Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 16

screams, or the
stealthy moving of great bodies beneath them.




Chapter III

Life and Death


Morning found them but little, if at all refreshed, though it was with
a feeling of intense relief that they saw the day dawn.

As soon as they had made their meager breakfast of salt pork, coffee
and biscuit, Clayton commenced work upon their house, for he realized
that they could hope for no safety and no peace of mind at night until
four strong walls effectually barred the jungle life from them.

The task was an arduous one and required the better part of a month,
though he built but one small room. He constructed his cabin of small
logs about six inches in diameter, stopping the chinks with clay which
he found at the depth of a few feet beneath the surface soil.

At one end he built a fireplace of small stones from the beach. These
also he set in clay and when the house had been entirely completed he
applied a coating of the clay to the entire outside surface to the
thickness of four inches.

In the window opening he set small branches about an inch in diameter
both vertically and horizontally, and so woven that they formed a
substantial grating that could withstand the strength of a powerful
animal. Thus they obtained air and proper ventilation without fear of
lessening the safety of their cabin.

The A-shaped roof was thatched with small branches laid close together
and over these long jungle grass and palm fronds, with a final coating
of clay.

The door he built of pieces of the packing-boxes which had held their
belongings, nailing one piece upon another, the grain of contiguous
layers running transversely, until he had a solid body some three
inches thick and of such great strength that they were both moved to
laughter as they gazed upon it.

Here the greatest difficulty confronted Clayton, for he had no means
whereby to hang his massive door now that he had built it. After two
days' work, however, he succeeded in fashioning two massive hardwood
hinges, and with these he hung the door so that it opened and closed
easily.

The stuccoing and other final touches were added after they moved into
the house, which they had done as soon as the roof was on, piling their
boxes before the door at night and thus having a comparatively safe and
comfortable habitation.

The building of a bed, chairs, table, and shelves was a relatively easy
matter, so that by the end of the second month they were well settled,
and, but for the

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Page 5
Late in the afternoon he saw her upper works fade below the far horizon, but not before he learned that which confirmed his greatest fears, and caused him to curse the false pride which had restrained him from seeking safety for his young wife a few short hours before, when safety was within reach--a safety which was now gone forever.
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Then Clayton stooped and picked it up.
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With a low cry of dismay Kala rushed headlong to its side, thoughtless now of the danger from Kerchak; but when she gathered the wee, mangled form to her bosom life had left it.
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When the king ape released the limp form which had been John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, he turned his attention toward the little cradle; but Kala was there before him, and when he would have grasped the child she snatched it herself, and before he could intercept her she had bolted through the door and taken refuge in a high tree.
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His little body, burned brown by exposure, suddenly caused him feelings of intense shame, for he realized that it was entirely hairless, like some low snake, or other reptile.
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But the boy had learned in that brief second a use for his sharp and shining toy, so that, as the tearing, striking beast dragged him to earth he plunged the blade repeatedly and to the hilt into its breast.
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Before the drum sat three old females, each armed with a knotted branch fifteen or eighteen inches in length.
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It was alive with lions and leopards and poisonous snakes.
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His spear hand went far back, the muscles rolled, lightning-like, beneath the sleek hide.
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Again did Tarzan feast well, but this time he did not sleep.
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The men argued angrily for a moment.
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Instead, during our long residence here, he has been uniformly consistent in his role of protector and provider.
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At length he handed it to D'Arnot.
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" "It is settled then," said Tarzan.
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As the Negro closed upon him, steel muscles gripped the black wrist of the uplifted knife-hand, and a single swift wrench left the hand dangling below a broken bone.
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asked Canler.
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For his sake, please, never mention it.
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Something might happen yet, he tried to console himself by thinking.
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And he called Esmeralda by name.