The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 185

even to her knees.

As the beasts surrounded her, chattering threateningly the while they
goaded her with their cudgels and beat and kicked her with their fists
and feet, she lay with closed eyes, praying for the merciful death that
she knew alone could give her surcease from suffering; but it did not
come, and presently the fifty frightful men realized that their victim
was no longer able to walk, and so they picked her up and carried her
the balance of the journey.

Late one afternoon she saw the ruined walls of a mighty city looming
before them, but so weak and sick was she that it inspired not the
faintest shadow of interest. Wherever they were bearing her, there
could be but one end to her captivity among these fierce half brutes.

At last they passed through two great walls and came to the ruined city
within. Into a crumbling pile they bore her, and here she was
surrounded by hundreds more of the same creatures that had brought her;
but among them were females who looked less horrible. At sight of them
the first faint hope that she had entertained came to mitigate her
misery. But it was short-lived, for the women offered her no sympathy,
though, on the other hand, neither did they abuse her.

After she had been inspected to the entire satisfaction of the inmates
of the building she was borne to a dark chamber in the vaults beneath,
and here upon the bare floor she was left, with a metal bowl of water
and another of food.

For a week she saw only some of the women whose duty it was to bring
her food and water. Slowly her strength was returning--soon she would
be in fit condition to offer as a sacrifice to The Flaming God.
Fortunate indeed it was that she could not know the fate for which she
was destined.

As Tarzan of the Apes moved slowly through the jungle after casting the
spear that saved Clayton and Jane Porter from the fangs of Numa, his
mind was filled with all the sorrow that belongs to a freshly opened
heart wound.

He was glad that he had stayed his hand in time to prevent the
consummation of the thing that in the first mad wave of jealous wrath
he had contemplated. Only the fraction of a second had stood between
Clayton and death at the hands of the ape-man. In the short moment
that had elapsed after he had recognized the girl and her companion and
the relaxing of the

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