Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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him? Were not Kai Shang and Momulla to be preferred to this great
white giant who stroked a panther and called to the beasts of the
jungle?

In a few minutes the apes of Akut came crashing through the underbrush
and out upon the beach, while in the meantime the five men had been
struggling with the unwieldy bulk of the skiff's hull.

By dint of Herculean efforts they had managed to get it to the water's
edge. The oars from the two small boats of the Kincaid, which had been
washed away by an off-shore wind the very night that the party had
landed, had been in use to support the canvas of the sailcloth tents.
These were hastily requisitioned, and by the time Akut and his
followers came down to the water all was ready for embarkation.

Once again the hideous crew entered the service of their master, and
without question took up their places in the skiff. The four men, for
Gust could not be prevailed upon to accompany the party, fell to the
oars, using them paddle-wise, while some of the apes followed their
example, and presently the ungainly skiff was moving quietly out to sea
in the direction of the light which rose and fell gently with the swell.

A sleepy sailor kept a poor vigil upon the Cowrie's deck, while in the
cabin below Schneider paced up and down arguing with Jane Clayton. The
woman had found a revolver in a table drawer in the room in which she
had been locked, and now she kept the mate of the Kincaid at bay with
the weapon.

The Mosula woman kneeled behind her, while Schneider paced up and down
before the door, threatening and pleading and promising, but all to no
avail. Presently from the deck above came a shout of warning and a
shot. For an instant Jane Clayton relaxed her vigilance, and turned
her eyes toward the cabin skylight. Simultaneously Schneider was upon
her.

The first intimation the watch had that there was another craft within
a thousand miles of the Cowrie came when he saw the head and shoulders
of a man poked over the ship's side. Instantly the fellow sprang to
his feet with a cry and levelled his revolver at the intruder. It was
his cry and the subsequent report of the revolver which threw Jane
Clayton off her guard.

Upon deck the quiet of fancied security soon gave place to the wildest
pandemonium. The crew of the Cowrie rushed above armed with revolvers,
cutlasses, and the long knives that many of them habitually wore; but
the alarm had come too late. Already the beasts of Tarzan were upon
the ship's deck, with Tarzan and the two men of the Kincaid's crew.

In the face of the frightful beasts the courage of the mutineers
wavered and broke. Those with revolvers fired a few scattering shots
and then raced for some place of supposed safety. Into the shrouds
went some; but the apes of Akut were more at home there than they.

Screaming with terror the Maoris were dragged from their lofty perches.
The beasts, uncontrolled by Tarzan who had gone in search of Jane,
loosed the full fury of their savage natures upon the unhappy
wretches who fell into their clutches.

Sheeta, in the meanwhile, had felt his great fangs sink into but a
single jugular. For a moment he mauled the corpse, and then he spied
Kai Shang darting down the companionway toward his cabin.

With a shrill scream Sheeta was after him - a scream which awoke an
almost equally uncanny cry in the throat of the terror-stricken
Chinaman.

But Kai Shang reached his cabin a fraction of a second ahead of the
panther, and leaping within slammed the door - just too late. Sheeta's
great body hurtled against it before the catch engaged, and a moment
later Kai Shang was gibbering and shrieking in the back of an upper
berth.

Lightly Sheeta sprang after his victim, and presently the wicked days
of Kai Shang of Fachan were ended, and Sheeta was gorging himself upon
tough and stringy flesh.

A moment scarcely had elapsed after Schneider leaped upon Jane Clayton
and wrenched the revolver from her hand, when the door of the cabin
opened and a tall and half-naked white man stood framed within the
portal.

Silently he leaped across the cabin. Schneider felt sinewy fingers at
his throat. He turned his head to see who had attacked him, and his
eyes went wide when he saw the face of the ape-man close above his own.

Grimly the fingers tightened upon the mate's throat. He tried to
scream, to plead, but no sound came forth. His eyes protruded as he
struggled for freedom, for breath, for life.

Jane Clayton seized her husband's hands and tried to drag them from the
throat of the dying man; but Tarzan only shook his head.

"Not again," he said quietly. "Before have I permitted scoundrels to
live, only to suffer and to have you suffer for my mercy. This time we
shall make sure of one scoundrel - sure that he will never again harm us
or another," and with a sudden wrench he twisted the neck of the
perfidious mate until there was a sharp crack, and the man's body lay
limp and motionless in the ape-man's grasp. With a gesture of disgust
Tarzan tossed the corpse aside. Then he returned to the deck, followed
by Jane and the Mosula woman.

The battle there was over. Schmidt and Momulla and two others alone
remained alive of all the company of the Cowrie, for they had found
sanctuary in the forecastle. The others had died, horribly, and as
they deserved, beneath the fangs and talons of the beasts of Tarzan,
and in the morning the sun rose on a grisly sight upon the deck of the
unhappy Cowrie; but this time the blood which stained her white
planking was the blood of the guilty and not of the innocent.

Tarzan brought forth the men who had hidden in the forecastle, and
without promises of immunity from punishment forced them to help work
the vessel - the only alternative was immediate death.

A stiff breeze had risen with the sun, and with canvas spread the
Cowrie set in toward Jungle Island, where a few hours later, Tarzan
picked up Gust and bid farewell to Sheeta and the apes of Akut, for
here he set the beasts ashore to pursue the wild and natural life they
loved so well; nor did they lose a moment's time in disappearing into
the cool depths of their beloved jungle.

That they knew that Tarzan was to leave them may be doubted - except
possibly in the case of the more intelligent Akut, who alone of all the
others remained upon the beach as the small boat drew away toward the
schooner, carrying his savage lord and master from him.

And as long as their eyes could span the distance, Jane and Tarzan,
standing upon the deck, saw the lonely figure of the shaggy anthropoid
motionless upon the surf-beaten sands of Jungle Island.


It was three days later that the Cowrie fell in with H.M. sloop-of-war
Shorewater, through whose wireless Lord Greystoke soon got in
communication with London. Thus he learned that which filled his and
his wife's heart with joy and thanksgiving - little Jack was safe at
Lord Greystoke's town house.

It was not until they reached London that they learned the details of
the remarkable chain of circumstances that had preserved the infant
unharmed.

It developed that Rokoff, fearing to take the child aboard the Kincaid
by day, had hidden it in a low den where nameless infants were
harboured, intending to carry it to the steamer after dark.

His confederate and chief lieutenant, Paulvitch, true to the long years
of teaching of his wily master, had at last succumbed to the treachery
and greed that had always marked his superior, and, lured by the
thoughts of the immense ransom that he might win by returning the child
unharmed, had divulged the secret of its parentage to the woman who
maintained the foundling asylum. Through her he had arranged for the
substitution of another infant, knowing full well that never until it
was too late would Rokoff suspect the trick that had been played upon
him.

The woman had promised to keep the child until Paulvitch returned to
England; but she, in turn, had been tempted to betray her trust by the
lure of gold, and so had opened negotiations with Lord Greystoke's
solicitors for the return of the child.

Esmeralda, the old Negro nurse whose absence on a vacation in America
at the time of the abduction of little Jack had been attributed by her
as the cause of the calamity, had returned and positively identified
the infant.

The ransom had been paid, and within ten days of the date of his
kidnapping the future Lord Greystoke, none the worse for his
experience, had been returned to his father's home.

And so that last and greatest of Nikolas Rokoff's many rascalities had
not only miserably miscarried through the treachery he had taught his
only friend, but it had resulted in the arch-villain's death, and given
to Lord and Lady Greystoke a peace of mind that neither could ever have
felt so long as the vital spark remained in the body of the Russian and
his malign mind was free to formulate new atrocities against them.

Rokoff was dead, and while the fate of Paulvitch was unknown, they had
every reason to believe that he had succumbed to the dangers of the
jungle where last they had seen him - the malicious tool of his master.

And thus, in so far as they might know, they were to be freed for ever
from the menace of these two men - the only enemies which Tarzan of the
Apes ever had had occasion to fear, because they struck at him cowardly
blows, through those he loved.


It was a happy family party that were reunited in Greystoke House the
day that Lord Greystoke and his lady landed upon English soil from the
deck of the Shorewater.

Accompanying them were Mugambi and the Mosula woman whom he had found
in the bottom of the canoe that night upon the bank of the little
tributary of the Ugambi.

The woman had preferred to cling to her new lord and master rather
than return to the marriage she had tried to escape.

Tarzan had proposed to them that they might find a home upon his vast
African estates in the land of the Waziri, where they were to be sent
as soon as opportunity presented itself.

Possibly we shall see them all there amid the savage romance of the
grim jungle and the great plains where Tarzan of the Apes loves best to
be.

Who knows?











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Online LibraryEdgar Rice BurroughsBeasts of Tarzan → online text (page 15 of 15)