The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 177

for far below him he saw
the shimmering surface of water. He had come upon an ancient well--but
what was the purpose of the connection between the well and the dungeon
in which he had been hidden?

As the moon crossed the opening of the shaft its light flooded the
whole interior, and then Tarzan saw directly across from him another
opening in the opposite wall. He wondered if this might not be the
mouth of a passage leading to possible escape. It would be worth
investigating, at least, and this he determined to do.

Quickly returning to the wall he had demolished to explore what lay
beyond it, he carried the stones into the passageway and replaced them
from that side. The deep deposit of dust which he had noticed upon the
blocks as he had first removed them from the wall had convinced him
that even if the present occupants of the ancient pile had knowledge of
this hidden passage they had made no use of it for perhaps generations.

The wall replaced, Tarzan turned to the shaft, which was some fifteen
feet wide at this point. To leap across the intervening space was a
small matter to the ape-man, and a moment later he was proceeding along
a narrow tunnel, moving cautiously for fear of being precipitated into
another shaft such as he had just crossed.

He had advanced some hundred feet when he came to a flight of steps
leading downward into Stygian gloom. Some twenty feet below, the level
floor of the tunnel recommenced, and shortly afterward his progress was
stopped by a heavy wooden door which was secured by massive wooden bars
upon the side of Tarzan's approach. This fact suggested to the ape-man
that he might surely be in a passageway leading to the outer world, for
the bolts, barring progress from the opposite side, tended to
substantiate this hypothesis, unless it were merely a prison to which
it led.

Along the tops of the bars were deep layers of dust--a further
indication that the passage had lain long unused. As he pushed the
massive obstacle aside, its great hinges shrieked out in weird protest
against this unaccustomed disturbance. For a moment Tarzan paused to
listen for any responsive note which might indicate that the unusual
night noise had alarmed the inmates of the temple; but as he heard
nothing he advanced beyond the doorway.

Carefully feeling about, he found himself within a large chamber, along
the walls of which, and down the length of the floor, were piled many
tiers of

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