Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 150

of the skirmish of the previous
expedition shortly after noon, for they were now traveling a known
trail and no time was lost in exploring.

From there on the elephant-track led straight to Mbonga's village. It
was but two o'clock when the head of the column halted upon the edge of
the clearing.

Lieutenant Charpentier, who was in command, immediately sent a portion
of his force through the jungle to the opposite side of the village.
Another detachment was dispatched to a point before the village gate,
while he remained with the balance upon the south side of the clearing.

It was arranged that the party which was to take its position to the
north, and which would be the last to gain its station should commence
the assault, and that their opening volley should be the signal for a
concerted rush from all sides in an attempt to carry the village by
storm at the first charge.

For half an hour the men with Lieutenant Charpentier crouched in the
dense foliage of the jungle, waiting the signal. To them it seemed
like hours. They could see natives in the fields, and others moving in
and out of the village gate.

At length the signal came--a sharp rattle of musketry, and like one
man, an answering volley tore from the jungle to the west and to the
south.

The natives in the field dropped their implements and broke madly for
the palisade. The French bullets mowed them down, and the French
sailors bounded over their prostrate bodies straight for the village
gate.

So sudden and unexpected the assault had been that the whites reached
the gates before the frightened natives could bar them, and in another
minute the village street was filled with armed men fighting hand to
hand in an inextricable tangle.

For a few moments the blacks held their ground within the entrance to
the street, but the revolvers, rifles and cutlasses of the Frenchmen
crumpled the native spearmen and struck down the black archers with
their bows halfdrawn.

Soon the battle turned to a wild rout, and then to a grim massacre; for
the French sailors had seen bits of D'Arnot's uniform upon several of
the black warriors who opposed them.

They spared the children and those of the women whom they were not
forced to kill in self-defense, but when at length they stopped,
panting, blood covered and sweating, it was because there lived to
oppose them no single warrior of all the savage village of Mbonga.

Carefully they ransacked every hut and corner of the village, but no
sign of D'Arnot could they

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