Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 144

they reached the center of the village. There D'Arnot was
bound securely to the great post from which no live man had ever been

A number of the women scattered to their several huts to fetch pots and
water, while others built a row of fires on which portions of the feast
were to be boiled while the balance would be slowly dried in strips for
future use, as they expected the other warriors to return with many
prisoners. The festivities were delayed awaiting the return of the
warriors who had remained to engage in the skirmish with the white men,
so that it was quite late when all were in the village, and the dance
of death commenced to circle around the doomed officer.

Half fainting from pain and exhaustion, D'Arnot watched from beneath
half-closed lids what seemed but the vagary of delirium, or some horrid
nightmare from which he must soon awake.

The bestial faces, daubed with color--the huge mouths and flabby
hanging lips--the yellow teeth, sharp filed--the rolling, demon
eyes--the shining naked bodies--the cruel spears. Surely no such
creatures really existed upon earth--he must indeed be dreaming.

The savage, whirling bodies circled nearer. Now a spear sprang forth
and touched his arm. The sharp pain and the feel of hot, trickling
blood assured him of the awful reality of his hopeless position.

Another spear and then another touched him. He closed his eyes and
held his teeth firm set--he would not cry out.

He was a soldier of France, and he would teach these beasts how an
officer and a gentleman died.

Tarzan of the Apes needed no interpreter to translate the story of
those distant shots. With Jane Porter's kisses still warm upon his
lips he was swinging with incredible rapidity through the forest trees
straight toward the village of Mbonga.

He was not interested in the location of the encounter, for he judged
that that would soon be over. Those who were killed he could not aid,
those who escaped would not need his assistance.

It was to those who had neither been killed or escaped that he
hastened. And he knew that he would find them by the great post in the
center of Mbonga village.

Many times had Tarzan seen Mbonga's black raiding parties return from
the northward with prisoners, and always were the same scenes enacted
about that grim stake, beneath the flaring light of many fires.

He knew, too, that they seldom lost much time before consummating the
fiendish purpose of their captures. He doubted that he would arrive

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