Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 155

back was turned toward him, but, tanned though it
was, D'Arnot saw that it was the back of a white man, and he thanked
God.

The Frenchman called faintly. The man turned, and rising, came toward
the shelter. His face was very handsome--the handsomest, thought
D'Arnot, that he had ever seen.

Stooping, he crawled into the shelter beside the wounded officer, and
placed a cool hand upon his forehead.

D'Arnot spoke to him in French, but the man only shook his head--sadly,
it seemed to the Frenchman.

Then D'Arnot tried English, but still the man shook his head. Italian,
Spanish and German brought similar discouragement.

D'Arnot knew a few words of Norwegian, Russian, Greek, and also had a
smattering of the language of one of the West Coast negro tribes--the
man denied them all.

After examining D'Arnot's wounds the man left the shelter and
disappeared. In half an hour he was back with fruit and a hollow
gourd-like vegetable filled with water.

D'Arnot drank and ate a little. He was surprised that he had no fever.
Again he tried to converse with his strange nurse, but the attempt was
useless.

Suddenly the man hastened from the shelter only to return a few minutes
later with several pieces of bark and--wonder of wonders--a lead pencil.

Squatting beside D'Arnot he wrote for a minute on the smooth inner
surface of the bark; then he handed it to the Frenchman.

D'Arnot was astonished to see, in plain print-like characters, a
message in English:


I am Tarzan of the Apes. Who are you? Can you read this language?


D'Arnot seized the pencil--then he stopped. This strange man wrote
English--evidently he was an Englishman.

"Yes," said D'Arnot, "I read English. I speak it also. Now we may
talk. First let me thank you for all that you have done for me."

The man only shook his head and pointed to the pencil and the bark.

"MON DIEU!" cried D'Arnot. "If you are English why is it then that you
cannot speak English?"

And then in a flash it came to him--the man was a mute, possibly a deaf
mute.

So D'Arnot wrote a message on the bark, in English.


I am Paul d'Arnot, Lieutenant in the navy of France. I thank you for
what you have done for me. You have saved my life, and all that I have
is yours. May I ask how it is that one who writes English does not
speak it?


Tarzan's reply filled D'Arnot with still greater wonder:


I speak only the language of my tribe--the great

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