The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 109

to the Primitive


As Tarzan struck the water, his first impulse was to swim clear of the
ship and possible danger from her propellers. He knew whom to thank
for his present predicament, and as he lay in the sea, just supporting
himself by a gentle movement of his hands, his chief emotion was one of
chagrin that he had been so easily bested by Rokoff.

He lay thus for some time, watching the receding and rapidly
diminishing lights of the steamer without it ever once occurring to him
to call for help. He never had called for help in his life, and so it
is not strange that he did not think of it now. Always had he depended
upon his own prowess and resourcefulness, nor had there ever been since
the days of Kala any to answer an appeal for succor. When it did occur
to him it was too late.

There was, thought Tarzan, a possible one chance in a hundred thousand
that he might be picked up, and an even smaller chance that he would
reach land, so he determined that to combine what slight chances there
were, he would swim slowly in the direction of the coast--the ship
might have been closer in than he had known.

His strokes were long and easy--it would be many hours before those
giant muscles would commence to feel fatigue. As he swam, guided
toward the east by the stars, he noticed that he felt the weight of his
shoes, and so he removed them. His trousers went next, and he would
have removed his coat at the same time but for the precious papers in
its pocket. To assure himself that he still had them he slipped his
hand in to feel, but to his consternation they were gone.

Now he knew that something more than revenge had prompted Rokoff to
pitch him overboard--the Russian had managed to obtain possession of
the papers Tarzan had wrested from him at Bou Saada. The ape-man swore
softly, and let his coat and shirt sink into the Atlantic. Before many
hours he had divested himself of his remaining garments, and was
swimming easily and unencumbered toward the east.

The first faint evidence of dawn was paling the stars ahead of him when
the dim outlines of a low-lying black mass loomed up directly in his
track. A few strong strokes brought him to its side--it was the bottom
of a wave-washed derelict. Tarzan clambered upon it--he would rest
there until daylight at least. He

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