The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 30

to the gallows in Russia if it were known
by the police of St. Petersburg. I dared him to carry out his plan,
and then I leaned toward him and whispered a name in his ear. Like
that"--and she snapped her fingers--"he flew at my throat as a madman.
He would have killed me had you not interfered."

"The brutes!" muttered Tarzan.

"They are worse than that, my friend," she said.

"They are devils. I fear for you because you have gained their hatred.
I wish you to be on your guard constantly. Tell me that you will, for
my sake, for I should never forgive myself should you suffer through
the kindness you did me."

"I do not fear them," he replied. "I have survived grimmer enemies
than Rokoff and Paulvitch." He saw that she knew nothing of the
occurrence in the Rue Maule, nor did he mention it, fearing that it
might distress her.

"For your own safety," he continued, "why do you not turn the
scoundrels over to the authorities? They should make quick work of
them."

She hesitated for a moment before replying.

"There are two reasons," she said finally. "One of them it is that
keeps the count from doing that very thing. The other, my real reason
for fearing to expose them, I have never told--only Rokoff and I know
it. I wonder," and then she paused, looking intently at him for a long
time.

"And what do you wonder?" he asked, smiling.

"I was wondering why it is that I want to tell you the thing that I
have not dared tell even to my husband. I believe that you would
understand, and that you could tell me the right course to follow. I
believe that you would not judge me too harshly."

"I fear that I should prove a very poor judge, madame," Tarzan replied,
"for if you had been guilty of murder I should say that the victim
should be grateful to have met so sweet a fate."

"Oh, dear, no," she expostulated; "it is not so terrible as that. But
first let me tell you the reason the count has for not prosecuting
these men; then, if I can hold my courage, I shall tell you the real
reason that I dare not. The first is that Nikolas Rokoff is my
brother. We are Russians. Nikolas has been a bad man since I can
remember. He was cashiered from the Russian army, in which he held a
captaincy. There was

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