The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 100

was--a bundle of refuse. But if Mr. Caldwell is
not found on board I shall always be positive that it was he whom I saw
fall past my port."

The captain ordered an immediate and thorough search of the entire ship
from stem to stern--no nook or cranny was to be overlooked. Miss
Strong remained in his cabin, waiting the outcome of the quest. The
captain asked her many questions, but she could tell him nothing about
the missing man other than what she had herself seen during their brief
acquaintance on shipboard. For the first time she suddenly realized
how very little indeed Mr. Caldwell had told her about himself or his
past life. That he had been born in Africa and educated in Paris was
about all she knew, and this meager information had been the result of
her surprise that an Englishman should speak English with such a marked
French accent.

"Did he ever speak of any enemies?" asked the captain.

"Never."

"Was he acquainted with any of the other passengers?"

"Only as he had been with me--through the circumstance of casual
meeting as fellow shipmates."

"Er--was he, in your opinion, Miss Strong, a man who drank to excess?"

"I do not know that he drank at all--he certainly had not been drinking
up to half an hour before I saw that body fall overboard," she
answered, "for I was with him on deck up to that time."

"It is very strange," said the captain. "He did not look to me like a
man who was subject to fainting spells, or anything of that sort. And
even had he been it is scarcely credible that he should have fallen
completely over the rail had he been taken with an attack while leaning
upon it--he would rather have fallen inside, upon the deck. If he is
not on board, Miss Strong, he was thrown overboard--and the fact that
you heard no outcry would lead to the assumption that he was dead
before he left the ship's deck--murdered."

The girl shuddered.

It was a full hour later that the first officer returned to report the
outcome of the search.

"Mr. Caldwell is not on board, sir," he said.

"I fear that there is something more serious than accident here, Mr.
Brently," said the captain. "I wish that you would make a personal and
very careful examination of Mr. Caldwell's effects, to ascertain if
there is any clew to a motive either for suicide or murder--sift the
thing to the bottom."

"Aye, aye, sir!" responded Mr. Brently, and left to commence

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