Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 143

a
huge fire in the center of the clearing to give them light to work by.

When all was safe as possible against attack of wild beasts and savage
men, Lieutenant Charpentier placed sentries about the little camp and
the tired and hungry men threw themselves upon the ground to sleep.

The groans of the wounded, mingled with the roaring and growling of the
great beasts which the noise and firelight had attracted, kept sleep,
except in its most fitful form, from the tired eyes. It was a sad and
hungry party that lay through the long night praying for dawn.

The blacks who had seized D'Arnot had not waited to participate in the
fight which followed, but instead had dragged their prisoner a little
way through the jungle and then struck the trail further on beyond the
scene of the fighting in which their fellows were engaged.

They hurried him along, the sounds of battle growing fainter and
fainter as they drew away from the contestants until there suddenly
broke upon D'Arnot's vision a good-sized clearing at one end of which
stood a thatched and palisaded village.

It was now dusk, but the watchers at the gate saw the approaching trio
and distinguished one as a prisoner ere they reached the portals.

A cry went up within the palisade. A great throng of women and
children rushed out to meet the party.

And then began for the French officer the most terrifying experience
which man can encounter upon earth--the reception of a white prisoner
into a village of African cannibals.

To add to the fiendishness of their cruel savagery was the poignant
memory of still crueler barbarities practiced upon them and theirs by
the white officers of that arch hypocrite, Leopold II of Belgium,
because of whose atrocities they had fled the Congo Free State--a
pitiful remnant of what once had been a mighty tribe.

They fell upon D'Arnot tooth and nail, beating him with sticks and
stones and tearing at him with claw-like hands. Every vestige of
clothing was torn from him, and the merciless blows fell upon his bare
and quivering flesh. But not once did the Frenchman cry out in pain.
He breathed a silent prayer that he be quickly delivered from his
torture.

But the death he prayed for was not to be so easily had. Soon the
warriors beat the women away from their prisoner. He was to be saved
for nobler sport than this, and the first wave of their passion having
subsided they contented themselves with crying out taunts and insults
and spitting upon him.

Presently

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