  Tell me where they are or I will kill
you," and the brown fingers of the ape-man closed a
little tighter upon the throat of his victim.

Werper struggled to free himself.  "My God, Lord
Greystoke," he managed to scream, "would you commit
murder for a handful of stones?"

The fingers at his throat relaxed, a puzzled, far-away
expression softened the gray eyes.

"Lord Greystoke!" repeated the ape-man.  "Lord
Greystoke!  Who is Lord Greystoke?  Where have I heard
that name before?"

"Why man, you are Lord Greystoke," cried the Belgian.
"You were injured by a falling rock when the earthquake
shattered the passage to the underground chamber to
which you and your black Waziri had come to fetch
golden ingots back to your bungalow.  The blow
shattered your memory.  You are John Clayton, Lord
Greystoke--don't you remember?"

"John Clayton, Lord Greystoke!" repeated Tarzan.  Then
for a moment he was silent.  Presently his hand went
falteringly to his forehead, an expression of
wonderment filled his eyes--of wonderment and sudden
understanding.  The forgotten name had reawakened the
returning memory that had been struggling to reassert
itself.  The ape-man relinquished his grasp upon the
throat of the Belgian, and leaped to his feet.

"God!" he cried, and then, "Jane!" Suddenly he turned
toward Werper.  "My wife?" he asked.  "What has become
of her?  The farm is in ruins.  You know.  You have had
something to do with all this.  You followed me to
Opar, you stole the jewels which I thought but pretty
pebbles.  You are a crook!  Do not try to tell me that
you are not."

"He is worse than a crook," said a quiet voice close
behind them.

Tarzan turned in astonishment to see a tall man in
uniform standing in the trail a few paces from him.
Back of the man were a number of black soldiers in the
uniform of the Congo Free State.

"He is a murderer, Monsieur," continued the officer.
"I have followed him for a long time to take him back
to stand trial for the killing of his superior
officer."

Werper was upon his feet now, gazing, white and
trembling, at the fate which had overtaken him even in
the fastness of the labyrinthine jungle.  Instinctively
he turned to flee; but Tarzan of the Apes reached out a
strong hand and grasped him by the shoulder.

"Wait!" said the ape-man to his captive.  "This
gentleman wishes you, and so do I. When I am through
with you, he may have you.  Tell me what has become of
my wife."

The Belgian officer eyed the almost naked, white giant
with curiosity.  He noted the strange contrast of
primitive weapons and apparel, and the easy, fluent
French which the man spoke.  The former denoted the
lowest, the latter the highest type of culture.  He
could not quite determine the social status of this
strange creature; but he knew that he did not relish
the easy assurance with which the fellow presumed to
dictate when he might take possession of the prisoner.

"Pardon me," he said, stepping forward and placing his
hand on Werper's other shoulder; "but this gentleman is
my prisoner.  He must come with me."

"When I am through with him," replied Tarzan, quietly.

The officer turned and beckoned to the soldiers
standing in the trail behind him.  A company of
uniformed blacks stepped quickly forward and pushing
past the three, surrounded the ape-man and his captive.

"Both the law and the power to enforce it are upon my
side," announced the officer.  "Let us have no trouble.
If you have a grievance against this man you may return
with me and enter your charge regularly before an
authorized tribunal."

"Your legal rights are not above suspicion, my friend,"
replied Tarzan, "and your power to enforce your
commands are only apparent--not real.  You have
presumed to enter British territory with an armed
force.  Where is your authority for this invasion?
Where are the extradition papers which warrant the
arrest of this man?  And what assurance have you that I
cannot bring an armed force about you that will prevent
your return to the Congo Free State?"

The Belgian lost his temper.  "I have no disposition to
argue with a naked savage," he cried.  "Unless you wish
to be hurt you will not interfere with me.  Take the
prisoner, Sergeant!"

Werper raised his lips close to Tarzan's ear.  "Keep me
from them, and I can show you the very spot where I saw
your wife last night," he whispered.  "She cannot be
far from here at this very minute."

The soldiers, following the signal from their sergeant,
closed in to seize Werper.  Tarzan grabbed the Belgian
about the waist, and bearing him beneath his arm as he
might have borne a sack of flour, leaped forward in an
attempt to break through the cordon.  His right fist
caught the nearest soldier upon the jaw and sent him
hurtling backward upon his fellows.  Clubbed rifles
were torn from the hands of those who barred his way,
and right and left the black soldiers stumbled aside in
the face of the ape-man's savage break for liberty.

So completely did the blacks surround the two that they
dared not fire for fear of hitting one of their own
number, and Tarzan was already through them and upon
the point of dodging into the concealing mazes of the
jungle when one who had sneaked upon him from behind
struck him a heavy blow upon the head with a rifle.

In an instant the ape-man was down and a dozen black
soldiers were upon his back.  When he regained
consciousness he found himself securely bound, as was
Werper also.  The Belgian officer, success having
crowned his efforts, was in good humor, and inclined to
chaff his prisoners about the ease with which they had
been captured; but from Tarzan of the Apes he elicited
no response.  Werper, however, was voluble in his
protests.  He explained that Tarzan was an English
lord; but the officer only laughed at the assertion,
and advised his prisoner to save his breath for his
defense in court.

As soon as Tarzan regained his senses and it was found
that he was not seriously injured, the prisoners were
hastened into line and the return march toward the
Congo Free State boundary commenced.

Toward evening the column halted beside a stream, made
camp and prepared the evening meal.  From the thick
foliage of the nearby jungle a pair of fierce eyes
watched the activities of the uniformed blacks with
silent intensity and curiosity.  From beneath beetling
brows the creature saw the boma constructed, the fires
built, and the supper prepared.

Tarzan and Werper had been lying bound behind a small
pile of knapsacks from the time that the company had
halted; but with the preparation of the meal completed,
their guard ordered them to rise and come forward to
one of the fires where their hands would be unfettered
that they might eat.

As the giant ape-man rose, a startled expression of
recognition entered the eyes of the watcher in the
jungle, and a low guttural broke from the savage lips.
Instantly Tarzan was alert, but the answering growl
died upon his lips, suppressed by the fear that it
might arouse the suspicions of the soldiers.

Suddenly an inspiration came to him.  He turned toward
Werper.

"I am going to speak to you in a loud voice and in a
tongue which you do not understand.  Appear to listen
intently to what I say, and occasionally mumble
something as though replying in the same language--our
escape may hinge upon the success of your efforts."

Werper nodded in assent and understanding, and
immediately there broke from the lips of his companion
a strange jargon which might have been compared with
equal propriety to the barking and growling of a dog
and the chattering of monkeys.

The nearer soldiers looked in surprise at the ape-man.
Some of them laughed, while others drew away in evident
superstitious fear.  The officer approached the
prisoners while Tarzan was still jabbering, and halted
behind them, listening in perplexed interest.  When
Werper mumbled some ridiculous jargon in reply his
curiosity broke bounds, and he stepped forward,
demanding to know what language it was that they spoke.

Tarzan had gauged the measure of the man's culture from
the nature and quality of his conversation during the
march, and he rested the success of his reply upon the
estimate he had made.

"Greek," he explained.

"Oh, I thought it was Greek," replied the officer; "but
it has been so many years since I studied it that I was
not sure.  In future, however, I will thank you to
speak in a language which I am more familiar with."

Werper turned his head to hide a grin, whispering to
Tarzan: "It was Greek to him all right--and to me, too."

But one of the black soldiers mumbled in a low voice to
a companion: "I have heard those sounds before--once at
night when I was lost in the jungle, I heard the hairy
men of the trees talking among themselves, and their
words were like the words of this white man.  I wish
that we had not found him.  He is not a man at all--he
is a bad spirit, and we shall have bad luck if we do
not let him go," and the fellow rolled his eyes
fearfully toward the jungle.

His companion laughed nervously, and moved away, to
repeat the conversation, with variations and
exaggerations, to others of the black soldiery, so that
it was not long before a frightful tale of black magic
and sudden death was woven about the giant prisoner,
and had gone the rounds of the camp.

And deep in the gloomy jungle amidst the darkening
shadows of the falling night a hairy, manlike creature
swung swiftly southward upon some secret mission of his
own.



23

A Night of Terror


To Jane Clayton, waiting in the tree where Werper had
placed her, it seemed that the long night would never
end, yet end it did at last, and within an hour of the
coming of dawn her spirits leaped with renewed hope at
sight of a solitary horseman approaching along the
trail.

The flowing burnoose, with its loose hood, hid both the
face and the figure of the rider; but that it was M.
Frecoult the girl well knew, since he had been garbed
as an Arab, and he alone might be expected to seek her
hiding place.

That which she saw relieved the strain of the long
night vigil; but there was much that she did not see.
She did not see the black face beneath the white hood,
nor the file of ebon horsemen beyond the trail's bend
riding slowly in the wake of their leader.  These
things she did not see at first, and so she leaned
downward toward the approaching rider, a cry of welcome
forming in her throat.

At the first word the man looked up, reining in in
surprise, and as she saw the black face of Abdul
Mourak, the Abyssinian, she shrank back in terror among
the branches; but it was too late.  The man had seen
her, and now he called to her to descend.  At first she
refused; but when a dozen black cavalrymen drew up
behind their leader, and at Abdul Mourak's command one
of them started to climb the tree after her she
realized that resistance was futile, and came slowly
down to stand upon the ground before this new captor
and plead her cause in the name of justice and humanity.

Angered by recent defeat, and by the loss of the gold,
the jewels, and his prisoners, Abdul Mourak was in no
mood to be influenced by any appeal to those softer
sentiments to which, as a matter of fact, he was almost
a stranger even under the most favourable conditions.

He looked for degradation and possible death in
punishment for his failures and his misfortunes when he
should have returned to his native land and made his
report to Menelek; but an acceptable gift might temper
the wrath of the emperor, and surely this fair flower
of another race should be gratefully received by the
black ruler!

When Jane Clayton had concluded her appeal, Abdul
Mourak replied briefly that he would promise her
protection; but that he must take her to his emperor.
The girl did not need ask him why, and once again hope
died within her breast.  Resignedly she permitted
herself to be lifted to a seat behind one of the
troopers, and again, under new masters, her journey was
resumed toward what she now began to believe was her
inevitable fate.

Abdul Mourak, bereft of his guides by the battle he had
waged against the raiders, and himself unfamiliar with
the country, had wandered far from the trail he should
have followed, and as a result had made but little
progress toward the north since the beginning of his
flight.  Today he was beating toward the west in the
hope of coming upon a village where he might obtain
guides; but night found him still as far from a
realization of his hopes as had the rising sun.

It was a dispirited company which went into camp,
waterless and hungry, in the dense jungle.  Attracted
by the horses, lions roared about the boma, and to
their hideous din was added the shrill neighs of the
terror-stricken beasts they hunted.  There was little
sleep for man or beast, and the sentries were doubled
that there might be enough on duty both to guard
against the sudden charge of an overbold, or overhungry
lion, and to keep the fire blazing which was an even
more effectual barrier against them than the thorny boma.

It was well past midnight, and as yet Jane Clayton,
notwithstanding that she had passed a sleepless night
the night before, had scarcely more than dozed.  A
sense of impending danger seemed to hang like a black
pall over the camp.  The veteran troopers of the black
emperor were nervous and ill at ease.  Abdul Mourak
left his blankets a dozen times to pace restlessly back
and forth between the tethered horses and the crackling
fire.  The girl could see his great frame silhouetted
against the lurid glare of the flames, and she guessed
from the quick, nervous movements of the man that he
was afraid.

The roaring of the lions rose in sudden fury until the
earth trembled to the hideous chorus.  The horses
shrilled their neighs of terror as they lay back upon
their halter ropes in their mad endeavors to break
loose.  A trooper, braver than his fellows, leaped
among the kicking, plunging, fear-maddened beasts in a
futile attempt to quiet them.  A lion, large, and
fierce, and courageous, leaped almost to the boma, full
in the bright light from the fire.  A sentry raised his
piece and fired, and the little leaden pellet
unstoppered the vials of hell upon the terror-stricken
camp.

The shot ploughed a deep and painful furrow in the
lion's side, arousing all the bestial fury of the
little brain; but abating not a whit the power and
vigor of the great body.

Unwounded, the boma and the flames might have turned
him back; but now the pain and the rage wiped caution
from his mind, and with a loud, and angry roar he
topped the barrier with an easy leap and was among the
horses.

What had been pandemonium before became now an
indescribable tumult of hideous sound.  The stricken
horse upon which the lion leaped shrieked out its
terror and its agony.  Several about it broke their
tethers and plunged madly about the camp.  Men leaped
from their blankets and with guns ready ran toward the
picket line, and then from the jungle beyond the boma a
dozen lions, emboldened by the example of their fellow
charged fearlessly upon the camp.

Singly and in twos and threes they leaped the boma,
until the little enclosure was filled with cursing men
and screaming horses battling for their lives with the
green-eyed devils of the jungle.

With the charge of the first lion, Jane Clayton had
scrambled to her feet, and now she stood horror-struck
at the scene of savage slaughter that swirled and
eddied about her.  Once a bolting horse knocked her
down, and a moment later a lion, leaping in pursuit of
another terror-stricken animal, brushed her so closely
that she was again thrown from her feet.

Amidst the cracking of the rifles and the growls of the
carnivora rose the death screams of stricken men and
horses as they were dragged down by the blood-mad cats.
The leaping carnivora and the plunging horses,
prevented any concerted action by the Abyssinians--it
was every man for himself--and in the melee, the
defenseless woman was either forgotten or ignored by
her black captors.  A score of times was her life
menaced by charging lions, by plunging horses, or by
the wildly fired bullets of the frightened troopers,
yet there was no chance of escape, for now with the
fiendish cunning of their kind, the tawny hunters
commenced to circle about their prey, hemming them
within a ring of mighty, yellow fangs, and sharp, long
talons.  Again and again an individual lion would dash
suddenly among the frightened men and horses, and
occasionally a horse, goaded to frenzy by pain or
terror, succeeded in racing safely through the circling
lions, leaping the boma, and escaping into the jungle;
but for the men and the woman no such escape was
possible.

A horse, struck by a stray bullet, fell beside Jane
Clayton, a lion leaped across the expiring beast full
upon the breast of a black trooper just beyond.  The
man clubbed his rifle and struck futilely at the broad
head, and then he was down and the carnivore was
standing above him.

Shrieking out his terror, the soldier clawed with puny
fingers at the shaggy breast in vain endeavor to push
away the grinning jaws.  The lion lowered his head, the
gaping fangs closed with a single sickening crunch upon
the fear-distorted face, and turning strode back across
the body of the dead horse dragging his limp and bloody
burden with him.

Wide-eyed the girl stood watching.  She saw the
carnivore step upon the corpse, stumblingly, as the
grisly thing swung between its forepaws, and her eyes
remained fixed in fascination while the beast passed
within a few paces of her.

The interference of the body seemed to enrage the lion.
He shook the inanimate clay venomously.  He growled and
roared hideously at the dead, insensate thing, and then
he dropped it and raised his head to look about in
search of some living victim upon which to wreak his
ill temper.  His yellow eyes fastened themselves
balefully upon the figure of the girl, the bristling
lips raised, disclosing the grinning fangs.  A terrific
roar broke from the savage throat, and the great beast
crouched to spring upon this new and helpless victim.

Quiet had fallen early upon the camp where Tarzan and
Werper lay securely bound.  Two nervous sentries paced
their beats, their eyes rolling often toward the
impenetrable shadows of the gloomy jungle.  The others
slept or tried to sleep--all but the ape-man.  Silently
and powerfully he strained at the bonds which fettered
his wrists.

The muscles knotted beneath the smooth, brown skin of
his arms and shoulders, the veins stood out upon his
temples from the force of his exertions--a strand
parted, another and another, and one hand was free.
Then from the jungle came a low guttural, and the
ape-man became suddenly a silent, rigid statue, with ears
and nostrils straining to span the black void where his
eyesight could not reach.

Again came the uncanny sound from the thick verdure
beyond the camp.  A sentry halted abruptly, straining
his eyes into the gloom.  The kinky wool upon his head
stiffened and raised.  He called to his comrade in a
hoarse whisper.

"Did you hear it?" he asked.

The other came closer, trembling.

"Hear what?"

Again was the weird sound repeated, followed almost
immediately by a similar and answering sound from the
camp.  The sentries drew close together, watching the
black spot from which the voice seemed to come.

Trees overhung the boma at this point which was upon
the opposite side of the camp from them.  They dared
not approach.  Their terror even prevented them from
arousing their fellows--they could only stand in frozen
fear and watch for the fearsome apparition they
momentarily expected to see leap from the jungle.

Nor had they long to wait.  A dim, bulky form dropped
lightly from the branches of a tree into the camp.  At
sight of it one of the sentries recovered command of
his muscles and his voice.  Screaming loudly to awaken
the sleeping camp, he leaped toward the flickering
watch fire and threw a mass of brush upon it.

The white officer and the black soldiers sprang from
their blankets.  The flames leaped high upon the
rejuvenated fire, lighting the entire camp, and the
awakened men shrank back in superstitious terror from
the sight that met their frightened and astonished
vision.

A dozen huge and hairy forms loomed large beneath the
trees at the far side of the enclosure.  The white
giant, one hand freed, had struggled to his knees and
was calling to the frightful, nocturnal visitors in a
hideous medley of bestial gutturals, barkings and
growlings.

Werper had managed to sit up.  He, too, saw the savage
faces of the approaching anthropoids and scarcely knew
whether to be relieved or terror-stricken.

Growling, the great apes leaped forward toward Tarzan
and Werper.  Chulk led them.  The Belgian officer
called to his men to fire upon the intruders; but the
Negroes held back, filled as they were with
superstitious terror of the hairy treemen, and with the
conviction that the white giant who could thus summon
the beasts of the jungle to his aid was more than human.

Drawing his own weapon, the officer fired, and Tarzan
fearing the effect of the noise upon his really timid
friends called to them to hasten and fulfill his commands.

A couple of the apes turned and fled at the sound of
the firearm; but Chulk and a half dozen others waddled
rapidly forward, and, following the ape-man's
directions, seized both him and Werper and bore them
off toward the jungle.

By dint of threats, reproaches and profanity the
Belgian officer succeeded in persuading his trembling
command to fire a volley after the retreating apes.  A
ragged, straggling volley it was, but at least one of
its bullets found a mark, for as the jungle closed
about the hairy rescuers, Chulk, who bore Werper across
one broad shoulder, staggered and fell.

In an instant he was up again; but the Belgian guessed
from his unsteady gait that he was hard hit.  He lagged
far behind the others, and it was several minutes after
they had halted at Tarzan's command before he came
slowly up to them, reeling from side to side, and at
last falling again beneath the weight of his burden and
the shock of his wound.

As Chulk went down he dropped Werper, so that the
latter fell face downward with the body of the ape
lying half across him.  In this position the Belgian
felt something resting against his hands, which were
still bound at his back--something that was not a part
of the hairy body of the ape.

Mechanically the man's fingers felt of the object
resting almost in their grasp--it was a soft pouch,
filled with small, hard particles.  Werper gasped in
wonderment as recognition filtered through the
incredulity of his mind.  It was impossible, and yet--
it was true!

Feverishly he strove to remove the pouch from the ape
and transfer it to his own possession; but the
restricted radius to which his bonds held his hands
prevented this, though he did succeed in tucking the
pouch with its precious contents inside the waist band
of his trousers.

Tarzan, sitting at a short distance, was busy with the
remaining knots of the cords which bound him.
Presently he flung aside the last of them and rose to
his feet.  Approaching Werper he knelt beside him.  For
a moment he examined the ape.

"Quite dead," he announced.  "It is too bad--he was a
splendid creature," and then he turned to the work of
liberating the Belgian.

He freed his hands first, and then commenced upon the
knots at his ankles.

"I can do the rest," said the Belgian.  "I have a small
pocketknife which they overlooked when they searched
me," and in this way he succeeded in ridding himself of
the ape-man's attentions that he might find and open
his little knife and cut the thong which fastened the
pouch about Chulk's shoulder, and transfer it from his
waist band to the breast of his shirt.  Then he rose
and approached Tarzan.

Once again had avarice claimed him.  Forgotten were the
good intentions which the confidence of Jane Clayton in
his honor had awakened.  What she had done, the little
pouch had undone.  How it had come upon the person of
the great ape, Werper could not imagine, unless it had
been that the anthropoid had witnessed his fight with
Achmet Zek, seen the Arab with the pouch and taken it
away from him; but that this pouch contained the jewels
of Opar, Werper was positive, and that was all that
interested him greatly.

"Now," said the ape-man, "keep your promise to me.
Lead me to the spot where you last saw my wife."

It was slow work pushing through the jungle in the dead
of night behind the slow-moving Belgian.  The ape-man
chafed at the delay, but the European could not swing
through the trees as could his more agile and muscular
companions, and so the speed of all was limited to that
of the slowest.

The apes trailed out behind the two white men for a
matter of a few miles; but presently their interest
lagged, the foremost of them halted in a little glade
and the others stopped at his side.  There they sat
peering from beneath their shaggy brows at the figures
of the two men forging steadily ahead, until the latter
disappeared in the leafy trail beyond the clearing.
Then an ape sought a comfortable couch beneath a tree,
and one by one the others followed his example, so that
Werper and Tarzan continued their journey alone; nor
was the latter either surprised or concerned.

The two had gone but a short distance beyond the glade
where the apes had deserted them, when the roaring of
distant lions fell upon their ears.  The ape-man paid
no attention to the familiar sounds until the crack of
a rifle came faintly from the same direction, and when
this was followed by the shrill neighing of horses, and
an almost continuous fusillade of shots intermingled
with increased and savage roaring of a large troop of
lions, he became immediately concerned.

"Someone is having trouble over there," he said,
turning toward Werper.  "I'll have to go to them--they
may be friends."

"Your wife might be among them," suggested the Belgian,
for since he had again come into possession of the
pouch he had become fearful and suspicious of the
ape-man, and in his mind had constantly revolved many plans
for eluding this giant Englishman, who was at once his
savior and his captor.

At the suggestion Tarzan started as though struck with
a whip.

"God!" he cried, "she might be, and the lions are
attacking them--they are in the camp.  I can tell from
the screams of the horses--and there!  that was the cry
of a man in his death agonies.  Stay here man--I will
come back for you.  I must go first to them," and
swinging into a tree the lithe figure swung rapidly off
into the night with the speed and silence of a
disembodied spirit.

For a moment Werper stood where the ape-man had left
him.  Then a cunning smile crossed his lips.  "Stay
here?" he asked himself.  "Stay here and wait until you
return to find and take these jewels from me?  Not I, my
friend, not I," and turning abruptly eastward Albert
Werper passed through the foliage of a hanging vine and
out of the sight of his fellow-man--forever.



24

Home


As Tarzan of the Apes hurtled through the trees the
discordant sounds of the battle between the Abyssinians
and the lions smote more and more distinctly upon his
sensitive ears, redoubling his assurance that the
plight of the human element of the conflict was
critical indeed.

At last the glare of the camp fire shone plainly
through the intervening trees, and a moment later the
giant figure of the ape-man paused upon an overhanging
bough to look down upon the bloody scene of carnage
below.

His quick eye took in the whole scene with a single
comprehending glance and stopped upon the figure of a
woman standing facing a great lion across the carcass
of a horse.

The carnivore was crouching to spring as Tarzan
discovered the tragic tableau.  Numa was almost beneath
the branch upon which the ape-man stood, naked and
unarmed.  There was not even an instant's hesitation
upon the part of the latter--it was as though he had
not even paused in his swift progress through the
trees, so lightning-like his survey and comprehension
of the scene below him--so instantaneous his consequent
action.

So hopeless had seemed her situation to her that Jane
Clayton but stood in lethargic apathy awaiting the
impact of the huge body that would hurl her to the
ground--awaiting the momentary agony that cruel talons
and grisly fangs may inflict before the coming of the
merciful oblivion which would end her sorrow and her
suffering.

What use to attempt escape?  As well face the hideous
end as to be dragged down from behind in futile flight.
She did not even close her eyes to shut out the
frightful aspect of that snarling face, and so it was
that as she saw the lion preparing to charge she saw,
too, a bronzed and mighty figure leap from an
overhanging tree at the instant that Numa rose in his
spring.

Wide went her eyes in wonder and incredulity, as she
beheld this seeming apparition risen from the dead.
The lion was forgotten--her own peril--everything save
the wondrous miracle of this strange recrudescence.
With parted lips, with palms tight pressed against her
heaving bosom, the girl leaned forward, large-eyed,
enthralled by the vision of her dead mate.

She saw the sinewy form leap to the shoulder of the
lion, hurtling against the leaping beast like a huge,
animate battering ram.  She saw the carnivore brushed
aside as he was almost upon her, and in the instant she
realized that no substanceless wraith could thus turn
the charge of a maddened lion with brute force greater
than the brute's.

Tarzan, her Tarzan, lived!  A cry of unspeakable
gladness broke from her lips, only to die in terror as
she saw the utter defenselessness of her mate, and
realized that the lion had recovered himself and was
turning upon Tarzan in mad lust for vengeance.

At the ape-man's feet lay the discarded rifle of the
dead Abyssinian whose mutilated corpse sprawled where
Numa had abandoned it.  The quick glance which had
swept the ground for some weapon of defense discovered
it, and as the lion reared upon his hind legs to seize
the rash man-thing who had dared interpose its puny
strength between Numa and his prey, the heavy stock
whirred through the air and splintered upon the broad
forehead.

Not as an ordinary mortal might strike a blow did
Tarzan of the Apes strike; but with the maddened frenzy
of a wild beast backed by the steel thews which his
wild, arboreal boyhood had bequeathed him.  When the
blow ended the splintered stock was driven through the
splintered skull into the savage brain, and the heavy
iron barrel was bent into a rude V.

In the instant that the lion sank, lifeless, to the
ground, Jane Clayton threw herself into the eager arms
of her husband.  For a brief instant he strained her
dear form to his breast, and then a glance about him
awakened the ape-man to the dangers which still
surrounded them.

Upon every hand the lions were still leaping upon new
victims.  Fear-maddened horses still menaced them with
their erratic bolting from one side of the enclosure to
the other.  Bullets from the guns of the defenders who
remained alive but added to the perils of their
situation.

To remain was to court death.  Tarzan seized Jane
Clayton and lifted her to a broad shoulder.  The blacks
who had witnessed his advent looked on in amazement as
they saw the naked giant leap easily into the branches
of the tree from whence he had dropped so uncannily
upon the scene, and vanish as he had come, bearing away
their prisoner with him.

They were too well occupied in self-defense to attempt
to halt him, nor could they have done so other than by
the wasting of a precious bullet which might be needed
the next instant to turn the charge of a savage foe.

And so, unmolested, Tarzan passed from the camp of the
Abyssinians, from which the din of conflict followed
him deep into the jungle until distance gradually
obliterated it entirely.

Back to the spot where he had left Werper went the
ape-man, joy in his heart now, where fear and sorrow had
so recently reigned; and in his mind a determination to
forgive the Belgian and aid him in making good his
escape.  But when he came to the place, Werper was
gone, and though Tarzan called aloud many times he
received no reply.  Convinced that the man had
purposely eluded him for reasons of his own, John
Clayton felt that he was under no obligations to expose
his wife to further danger and discomfort in the
prosecution of a more thorough search for the missing
Belgian.

"He has acknowledged his guilt by his flight, Jane," he
said.  "We will let him go to lie in the bed that he
has made for himself."

Straight as homing pigeons, the two made their way
toward the ruin and desolation that had once been the
center of their happy lives, and which was soon to be
restored by the willing black hands of laughing
laborers, made happy again by the return of the master
and mistress whom they had mourned as dead.

Past the village of Achmet Zek their way led them, and
there they found but the charred remains of the
palisade and the native huts, still smoking, as mute
evidence of the wrath and vengeance of a powerful
enemy.

"The Waziri," commented Tarzan with a grim smile.

"God bless them!" cried Jane Clayton.

"They cannot be far ahead of us," said Tarzan, "Basuli
and the others.  The gold is gone and the jewels of
Opar, Jane; but we have each other and the Waziri--and
we have love and loyalty and friendship.  And what are
gold and jewels to these?"

"If only poor Mugambi lived," she replied, "and those
other brave fellows who sacrificed their lives in vain
endeavor to protect me!"

In the silence of mingled joy and sorrow they passed
along through the familiar jungle, and as the afternoon
was waning there came faintly to the ears of the
ape-man the murmuring cadence of distant voices.

"We are nearing the Waziri, Jane," he said.  "I can
hear them ahead of us.  They are going into camp for
the night, I imagine."

A half hour later the two came upon a horde of ebon
warriors which Basuli had collected for his war of
vengeance upon the raiders.  With them were the
captured women of the tribe whom they had found in the
village of Achmet Zek, and tall, even among the giant
Waziri, loomed a familiar black form at the side of
Basuli.  It was Mugambi, whom Jane had thought dead
amidst the charred ruins of the bungalow.

Ah, such a reunion!  Long into the night the dancing and
the singing and the laughter awoke the echoes of the
somber wood.  Again and again were the stories of their
various adventures retold.  Again and once again they
fought their battles with savage beast and savage man,
and dawn was already breaking when Basuli, for the
fortieth time, narrated how he and a handful of his
warriors had watched the battle for the golden ingots
which the Abyssinians of Abdul Mourak had waged against
the Arab raiders of Achmet Zek, and how, when the
victors had ridden away they had sneaked out of the
river reeds and stolen away with the precious ingots to
hide them where no robber eye ever could discover them.

Pieced out from the fragments of their various
experiences with the Belgian the truth concerning the
malign activities of Albert Werper became apparent.
Only Lady Greystoke found aught to praise in the
conduct of the man, and it was difficult even for her
to reconcile his many heinous acts with this one
evidence of chivalry and honor.

"Deep in the soul of every man," said Tarzan, "must
lurk the germ of righteousness.  It was your own
virtue, Jane, rather even than your helplessness which
awakened for an instant the latent decency of this
degraded man.  In that one act he retrieved himself,
and when he is called to face his Maker may it outweigh
in the balance, all the sins he has committed."

And Jane Clayton breathed a fervent, "Amen!"

Months had passed.  The labor of the Waziri and the
gold of Opar had rebuilt and refurnished the wasted
homestead of the Greystokes.  Once more the simple life
of the great African farm went on as it had before the
coming of the Belgian and the Arab.  Forgotten were the
sorrows and dangers of yesterday.

For the first time in months Lord Greystoke felt that
he might indulge in a holiday, and so a great hunt was
organized that the faithful laborers might feast in
celebration of the completion of their work.

In itself the hunt was a success, and ten days after
its inauguration, a well-laden safari took up its
return march toward the Waziri plain.  Lord and Lady
Greystoke with Basuli and Mugambi rode together at the
head of the column, laughing and talking together in
that easy familiarity which common interests and mutual
respect breed between honest and intelligent men of any
races.

Jane Clayton's horse shied suddenly at an object half
hidden in the long grasses of an open space in the
jungle.  Tarzan's keen eyes sought quickly for an
explanation of the animal's action.

"What have we here?" he cried, swinging from his
saddle, and a moment later the four were grouped about
a human skull and a little litter of whitened human
bones.

Tarzan stooped and lifted a leathern pouch from the
grisly relics of a man.  The hard outlines of the
contents brought an exclamation of surprise to his
lips.

"The jewels of Opar!" he cried, holding the pouch
aloft, "and," pointing to the bones at his feet, "all
that remains of Werper, the Belgian."

Mugambi laughed.  "Look within, Bwana," he cried, "and
you will see what are the jewels of Opar--you will see
what the Belgian gave his life for," and the black
laughed aloud.

"Why do you laugh?" asked Tarzan.

"Because," replied Mugambi, "I filled the Belgian's
pouch with river gravel before I escaped the camp of
the Abyssinians whose prisoners we were.  I left the
Belgian only worthless stones, while I brought away
with me the jewels he had stolen from you.  That they
were afterward stolen from me while I slept in the
jungle is my shame and my disgrace; but at least the
Belgian lost them--open his pouch and you will see."

Tarzan untied the thong which held the mouth of the
leathern bag closed, and permitted the contents to
trickle slowly forth into his open palm.  Mugambi's
eyes went wide at the sight, and the others uttered
exclamations of surprise and incredulity, for from the
rusty and weatherworn pouch ran a stream of brilliant,
scintillating gems.

"The jewels of Opar!" cried Tarzan.  "But how did
Werper come by them again?"

None could answer, for both Chulk and Werper were dead,
and no other knew.

"Poor devil!" said the ape-man, as he swung back into
his saddle.  "Even in death he has made restitution--
let his sins lie with his bones."


End of Project Gutenberg Etext of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar



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