Tarzan of the Apes

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 3

in the history of

Two sailors were washing down the decks of the Fuwalda, the first mate
was on duty, and the captain had stopped to speak with John Clayton and
Lady Alice.

The men were working backwards toward the little party who were facing
away from the sailors. Closer and closer they came, until one of them
was directly behind the captain. In another moment he would have
passed by and this strange narrative would never have been recorded.

But just that instant the officer turned to leave Lord and Lady
Greystoke, and, as he did so, tripped against the sailor and sprawled
headlong upon the deck, overturning the water-pail so that he was
drenched in its dirty contents.

For an instant the scene was ludicrous; but only for an instant. With
a volley of awful oaths, his face suffused with the scarlet of
mortification and rage, the captain regained his feet, and with a
terrific blow felled the sailor to the deck.

The man was small and rather old, so that the brutality of the act was
thus accentuated. The other seaman, however, was neither old nor
small--a huge bear of a man, with fierce black mustachios, and a great
bull neck set between massive shoulders.

As he saw his mate go down he crouched, and, with a low snarl, sprang
upon the captain crushing him to his knees with a single mighty blow.

From scarlet the officer's face went white, for this was mutiny; and
mutiny he had met and subdued before in his brutal career. Without
waiting to rise he whipped a revolver from his pocket, firing point
blank at the great mountain of muscle towering before him; but, quick
as he was, John Clayton was almost as quick, so that the bullet which
was intended for the sailor's heart lodged in the sailor's leg instead,
for Lord Greystoke had struck down the captain's arm as he had seen the
weapon flash in the sun.

Words passed between Clayton and the captain, the former making it
plain that he was disgusted with the brutality displayed toward the
crew, nor would he countenance anything further of the kind while he
and Lady Greystoke remained passengers.

The captain was on the point of making an angry reply, but, thinking
better of it, turned on his heel and black and scowling, strode aft.

He did not care to antagonize an English official, for the Queen's
mighty arm wielded a punitive instrument which he could appreciate, and
which he feared--England's far-reaching navy.

The two sailors picked themselves up, the older man assisting his
wounded comrade

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