The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 63

completed, she left them to their
own devices.

The Swede, after explaining in his gruff way that the huts were
doubtless filthy and vermin-ridden, spread Jane's blankets on the
ground for her, and at a little distance unrolled his own and lay down
to sleep.

It was some time before the girl could find a comfortable position upon
the hard ground, but at last, the baby in the hollow of her arm, she
dropped asleep from utter exhaustion. When she awoke it was broad

About her were clustered a score of curious natives--mostly men, for
among the aborigines it is the male who owns this characteristic in its
most exaggerated form. Instinctively Jane Clayton drew the baby more
closely to her, though she soon saw that the blacks were far from
intending her or the child any harm.

In fact, one of them offered her a gourd of milk--a filthy,
smoke-begrimed gourd, with the ancient rind of long-curdled milk caked
in layers within its neck; but the spirit of the giver touched her
deeply, and her face lightened for a moment with one of those almost
forgotten smiles of radiance that had helped to make her beauty famous
both in Baltimore and London.

She took the gourd in one hand, and rather than cause the giver pain
raised it to her lips, though for the life of her she could scarce
restrain the qualm of nausea that surged through her as the malodorous
thing approached her nostrils.

It was Anderssen who came to her rescue, and taking the gourd from her,
drank a portion himself, and then returned it to the native with a gift
of blue beads.

The sun was shining brightly now, and though the baby still slept, Jane
could scarce restrain her impatient desire to have at least a brief
glance at the beloved face. The natives had withdrawn at a command
from their chief, who now stood talking with Anderssen, a little apart
from her.

As she debated the wisdom of risking disturbing the child's slumber by
lifting the blanket that now protected its face from the sun, she noted
that the cook conversed with the chief in the language of the Negro.

What a remarkable man the fellow was, indeed! She had thought him
ignorant and stupid but a short day before, and now, within the past
twenty-four hours, she had learned that he spoke not only English but
French as well, and the primitive dialect of the West Coast.

She had thought him shifty, cruel, and untrustworthy, yet in so far as
she had reason to believe he

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