The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 136

them. They
chattered to her and she chattered back. The Hon. Morison Baynes sat
down at the foot of a tree and mopped his perspiring brow. Then he
rose and made his way back to his mount.

When Meriem emerged from the forest a few minutes later she found him
there, and he eyed her with wide eyes in which were both wonder and a
sort of terror.

"I saw your horse here," he explained, "and thought that I would wait
and ride home with you--you do not mind?"

"Of course not," she replied. "It will be lovely."

As they made their way stirrup to stirrup across the plain the Hon.
Morison caught himself many times watching the girl's regular profile
and wondering if his eyes had deceived him or if, in truth, he really
had seen this lovely creature consorting with grotesque baboons and
conversing with them as fluently as she conversed with him. The thing
was uncanny--impossible; yet he had seen it with his own eyes.

And as he watched her another thought persisted in obtruding itself
into his mind. She was most beautiful and very desirable; but what did
he know of her? Was she not altogether impossible? Was the scene that
he had but just witnessed not sufficient proof of her impossibility? A
woman who climbed trees and conversed with the baboons of the jungle!
It was quite horrible!

Again the Hon. Morison mopped his brow. Meriem glanced toward him.

"You are warm," she said. "Now that the sun is setting I find it quite
cool. Why do you perspire now?"

He had not intended to let her know that he had seen her with the
baboons; but quite suddenly, before he realized what he was saying, he
had blurted it out.

"I perspire from emotion," he said. "I went into the jungle when I
discovered your pony. I wanted to surprise you; but it was I who was
surprised. I saw you in the trees with the baboons."

"Yes?" she said quite unemotionally, as though it was a matter of
little moment that a young girl should be upon intimate terms with
savage jungle beasts.

"It was horrible!" ejaculated the Hon. Morison.

"Horrible?" repeated Meriem, puckering her brows in bewilderment.
"What was horrible about it? They are my friends. Is it horrible to
talk with one's friends?"

"You were really talking with them, then?" cried the Hon. Morison.
"You understood them and they understood you?"

"Certainly."

"But they are hideous creatures--degraded beasts of a lower order. How
could you speak

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