The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 112

that he should find
one.

Without loss of time he piled his hideous fellows into the craft and
shoved out into the stream. So quickly had they taken possession of
the canoe that the warrior had not noticed that it was already
occupied. The huddled figure sleeping in the bottom had entirely
escaped his observation in the darkness of the night that had now
fallen.

But no sooner were they afloat than a savage growling from one of the
apes directly ahead of him in the dugout attracted his attention to a
shivering and cowering figure that trembled between him and the great
anthropoid. To Mugambi's astonishment he saw that it was a native
woman. With difficulty he kept the ape from her throat, and after a
time succeeded in quelling her fears.

It seemed that she had been fleeing from marriage with an old man she
loathed and had taken refuge for the night in the canoe she had found
upon the river's edge.

Mugambi did not wish her presence, but there she was, and rather than
lose time by returning her to the shore the black permitted her to
remain on board the canoe.

As quickly as his awkward companions could paddle the dugout
down-stream toward the Ugambi and the Kincaid they moved through the
darkness. It was with difficulty that Mugambi could make out the
shadowy form of the steamer, but as he had it between himself and the
ocean it was much more apparent than to one upon either shore of the
river.

As he approached it he was amazed to note that it seemed to be receding
from him, and finally he was convinced that the vessel was moving
down-stream. Just as he was about to urge his creatures to renewed
efforts to overtake the steamer the outline of another canoe burst
suddenly into view not three yards from the bow of his own craft.

At the same instant the occupants of the stranger discovered the
proximity of Mugambi's horde, but they did not at first recognize the
nature of the fearful crew. A man in the bow of the oncoming boat
challenged them just as the two dugouts were about to touch.

For answer came the menacing growl of a panther, and the fellow found
himself gazing into the flaming eyes of Sheeta, who had raised himself
with his forepaws upon the bow of the boat, ready to leap in upon the
occupants of the other craft.

Instantly Rokoff realized the peril that confronted him and his
fellows. He gave a quick command to fire upon

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