Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 103

upward to safety just as the baffled Numa,
with a roar, leaped to recover his vanishing quarry.

For a moment the two men clung panting to the great branch, while
Tarzan squatted with his back to the stem of the tree, watching them
with mingled curiosity and amusement.

It was the professor who first broke the silence.

"I am deeply pained, Mr. Philander, that you should have evinced such a
paucity of manly courage in the presence of one of the lower orders,
and by your crass timidity have caused me to exert myself to such an
unaccustomed degree in order that I might resume my discourse. As I
was saying, Mr. Philander, when you interrupted me, the Moors--"

"Professor Archimedes Q. Porter," broke in Mr. Philander, in icy tones,
"the time has arrived when patience becomes a crime and mayhem appears
garbed in the mantle of virtue. You have accused me of cowardice. You
have insinuated that you ran only to overtake me, not to escape the
clutches of the lion. Have a care, Professor Archimedes Q. Porter! I
am a desperate man. Goaded by long-suffering patience the worm will
turn."

"Tut, tut, Mr. Philander, tut, tut!" cautioned Professor Porter; "you
forget yourself."

"I forget nothing as yet, Professor Archimedes Q. Porter; but, believe
me, sir, I am tottering on the verge of forgetfulness as to your
exalted position in the world of science, and your gray hairs."

The professor sat in silence for a few minutes, and the darkness hid
the grim smile that wreathed his wrinkled countenance. Presently he
spoke.

"Look here, Skinny Philander," he said, in belligerent tones, "if you
are lookin' for a scrap, peel off your coat and come on down on the
ground, and I'll punch your head just as I did sixty years ago in the
alley back of Porky Evans' barn."

"Ark!" gasped the astonished Mr. Philander. "Lordy, how good that
sounds! When you're human, Ark, I love you; but somehow it seems as
though you had forgotten how to be human for the last twenty years."

The professor reached out a thin, trembling old hand through the
darkness until it found his old friend's shoulder.

"Forgive me, Skinny," he said, softly. "It hasn't been quite twenty
years, and God alone knows how hard I have tried to be 'human' for
Jane's sake, and yours, too, since He took my other Jane away."

Another old hand stole up from Mr. Philander's side to clasp the one
that lay upon his shoulder, and no other message could better have
translated the one

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