The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 105

jungle, Kovudoo," said Jenssen. "You should be ashamed to try to make
fun of old friends."

Kovudoo sprang to his feet. "Come," he said, "I will show you that she
is all I say."

Malbihn and Jenssen rose to follow him and as they did so their eyes
met, and Malbihn slowly drooped one of his lids in a sly wink.
Together they followed Kovudoo toward his hut. In the dim interior
they discerned the figure of a woman lying bound upon a sleeping mat.

Malbihn took a single glance and turned away. "She must be a thousand
years old, Kovudoo," he said, as he left the hut.

"She is young," cried the savage. "It is dark in here. You cannot
see. Wait, I will have her brought out into the sunlight," and he
commanded the two warriors who watched the girl to cut the bonds from
her ankles and lead her forth for inspection.

Malbihn and Jenssen evinced no eagerness, though both were fairly
bursting with it--not to see the girl but to obtain possession of her.
They cared not if she had the face of a marmoset, or the figure of
pot-bellied Kovudoo himself. All that they wished to know was that she
was the girl who had been stolen from The Sheik several years before.
They thought that they would recognize her for such if she was indeed
the same, but even so the testimony of the runner Kovudoo had sent to
The Sheik was such as to assure them that the girl was the one they had
once before attempted to abduct.

As Meriem was brought forth from the darkness of the hut's interior the
two men turned with every appearance of disinterestedness to glance at
her. It was with difficulty that Malbihn suppressed an ejaculation of
astonishment. The girl's beauty fairly took his breath from him; but
instantly he recovered his poise and turned to Kovudoo.

"Well?" he said to the old chief.

"Is she not both young and good looking?" asked Kovudoo.

"She is not old," replied Malbihn; "but even so she will be a burden.
We did not come from the north after wives--there are more than enough
there for us."

Meriem stood looking straight at the white men. She expected nothing
from them--they were to her as much enemies as the black men. She
hated and feared them all. Malbihn spoke to her in Arabic.

"We are friends," he said. "Would you like to have us take you away
from here?"

Slowly and dimly as though

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