The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 148

order shall we draw?" asked Monsieur Thuran, knowing from past
experience that the majority of men always prefer last chance in a
lottery where the single prize is some distasteful thing--there is
always the chance and the hope that another will draw it first.
Monsieur Thuran, for reasons of his own, preferred to draw first if the
drawing should happen to require a second adventure beneath the coat.

And so when Spider elected to draw last he graciously offered to take
the first chance himself. His hand was under the coat for but a
moment, yet those quick, deft fingers had felt of each coin, and found
and discarded the fatal piece. When he brought forth his hand it
contained an 1888 franc piece. Then Clayton drew. Jane Porter leaned
forward with a tense and horrified expression on her face as the hand
of the man she was to marry groped about beneath the coat. Presently he
withdrew it, a franc piece lying in the palm. For an instant he dared
not look, but Monsieur Thuran, who had leaned nearer to see the date,
exclaimed that he was safe.

Jane Porter sank weak and trembling against the side of the boat. She
felt sick and dizzy. And now, if Spider should not draw the 1875 piece
she must endure the whole horrid thing again.

The sailor already had his hand beneath the coat. Great beads of sweat
were standing upon his brow. He trembled as though with a fit of ague.
Aloud he cursed himself for having taken the last draw, for now his
chances for escape were but three to one, whereas Monsieur Thuran's had
been five to one, and Clayton's four to one.

The Russian was very patient, and did not hurry the man, for he knew
that he himself was quite safe whether the 1875 piece came out this
time or not. When the sailor withdrew his hand and looked at the piece
of money within, he dropped fainting to the bottom of the boat. Both
Clayton and Monsieur Thuran hastened weakly to examine the coin, which
had rolled from the man's hand and lay beside him. It was not dated
1875. The reaction from the state of fear he had been in had overcome
Spider quite as effectually as though he had drawn the fated piece.

But now the whole proceeding must be gone through again. Once more the
Russian drew forth a harmless coin. Jane Porter closed her eyes as
Clayton reached beneath the coat.

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Text Comparison with The Return of Tarzan

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A little more than a year ago I was a naked beast of prey in an African jungle.
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As the days passed conditions became horrible.
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Tears came to the girl's eyes as she saw the poor, sunken cheeks and hollow eyes, and the lines of suffering upon the once young and handsome face.