The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 173

tableau below him he hopped up and down,
shrieking to them in Russian.

"Run! Run!" he cried. "Run, or I shall be left all alone in this
horrible place," and then he broke down and commenced to weep. For a
moment this new voice distracted the attention of the lion, who halted
to cast an inquiring glance in the direction of the tree. Clayton
could endure the strain no longer. Turning his back upon the beast, he
buried his head in his arms and waited.

The girl looked at him in horror. Why did he not do something? If he
must die, why not die like a man--bravely; beating at that terrible
face with his puny stick, no matter how futile it might be. Would
Tarzan of the Apes have done thus? Would he not at least have gone
down to his death fighting heroically to the last?

Now the lion was crouching for the spring that would end their young
lives beneath cruel, rending, yellow fangs. Jane Porter sank to her
knees in prayer, closing her eyes to shut out the last hideous instant.
Thuran, weak from fever, fainted.

Seconds dragged into minutes, long minutes into an eternity, and yet
the beast did not spring. Clayton was almost unconscious from the
prolonged agony of fright--his knees trembled--a moment more and he
would collapse.

Jane Porter could endure it no longer. She opened her eyes. Could she
be dreaming?

"William," she whispered; "look!"

Clayton mastered himself sufficiently to raise his head and turn toward
the lion. An ejaculation of surprise burst from his lips. At their
very feet the beast lay crumpled in death. A heavy war spear protruded
from the tawny hide. It had entered the great back above the right
shoulder, and, passing entirely through the body, had pierced the
savage heart.

Jane Porter had risen to her feet; as Clayton turned back to her she
staggered in weakness. He put out his arms to save her from falling,
and then drew her close to him--pressing her head against his shoulder,
he stooped to kiss her in thanksgiving.

Gently the girl pushed him away.

"Please do not do that, William," she said. "I have lived a thousand
years in the past brief moments. I have learned in the face of death
how to live. I do not wish to hurt you more than is necessary; but I
can no longer bear to live out the impossible position I have attempted
because of a false sense of

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