The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 128

also watching the land grow upward out of the
ocean. The beasts had sought the shade of the galley, where they were
curled up in sleep. All was quiet and peace upon the ship, and upon
the waters.

Suddenly, without warning, the cabin roof shot up into the air, a cloud
of dense smoke puffed far above the Kincaid, there was a terrific
explosion which shook the vessel from stem to stern.

Instantly pandemonium broke loose upon the deck. The apes of Akut,
terrified by the sound, ran hither and thither, snarling and growling.
Sheeta leaped here and there, screaming out his startled terror in
hideous cries that sent the ice of fear straight to the hearts of the
Kincaid's crew.

Mugambi, too, was trembling. Only Tarzan of the Apes and his wife
retained their composure. Scarce had the debris settled than the
ape-man was among the beasts, quieting their fears, talking to them in
low, pacific tones, stroking their shaggy bodies, and assuring them, as
only he could, that the immediate danger was over.

An examination of the wreckage showed that their greatest danger, now,
lay in fire, for the flames were licking hungrily at the splintered
wood of the wrecked cabin, and had already found a foothold upon the
lower deck through a great jagged hole which the explosion had opened.

By a miracle no member of the ship's company had been injured by the
blast, the origin of which remained for ever a total mystery to all but
one--the sailor who knew that Paulvitch had been aboard the Kincaid and
in his cabin the previous night. He guessed the truth; but discretion
sealed his lips. It would, doubtless, fare none too well for the man
who had permitted the arch enemy of them all aboard the ship in the
watches of the night, where later he might set an infernal machine to
blow them all to kingdom come. No, the man decided that he would keep
this knowledge to himself.

As the flames gained headway it became apparent to Tarzan that whatever
had caused the explosion had scattered some highly inflammable
substance upon the surrounding woodwork, for the water which they
poured in from the pump seemed rather to spread than to extinguish the
blaze.

Fifteen minutes after the explosion great, black clouds of smoke were
rising from the hold of the doomed vessel. The flames had reached the
engine-room, and the ship no longer moved toward the shore. Her fate
was as certain as though the waters had already closed above

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