The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 8

fair play had thrust him. And then he came most unexpectedly upon
Rokoff and Paulvitch at a moment when of all others the two might least
appreciate his company.

They were standing on deck at a point which was temporarily deserted,
and as Tarzan came upon them they were in heated argument with a woman.
Tarzan noted that she was richly appareled, and that her slender,
well-modeled figure denoted youth; but as she was heavily veiled he
could not discern her features.

The men were standing on either side of her, and the backs of all were
toward Tarzan, so that he was quite close to them without their being
aware of his presence. He noticed that Rokoff seemed to be
threatening, the woman pleading; but they spoke in a strange tongue,
and he could only guess from appearances that the girl was afraid.

Rokoff's attitude was so distinctly filled with the threat of physical
violence that the ape-man paused for an instant just behind the trio,
instinctively sensing an atmosphere of danger. Scarcely had he
hesitated ere the man seized the woman roughly by the wrist, twisting
it as though to wring a promise from her through torture. What would
have happened next had Rokoff had his way we may only conjecture, since
he did not have his way at all. Instead, steel fingers gripped his
shoulder, and he was swung unceremoniously around, to meet the cold
gray eyes of the stranger who had thwarted him on the previous day.

"SAPRISTI!" screamed the infuriated Rokoff. "What do you mean? Are
you a fool that you thus again insult Nikolas Rokoff?"

"This is my answer to your note, monsieur," said Tarzan, in a low
voice. And then he hurled the fellow from him with such force that
Rokoff lunged sprawling against the rail.

"Name of a name!" shrieked Rokoff. "Pig, but you shall die for this,"
and, springing to his feet, he rushed upon Tarzan, tugging the
meanwhile to draw a revolver from his hip pocket. The girl shrank back
in terror.

"Nikolas!" she cried. "Do not--oh, do not do that. Quick, monsieur,
fly, or he will surely kill you!" But instead of flying Tarzan
advanced to meet the fellow. "Do not make a fool of yourself,
monsieur," he said.

Rokoff, who was in a perfect frenzy of rage at the humiliation the
stranger had put upon him, had at last succeeded in drawing the
revolver. He had stopped, and now he deliberately raised it to
Tarzan's breast and pulled the trigger.

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