The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 197

mighty
bars upon the other side were proof even against such muscles as his.
It needed but a moment's effort to convince him of the futility of
endeavoring to force that impregnable barrier. There was but one other
way, and that led back through the long tunnels to the bowlder a mile
beyond the city's walls, and then back across the open as he had come
to the city first with his Waziri.

He realized that to retrace his steps and enter the city from above
ground would mean that he would be too late to save the girl, if it
were indeed she who lay upon the sacrificial altar above him. But
there seemed no other way, and so he turned and ran swiftly back into
the passageway beyond the broken wall. At the well he heard again the
monotonous voice of the high priestess, and, as he glanced aloft, the
opening, twenty feet above, seemed so near that he was tempted to leap
for it in a mad endeavor to reach the inner courtyard that lay so near.

If he could but get one end of his grass rope caught upon some
projection at the top of that tantalizing aperture! In the instant's
pause and thought an idea occurred to him. He would attempt it.
Turning back to the tumbled wall, he seized one of the large, flat
slabs that had composed it. Hastily making one end of his rope fast to
the piece of granite, he returned to the shaft, and, coiling the
balance of the rope on the floor beside him, the ape-man took the heavy
slab in both hands, and, swinging it several times to get the distance
and the direction fixed, he let the weight fly up at a slight angle, so
that, instead of falling straight back into the shaft again, it grazed
the far edge, tumbling over into the court beyond.

Tarzan dragged for a moment upon the slack end of the rope until he
felt that the stone was lodged with fair security at the shaft's top,
then he swung out over the black depths beneath. The moment his full
weight came upon the rope he felt it slip from above. He waited there
in awful suspense as it dropped in little jerks, inch by inch. The
stone was being dragged up the outside of the masonry surrounding the
top of the shaft--would it catch at the very edge, or would his weight
drag it over to fall upon him as he hurtled into the

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