Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 152

may come to us."

Clayton did not reply, but within him rose a new respect for Frenchmen
which remained undimmed ever after.

It was quite late when they reached the cabin by the beach. A single
shot before they emerged from the jungle had announced to those in camp
as well as on the ship that the expedition had been too late--for it
had been prearranged that when they came within a mile or two of camp
one shot was to be fired to denote failure, or three for success, while
two would have indicated that they had found no sign of either D'Arnot
or his black captors.

So it was a solemn party that awaited their coming, and few words were
spoken as the dead and wounded men were tenderly placed in boats and
rowed silently toward the cruiser.

Clayton, exhausted from his five days of laborious marching through the
jungle and from the effects of his two battles with the blacks, turned
toward the cabin to seek a mouthful of food and then the comparative
ease of his bed of grasses after two nights in the jungle.

By the cabin door stood Jane.

"The poor lieutenant?" she asked. "Did you find no trace of him?"

"We were too late, Miss Porter," he replied sadly.

"Tell me. What had happened?" she asked.

"I cannot, Miss Porter, it is too horrible."

"You do not mean that they had tortured him?" she whispered.

"We do not know what they did to him BEFORE they killed him," he
answered, his face drawn with fatigue and the sorrow he felt for poor
D'Arnot and he emphasized the word before.

"BEFORE they killed him! What do you mean? They are not--? They are
not--?"

She was thinking of what Clayton had said of the forest man's probable
relationship to this tribe and she could not frame the awful word.

"Yes, Miss Porter, they were--cannibals," he said, almost bitterly, for
to him too had suddenly come the thought of the forest man, and the
strange, unaccountable jealousy he had felt two days before swept over
him once more.

And then in sudden brutality that was as unlike Clayton as courteous
consideration is unlike an ape, he blurted out:

"When your forest god left you he was doubtless hurrying to the feast."

He was sorry ere the words were spoken though he did not know how
cruelly they had cut the girl. His regret was for his baseless
disloyalty to one who had saved the lives of every member of his party,
and offered harm to none.

The girl's head

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