The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 183

am no protection whatever," he added
bitterly.

"Do not say that, William," she hastened to urge, acutely sorry for the
wound her words had caused. "You have done the best you could. You
have been noble, and self-sacrificing, and brave. It is no fault of
yours that you are not a superman. There is only one other man I have
ever known who could have done more than you. My words were ill chosen
in the excitement of the reaction--I did not wish to wound you. All
that I wish is that we may both understand once and for all that I can
never marry you--that such a marriage would be wicked."

"I think I understand," he replied. "Let us not speak of it again--at
least until we are back in civilization."

The next day Thuran was worse. Almost constantly he was in a state of
delirium. They could do nothing to relieve him, nor was Clayton
over-anxious to attempt anything. On the girl's account he feared the
Russian--in the bottom of his heart he hoped the man would die. The
thought that something might befall him that would leave her entirely
at the mercy of this beast caused him greater anxiety than the
probability that almost certain death awaited her should she be left
entirely alone upon the outskirts of the cruel forest.

The Englishman had extracted the heavy spear from the body of the lion,
so that when he went into the forest to hunt that morning he had a
feeling of much greater security than at any time since they had been
cast upon the savage shore. The result was that he penetrated farther
from the shelter than ever before.

To escape as far as possible from the mad ravings of the fever-stricken
Russian, Jane Porter had descended from the shelter to the foot of the
tree--she dared not venture farther. Here, beside the crude ladder
Clayton had constructed for her, she sat looking out to sea, in the
always surviving hope that a vessel might be sighted.

Her back was toward the jungle, and so she did not see the grasses
part, or the savage face that peered from between. Little, bloodshot,
close-set eyes scanned her intently, roving from time to time about the
open beach for indications of the presence of others than herself.
Presently another head appeared, and then another and another. The man
in the shelter commenced to rave again, and the heads disappeared as
silently and as suddenly as they had come.

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