The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 127

days in a
systematic search of the environs for traces of Meriem's Korak; but in
this quest, too, had he failed. He had seen neither apes nor ape-man.
Meriem at first insisted upon setting forth herself in search of Korak,
but Bwana prevailed upon her to wait. He would go himself, he assured
her, as soon as he could find the time, and at last Meriem consented to
abide by his wishes; but it was months before she ceased to mourn
almost hourly for her Korak.

My Dear grieved with the grieving girl and did her best to comfort and
cheer her. She told her that if Korak lived he would find her; but all
the time she believed that Korak had never existed beyond the child's
dreams. She planned amusements to distract Meriem's attention from her
sorrow, and she instituted a well-designed campaign to impress upon the
child the desirability of civilized life and customs. Nor was this
difficult, as she was soon to learn, for it rapidly became evident that
beneath the uncouth savagery of the girl was a bed rock of innate
refinement--a nicety of taste and predilection that quite equaled that
of her instructor.

My Dear was delighted. She was lonely and childless, and so she
lavished upon this little stranger all the mother love that would have
gone to her own had she had one. The result was that by the end of the
first year none might have guessed that Meriem ever had existed beyond
the lap of culture and luxury.

She was sixteen now, though she easily might have passed for nineteen,
and she was very good to look upon, with her black hair and her tanned
skin and all the freshness and purity of health and innocence. Yet she
still nursed her secret sorrow, though she no longer mentioned it to My
Dear. Scarce an hour passed that did not bring its recollection of
Korak, and its poignant yearning to see him again.

Meriem spoke English fluently now, and read and wrote it as well. One
day My Dear spoke jokingly to her in French and to her surprise Meriem
replied in the same tongue--slowly, it is true, and haltingly; but none
the less in excellent French, such, though, as a little child might
use. Thereafter they spoke a little French each day, and My Dear often
marveled that the girl learned this language with a facility that was
at times almost uncanny. At first Meriem had puckered her narrow,
arched, little eye brows as though

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