The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

did so
tense silence reigned in the little group. The count went dead white,
and then very slowly he withdrew his hand, and in it were three cards.

He looked at them in mute and horrified surprise, and slowly the red of
mortification suffused his face. Expressions of pity and contempt
tinged the features of those who looked on at the death of a man's
honor.

"It is a conspiracy, monsieur." It was the gray-eyed stranger who
spoke. "Gentlemen," he continued, "monsieur le count did not know that
those cards were in his pocket. They were placed there without his
knowledge as he sat at play. From where I sat in that chair yonder I
saw the reflection of it all in the mirror before me. This person whom
I just intercepted in an effort to escape placed the cards in the
count's pocket."

De Coude had glanced from Tarzan to the man in his grasp.

"MON DIEU, Nikolas!" he cried. "You?"

Then he turned to his accuser, and eyed him intently for a moment.

"And you, monsieur, I did not recognize you without your beard. It
quite disguises you, Paulvitch. I see it all now. It is quite clear,
gentlemen."

"What shall we do with them, monsieur?" asked Tarzan. "Turn them over
to the captain?"

"No, my friend," said the count hastily. "It is a personal matter, and
I beg that you will let it drop. It is sufficient that I have been
exonerated from the charge. The less we have to do with such fellows,
the better. But, monsieur, how can I thank you for the great kindness
you have done me? Permit me to offer you my card, and should the time
come when I may serve you, remember that I am yours to command."

Tarzan had released Rokoff, who, with his confederate, Paulvitch, had
hastened from the smoking-room. Just as he was leaving, Rokoff turned
to Tarzan. "Monsieur will have ample opportunity to regret his
interference in the affairs of others."

Tarzan smiled, and then, bowing to the count, handed him his own card.

The count read:

M. JEAN C. TARZAN


"Monsieur Tarzan," he said, "may indeed wish that he had never
befriended me, for I can assure him that he has won the enmity of two
of the most unmitigated scoundrels in all Europe. Avoid them,
monsieur, by all means."

"I have had more awe-inspiring enemies, my dear count," replied Tarzan
with a quiet smile, "yet I am still alive and unworried. I think

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