The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 140

in most
all manly sports. He was telling Meriem stories of London and Paris,
of balls and banquets, of the wonderful women and their wonderful
gowns, of the pleasures and pastimes of the rich and powerful. The
Hon. Morison was a past master in the art of insidious boasting. His
egotism was never flagrant or tiresome--he was never crude in it, for
crudeness was a plebeianism that the Hon. Morison studiously avoided,
yet the impression derived by a listener to the Hon. Morison was one
that was not at all calculated to detract from the glory of the house
of Baynes, or from that of its representative.

Meriem was entranced. His tales were like fairy stories to this little
jungle maid. The Hon. Morison loomed large and wonderful and
magnificent in her mind's eye. He fascinated her, and when he drew
closer to her after a short silence and took her hand she thrilled as
one might thrill beneath the touch of a deity--a thrill of exaltation
not unmixed with fear.

He bent his lips close to her ear.

"Meriem!" he whispered. "My little Meriem! May I hope to have the
right to call you 'my little Meriem'?"

The girl turned wide eyes upward to his face; but it was in shadow.
She trembled but she did not draw away. The man put an arm about her
and drew her closer.

"I love you!" he whispered.

She did not reply. She did not know what to say. She knew nothing of
love. She had never given it a thought; but she did know that it was
very nice to be loved, whatever it meant. It was nice to have people
kind to one. She had known so little of kindness or affection.

"Tell me," he said, "that you return my love."

His lips came steadily closer to hers. They had almost touched when a
vision of Korak sprang like a miracle before her eyes. She saw Korak's
face close to hers, she felt his lips hot against hers, and then for
the first time in her life she guessed what love meant. She drew away,
gently.

"I am not sure," she said, "that I love you. Let us wait. There is
plenty of time. I am too young to marry yet, and I am not sure that I
should be happy in London or Paris--they rather frighten me."

How easily and naturally she had connected his avowal of love with the
idea of marriage! The Hon.

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