The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 20

the grace and
ease of a monkey. But for the heavy burden upon his heart he would
have been happy in this return to the old free life of his boyhood.

Yet even with that burden he fell into the little habits and manners of
his early life that were in reality more a part of him than the thin
veneer of civilization that the past three years of his association
with the white men of the outer world had spread lightly over him--a
veneer that only hid the crudities of the beast that Tarzan of the Apes
had been.

Could his fellow-peers of the House of Lords have seen him then they
would have held up their noble hands in holy horror.

Silently he crouched in the lower branches of a great forest giant that
overhung the trail, his keen eyes and sensitive ears strained into the
distant jungle, from which he knew his dinner would presently emerge.

Nor had he long to wait.

Scarce had he settled himself to a comfortable position, his lithe,
muscular legs drawn well up beneath him as the panther draws his
hindquarters in preparation for the spring, than Bara, the deer, came
daintily down to drink.

But more than Bara was coming. Behind the graceful buck came another
which the deer could neither see nor scent, but whose movements were
apparent to Tarzan of the Apes because of the elevated position of the
ape-man's ambush.

He knew not yet exactly the nature of the thing that moved so
stealthily through the jungle a few hundred yards behind the deer; but
he was convinced that it was some great beast of prey stalking Bara for
the selfsame purpose as that which prompted him to await the fleet
animal. Numa, perhaps, or Sheeta, the panther.

In any event, Tarzan could see his repast slipping from his grasp
unless Bara moved more rapidly toward the ford than at present.

Even as these thoughts passed through his mind some noise of the
stalker in his rear must have come to the buck, for with a sudden start
he paused for an instant, trembling, in his tracks, and then with a
swift bound dashed straight for the river and Tarzan. It was his
intention to flee through the shallow ford and escape upon the opposite
side of the river.

Not a hundred yards behind him came Numa.

Tarzan could see him quite plainly now. Below the ape-man Bara was
about to pass. Could he do it? But even as he asked himself the
question the hungry man launched himself from

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