The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 144

divided into two camps, and when the
provisions had been apportioned each immediately set to work to open
and distribute food and water. The sailors were the first to get one
of the tins of "food" open, and their curses of rage and disappointment
caused Clayton to ask what the trouble might be.

"Trouble!" shrieked Spider. "Trouble! It's worse than trouble--it's
death! This---tin is full of coal oil!"

Hastily now Clayton and Monsieur Thuran tore open one of theirs, only
to learn the hideous truth that it also contained, not food, but coal
oil. One after another the four tins on board were opened. And as the
contents of each became known howls of anger announced the grim
truth--there was not an ounce of food upon the boat.

"Well, thank Gawd it wasn't the water," cried Thompkins. "It's easier
to get along without food than it is without water. We can eat our
shoes if worse comes to worst, but we couldn't drink 'em."

As he spoke Wilson had been boring a hole in one of the water kegs, and
as Spider held a tin cup he tilted the keg to pour a draft of the
precious fluid. A thin stream of blackish, dry particles filtered
slowly through the tiny aperture into the bottom of the cup. With a
groan Wilson dropped the keg, and sat staring at the dry stuff in the
cup, speechless with horror.

"The kegs are filled with gunpowder," said Spider, in a low tone,
turning to those aft. And so it proved when the last had been opened.

"Coal oil and gunpowder!" cried Monsieur Thuran. "SAPRISTI! What a
diet for shipwrecked mariners!"

With the full knowledge that there was neither food nor water on board,
the pangs of hunger and thirst became immediately aggravated, and so on
the first day of their tragic adventure real suffering commenced in
grim earnest, and the full horrors of shipwreck were upon them.

As the days passed conditions became horrible. Aching eyes scanned the
horizon day and night until the weak and weary watchers would sink
exhausted to the bottom of the boat, and there wrest in dream-disturbed
slumber a moment's respite from the horrors of the waking reality.

The sailors, goaded by the remorseless pangs of hunger, had eaten their
leather belts, their shoes, the sweatbands from their caps, although
both Clayton and Monsieur Thuran had done their best to convince them
that these would only add to the suffering they were enduring.

Weak and hopeless, the entire party lay beneath

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