Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 15

on two occasions they had
seen their little simian neighbors come screaming and chattering from
the near-by ridge, casting frightened glances back over their little
shoulders, and evincing as plainly as though by speech that they were
fleeing some terrible thing which lay concealed there.

Just before dusk Clayton finished his ladder, and, filling a great
basin with water from the near-by stream, the two mounted to the
comparative safety of their aerial chamber.

As it was quite warm, Clayton had left the side curtains thrown back
over the roof, and as they sat, like Turks, upon their blankets, Lady
Alice, straining her eyes into the darkening shadows of the wood,
suddenly reached out and grasped Clayton's arms.

"John," she whispered, "look! What is it, a man?"

As Clayton turned his eyes in the direction she indicated, he saw
silhouetted dimly against the shadows beyond, a great figure standing
upright upon the ridge.

For a moment it stood as though listening and then turned slowly, and
melted into the shadows of the jungle.

"What is it, John?"

"I do not know, Alice," he answered gravely, "it is too dark to see so
far, and it may have been but a shadow cast by the rising moon."

"No, John, if it was not a man it was some huge and grotesque mockery
of man. Oh, I am afraid."

He gathered her in his arms, whispering words of courage and love into
her ears.

Soon after, he lowered the curtain walls, tying them securely to the
trees so that, except for a little opening toward the beach, they were
entirely enclosed.

As it was now pitch dark within their tiny aerie they lay down upon
their blankets to try to gain, through sleep, a brief respite of
forgetfulness.

Clayton lay facing the opening at the front, a rifle and a brace of
revolvers at his hand.

Scarcely had they closed their eyes than the terrifying cry of a
panther rang out from the jungle behind them. Closer and closer it
came until they could hear the great beast directly beneath them. For
an hour or more they heard it sniffing and clawing at the trees which
supported their platform, but at last it roamed away across the beach,
where Clayton could see it clearly in the brilliant moonlight--a great,
handsome beast, the largest he had ever seen.

During the long hours of darkness they caught but fitful snatches of
sleep, for the night noises of a great jungle teeming with myriad
animal life kept their overwrought nerves on edge, so that a hundred
times they were startled to wakefulness by piercing

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