The Son of Tarzan

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 31

had simply vanished into thin air, for the
native he had sent to inspect the ground beneath the open window had
just returned to report that there was no sign of a footstep there, and
what sort of creatures were they who could have dropped that distance
to the soft turf without leaving spoor? Herr Skopf shuddered. Yes, it
was a great mystery--there was something uncanny about the whole
thing--he hated to think about it, and he dreaded the coming of night.

It was a great mystery to Herr Skopf--and, doubtless, still is.

Chapter 5

Captain Armand Jacot of the Foreign Legion sat upon an outspread saddle
blanket at the foot of a stunted palm tree. His broad shoulders and
his close-cropped head rested in luxurious ease against the rough bole
of the palm. His long legs were stretched straight before him
overlapping the meager blanket, his spurs buried in the sandy soil of
the little desert oasis. The captain was taking his ease after a long
day of weary riding across the shifting sands of the desert.

Lazily he puffed upon his cigarette and watched his orderly who was
preparing his evening meal. Captain Armand Jacot was well satisfied
with himself and the world. A little to his right rose the noisy
activity of his troop of sun-tanned veterans, released for the time
from the irksome trammels of discipline, relaxing tired muscles,
laughing, joking, and smoking as they, too, prepared to eat after a
twelve-hour fast. Among them, silent and taciturn, squatted five
white-robed Arabs, securely bound and under heavy guard.

It was the sight of these that filled Captain Armand Jacot with the
pleasurable satisfaction of a duty well-performed. For a long, hot,
gaunt month he and his little troop had scoured the places of the
desert waste in search of a band of marauders to the sin-stained
account of which were charged innumerable thefts of camels, horses, and
goats, as well as murders enough to have sent the whole unsavory gang
to the guillotine several times over.

A week before, he had come upon them. In the ensuing battle he had
lost two of his own men, but the punishment inflicted upon the
marauders had been severe almost to extinction. A half dozen, perhaps,
had escaped; but the balance, with the exception of the five prisoners,
had expiated their crimes before the nickel jacketed bullets of the
legionaries. And, best of all, the ring leader, Achmet ben Houdin, was
among the prisoners.

From the prisoners Captain Jacot permitted his mind to traverse the

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