The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 71

Gernois himself who spoke.

"If my captain will forego the pleasure of Monsieur Tarzan's company
for this once, I shall esteem it an honor indeed to have monsieur ride
with me today," he said, nor was his tone lacking in cordiality. In
fact, Tarzan imagined that he had overdone it a trifle, but, even so,
he was both astounded and pleased, hastening to express his delight at
the arrangement.

And so it was that Lieutenant Gernois and Tarzan rode off side by side
at the head of the little detachment of SPAHIS. Gernois' cordiality
was short-lived. No sooner had they ridden out of sight of Captain
Gerard and his men than he lapsed once more into his accustomed
taciturnity. As they advanced the ground became rougher. Steadily it
ascended toward the mountains, into which they filed through a narrow
canon close to noon. By the side of a little rivulet Gernois called
the midday halt. Here the men prepared and ate their frugal meal, and
refilled their canteens.

After an hour's rest they advanced again along the canon, until they
presently came to a little valley, from which several rocky gorges
diverged. Here they halted, while Gernois minutely examined the
surrounding heights from the center of the depression.

"We shall separate here," he said, "several riding into each of these
gorges," and then he commenced to detail his various squads and issue
instructions to the non-commissioned officers who were to command them.
When he had done he turned to Tarzan. "Monsieur will be so good as to
remain here until we return."

Tarzan demurred, but the officer cut him short. "There may be fighting
for one of these sections," he said, "and troops cannot be embarrassed
by civilian noncombatants during action."

"But, my dear lieutenant," expostulated Tarzan, "I am most ready and
willing to place myself under command of yourself or any of your
sergeants or corporals, and to fight in the ranks as they direct. It
is what I came for."

"I should be glad to think so," retorted Gernois, with a sneer he made
no attempt to disguise. Then shortly: "You are under my orders, and
they are that you remain here until we return. Let that end the
matter," and he turned and spurred away at the head of his men. A
moment later Tarzan found himself alone in the midst of a desolate
mountain fastness.

The sun was hot, so he sought the shelter of a nearby tree, where he
tethered his horse, and sat down upon the ground to smoke.

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