The Return of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

"You have hounded me until I
have lost the last shred of my honor. You have driven me to murder,
for the blood of that man Tarzan is on my hands. If it were not that
that other devil's spawn, Paulvitch, still knew my secret, I should
kill you here tonight with my bare hands."

Rokoff laughed. "You would not do that, my dear lieutenant," he said.
"The moment I am reported dead by assassination that dear Alexis will
forward to the minister of war full proof of the affair you so ardently
long to conceal; and, further, will charge you with my murder. Come,
be sensible. I am your best friend. Have I not protected your honor
as though it were my own?"

Gernois sneered, and spat out an oath.

"Just one more little payment," continued Rokoff, "and the papers I
wish, and you have my word of honor that I shall never ask another cent
from you, or further information."

"And a good reason why," growled Gernois. "What you ask will take my
last cent, and the only valuable military secret I hold. You ought to
be paying me for the information, instead of taking both it and money,
too."

"I am paying you by keeping a still tongue in my head," retorted
Rokoff. "But let's have done. Will you, or will you not? I give you
three minutes to decide. If you are not agreeable I shall send a note
to your commandant tonight that will end in the degradation that
Dreyfus suffered--the only difference being that he did not deserve it."

For a moment Gernois sat with bowed head. At length he arose. He drew
two pieces of paper from his blouse.

"Here," he said hopelessly. "I had them ready, for I knew that there
could be but one outcome." He held them toward the Russian.

Rokoff's cruel face lighted in malignant gloating. He seized the bits
of paper.

"You have done well, Gernois," he said. "I shall not trouble you
again--unless you happen to accumulate some more money or information,"
and he grinned.

"You never shall again, you dog!" hissed Gernois. "The next time I
shall kill you. I came near doing it tonight. For an hour I sat with
these two pieces of paper on my table before me ere I came here--beside
them lay my loaded revolver. I was trying to decide which I should
bring. Next time the choice shall be easier, for I already have
decided.

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