The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 129

her
charred and smoking remains.

"It is useless to remain aboard her longer," remarked the ape-man to
the mate. "There is no telling but there may be other explosions, and
as we cannot hope to save her, the safest thing which we can do is to
take to the boats without further loss of time and make land."

Nor was there other alternative. Only the sailors could bring away any
belongings, for the fire, which had not yet reached the forecastle, had
consumed all in the vicinity of the cabin which the explosion had not
destroyed.

Two boats were lowered, and as there was no sea the landing was made
with infinite ease. Eager and anxious, the beasts of Tarzan sniffed
the familiar air of their native island as the small boats drew in
toward the beach, and scarce had their keels grated upon the sand than
Sheeta and the apes of Akut were over the bows and racing swiftly
toward the jungle. A half-sad smile curved the lips of the ape-man as
he watched them go.

"Good-bye, my friends," he murmured. "You have been good and faithful
allies, and I shall miss you."

"They will return, will they not, dear?" asked Jane Clayton, at his
side.

"They may and they may not," replied the ape-man. "They have been ill
at ease since they were forced to accept so many human beings into
their confidence. Mugambi and I alone affected them less, for he and I
are, at best, but half human. You, however, and the members of the
crew are far too civilized for my beasts--it is you whom they are
fleeing. Doubtless they feel that they cannot trust themselves in the
close vicinity of so much perfectly good food without the danger that
they may help themselves to a mouthful some time by mistake."

Jane laughed. "I think they are just trying to escape you," she
retorted. "You are always making them stop something which they see no
reason why they should not do. Like little children they are doubtless
delighted at this opportunity to flee from the zone of parental
discipline. If they come back, though, I hope they won't come by
night."

"Or come hungry, eh?" laughed Tarzan.

For two hours after landing the little party stood watching the burning
ship which they had abandoned. Then there came faintly to them from
across the water the sound of a second explosion. The Kincaid settled
rapidly almost immediately thereafter, and sank within a few minutes.

The cause of the

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