The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

he had there
arranged the details of his plan for the adventure upon which they were
now setting forth.

Even though the moon was full, the surface of the small river was quite
dark. The giant trees overhung its narrow banks, meeting in a great
arch above the centre of the river. Spanish moss dropped from the
gracefully bending limbs, and enormous creepers clambered in riotous
profusion from the ground to the loftiest branch, falling in curving
loops almost to the water's placid breast.

Now and then the river's surface would be suddenly broken ahead of them
by a huge crocodile, startled by the splashing of the oars, or,
snorting and blowing, a family of hippos would dive from a sandy bar to
the cool, safe depths of the bottom.

From the dense jungles upon either side came the weird night cries of
the carnivora--the maniacal voice of the hyena, the coughing grunt of
the panther, the deep and awful roar of the lion. And with them
strange, uncanny notes that the girl could not ascribe to any
particular night prowler--more terrible because of their mystery.

Huddled in the stern of the boat she sat with her baby strained close
to her bosom, and because of that little tender, helpless thing she was
happier tonight than she had been for many a sorrow-ridden day.

Even though she knew not to what fate she was going, or how soon that
fate might overtake her, still was she happy and thankful for the
moment, however brief, that she might press her baby tightly in her
arms. She could scarce wait for the coming of the day that she might
look again upon the bright face of her little, black-eyed Jack.

Again and again she tried to strain her eyes through the blackness of
the jungle night to have but a tiny peep at those beloved features, but
only the dim outline of the baby face rewarded her efforts. Then once
more she would cuddle the warm, little bundle close to her throbbing
heart.

It must have been close to three o'clock in the morning that Anderssen
brought the boat's nose to the shore before a clearing where could be
dimly seen in the waning moonlight a cluster of native huts encircled
by a thorn boma.

At the village gate they were admitted by a native woman, the wife of
the chief whom Anderssen had paid to assist him. She took them to the
chief's hut, but Anderssen said that they would sleep without upon the
ground, and so, her duty having been

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