Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 165

while yet a hundred feet
separated them.

Clayton shook his head.

"Gone," he said, as he neared the professor.

"Gone! It cannot be. Who could have taken it?" cried Professor Porter.

"God only knows, Professor," replied Clayton. "We might have thought
the fellow who guided us was lying about the location, but his surprise
and consternation on finding no chest beneath the body of the murdered
Snipes were too real to be feigned. And then our spades showed us that
SOMETHING had been buried beneath the corpse, for a hole had been there
and it had been filled with loose earth."

"But who could have taken it?" repeated Professor Porter.

"Suspicion might naturally fall on the men of the cruiser," said
Lieutenant Charpentier, "but for the fact that sub-lieutenant Janviers
here assures me that no men have had shore leave--that none has been on
shore since we anchored here except under command of an officer. I do
not know that you would suspect our men, but I am glad that there is
now no chance for suspicion to fall on them," he concluded.

"It would never have occurred to me to suspect the men to whom we owe
so much," replied Professor Porter, graciously. "I would as soon
suspect my dear Clayton here, or Mr. Philander."

The Frenchmen smiled, both officers and sailors. It was plain to see
that a burden had been lifted from their minds.

"The treasure has been gone for some time," continued Clayton. "In
fact the body fell apart as we lifted it, which indicates that whoever
removed the treasure did so while the corpse was still fresh, for it
was intact when we first uncovered it."

"There must have been several in the party," said Jane, who had joined
them. "You remember that it took four men to carry it."

"By jove!" cried Clayton. "That's right. It must have been done by a
party of blacks. Probably one of them saw the men bury the chest and
then returned immediately after with a party of his friends, and
carried it off."

"Speculation is futile," said Professor Porter sadly. "The chest is
gone. We shall never see it again, nor the treasure that was in it."

Only Jane knew what the loss meant to her father, and none there knew
what it meant to her.

Six days later Captain Dufranne announced that they would sail early on
the morrow.

Jane would have begged for a further reprieve, had it not been that she
too had begun to believe that her forest lover

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