The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 202

his
entire willingness to pay. He would have promised a sum far beyond his
resources just as readily, for he had no intention of paying
anything--his one reason for seeming to comply with The Sheik's demands
was that the wait for the coming of the ransom money would give him the
time and the opportunity to free Meriem if he found that she wished to
be freed. The Arab's statement that he was her father naturally raised
the question in the Hon. Morison's mind as to precisely what the
girl's attitude toward escape might be. It seemed, of course,
preposterous that this fair and beautiful young woman should prefer to
remain in the filthy douar of an illiterate old Arab rather than return
to the comforts, luxuries, and congenial associations of the hospitable
African bungalow from which the Hon. Morison had tricked her. The man
flushed at the thought of his duplicity which these recollections
aroused--thoughts which were interrupted by The Sheik, who instructed
the Hon. Morison to write a letter to the British consul at Algiers,
dictating the exact phraseology of it with a fluency that indicated to
his captive that this was not the first time the old rascal had had
occasion to negotiate with English relatives for the ransom of a
kinsman. Baynes demurred when he saw that the letter was addressed to
the consul at Algiers, saying that it would require the better part of
a year to get the money back to him; but The Sheik would not listen to
Baynes' plan to send a messenger directly to the nearest coast town,
and from there communicate with the nearest cable station, sending the
Hon. Morison's request for funds straight to his own solicitors. No,
The Sheik was cautious and wary. He knew his own plan had worked well
in the past. In the other were too many untried elements. He was in
no hurry for the money--he could wait a year, or two years if
necessary; but it should not require over six months. He turned to one
of the Arabs who had been standing behind him and gave the fellow
instructions in relation to the prisoner.

Baynes could not understand the words, spoken in Arabic, but the jerk
of the thumb toward him showed that he was the subject of conversation.
The Arab addressed by The Sheik bowed to his master and beckoned Baynes
to follow him. The Englishman looked toward The Sheik for
confirmation. The latter nodded impatiently, and the Hon. Morison rose
and followed his

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