The Beasts of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 79

of hideousness that she soon
lost all track of time. Whether they had been wandering for days or
years she could not tell. The one bright spot in that eternity of
fear and suffering was the little child whose tiny hands had long since
fastened their softly groping fingers firmly about her heart.

In a way the little thing took the place and filled the aching void
that the theft of her own baby had left. It could never be the same,
of course, but yet, day by day, she found her mother-love, enveloping
the waif more closely until she sometimes sat with closed eyes lost in
the sweet imagining that the little bundle of humanity at her breast
was truly her own.

For some time their progress inland was extremely slow. Word came to
them from time to time through natives passing from the coast on
hunting excursions that Rokoff had not yet guessed the direction of
their flight. This, and the desire to make the journey as light as
possible for the gently bred woman, kept Anderssen to a slow advance of
short and easy marches with many rests.

The Swede insisted upon carrying the child while they travelled, and in
countless other ways did what he could to help Jane Clayton conserve
her strength. He had been terribly chagrined on discovering the
mistake he had made in the identity of the baby, but once the young
woman became convinced that his motives were truly chivalrous she would
not permit him longer to upbraid himself for the error that he could
not by any means have avoided.

At the close of each day's march Anderssen saw to the erection of a
comfortable shelter for Jane and the child. Her tent was always
pitched in the most favourable location. The thorn boma round it was
the strongest and most impregnable that the Mosula could construct.

Her food was the best that their limited stores and the rifle of the
Swede could provide, but the thing that touched her heart the closest
was the gentle consideration and courtesy which the man always accorded
her.

That such nobility of character could lie beneath so repulsive an
exterior never ceased to be a source of wonder and amazement to her,
until at last the innate chivalry of the man, and his unfailing
kindliness and sympathy transformed his appearance in so far as Jane
was concerned until she saw only the sweetness of his character
mirrored in his countenance.

They had commenced to make a little better progress when

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