Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The return of Tarzan online

. (page 1 of 22)
Online LibraryEdgar Rice BurroughsThe return of Tarzan → online text (page 1 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Edgar Rice



Return of Tarzan


Author of "Tarzan of the Apes'

With Decorations By


114-120 East Twenty-third Street - - New York


A n


A. C. McClurg & Co.

Published March, 1915
Copyrighted in Great Britain

.. ,"



I The Affair on the Liner 1

II Forging Bonds of Hate and ? ... 14

III What Happened in the Rue Maule ... 28

IV The Countess Explains 42

V The Plot That Failed 58

VI A Duel 72

VII The Dancing Girl of Sidi Aissa .... 86

VIII The Fight in the Desert 100

IX Numa "El Adrea" 113

X Through the Valley of the Shadow ... 127

XI John Caldwell, London 140

XII Ships That Pass 154

XIII The Wreck of the " Lady Alice " .... 168

XIV Back to the Primitive 187

XV From Ape to Savage 201

XVI The Ivory Raiders 216

XVII The White Chief of the Waziri 229

XVIII The Lottery of Death 243

XIX The City of Gold 259

XX La 272

XXI The Castaways 286

XXII The Treasure Vaults of Opar 301

XXIII The Fifty Frightful Men 315

XXIV How Tarsan Came again to Opar ... 329
XXV Through the Forest Primeval 343

XXVI The Passing of the Ape-Man 358


ify Mother


'TV/TAGNIFIQUE!" ejaculated the Countess de

*^A Coude, beneath her breath.

"Eh?" questioned the count, turning toward his
young wife. "What is it that is magnificent?" and
the count bent his eyes in various directions in quest
of the object of her admiration.

" Oh, nothing at all, my dear," replied the countess,
a slight flush momentarily coloring her already pink
cheek. "I was but recalling with admiration those
stupendous skyscrapers, as they call them, of New
York," and the fair countess settled herself more com
fortably in her steamer chair, and resumed the maga
zine which " nothing at all " had caused her to let fall
upon her lap.

Her husband again buried himself in his book, but
not without a mild wonderment that three days out
from New York his countess should suddenly have
realized an admiration for the very buildings she had
but recently characterized as horrid.


Presently the count put down his book. " It is
very tiresome, Olga," he said. " I think that I shall
hunt up some others who may be equally bored, and
see if we cannot find enough for a game of cards."

"You are not very gallant, my husband," replied
the young woman, smiling, " but as I am equally bored
I can forgive you. Go and play at your tiresome old
cards, then, if you will."

When he had gone she let her eyes wander slyly to
the figure of a tall young man stretched lazily in a
chair not far distant.

" Magnifique! " she breathed once more.

The Countess Olga de Coude was twenty. Her hus
band forty. She was a very faithful and loyal wife,
but as she had had nothing whatever to do with the
selection of a husband, it is not at all unlikely that
she was not wildly and passionately in love with the
one that fate and her titled Russian father had
selected for her. However, simply because she was
surprised into a tiny exclamation of approval at sight
of a splendid young stranger it must not be inferred
therefrom that her thoughts were in any way disloyal
to her spouse. She merely admired, as she might have
admired a particularly fine specimen of any species.
Furthermore, the young man was unquestionably good
to look at.

As her furtive glance rested upon his profile he rose
to leave the deck. The Countess de Coude beckoned
to a passing steward.

" Who is that gentleman ? " she asked.


"He is booked, madam, as Monsieur Tarzan, of
Africa," replied the steward.

" Rather a large estate," thought the girl, but now
her interest was still further aroused.

As Tarzan walked slowly toward the smoking-room
he came unexpectedly upon two men whispering ex
citedly just without. He would have vouchsafed them
not even a passing thought but for the strangely
guilty glance that one of them shot in his direction.
They reminded Tarzan of melodramatic villains he
had seen at the theaters in Paris. Both were very
dark, and this, in connection with the shrugs and
stealthy glances that accompanied their palpable in
triguing, lent still greater force to the similarity.

Tarzan entered the smoking-room, and sought a
chair a little apart from the others who were there.
He felt in no mood for conversation, and as he sipped
his absinth he let his mind run rather sorrowfully over
the past few weeks of his life. Time and again he
had wondered if he had acted wisely in renouncing
his birthright to a man to whom he owed nothing.
It is true that he liked Clayton, but ah, but that
was not the question. It was not for William Cecil
Clayton, Lord Grey stoke, that he had denied his birth.
It was for the woman whom both he and Clayton loved,
and whom a strange freak of fate had given to Clayton
instead of to him.

That she loved him made the thing doubly difficult
to bear, yet he knew that he could have done nothing
less than he did do that night within the little railway



station in the far Wisconsin woods. To him her happi
ness was the first consideration of all, and his brief
experience with civilization and civilized men had
taught him that without money and position life to
most of them was unendurable.

Jane Porter had been born to both, and had Tarzan
taken them away from her future husband it would
doubtless have plunged her into a life of misery and
torture. That she would have spurned Clayton once
he had been stripped of both his title and his estates
never for once occurred to Tarzan, for he credited
to others the same honest loyalty that was so inherent
a quality in himself. Nor, in this instance, had he
erred. Could any one thing have further bound Jane
Porter to her promise to Clayton it would have been
in the nature of some such misfortune as this over
taking him.

Tarzan's thoughts drifted from the past to the
future. He tried to look forward with pleasurable
sensations to his return to the jungle of his birth and
boyhood; the cruel, fierce jungle in which he had
spent twenty of his twenty-two years. But who or
what of all the myriad jungle life would there be to
welcome his return? Not one. Only Tantor, the
elephant, could he call friend. The others would
hunt him or flee from him as had been their way in
the past.

Not even the apes of his own tribe would extend
the hand of fellowship to him.

If civilization had done nothing else for Tarzan


of the Apes, it had to some extent taught him to crave
the society of his own kind, and to feel with genuine
pleasure the congenial warmth of companionship. And
in the same ratio had it made any other life distasteful
to him. It was difficult to imagine a world without a
friend without a living thing who spoke the new
tongues which Tarzan had learned to love so well. And
so it was that Tarzan looked with little relish upon the
future he had mapped out for himself.

As he sat musing over his cigarette his eyes fell
upon a mirror before him, and in it he saw reflected
a table at which four men sat at cards. Presently one
of them rose to leave, and then another approached,
and Tarzan could see that he courteously offered to
fill the vacant chair, that the game might not be inter
rupted. He was the smaller of the two whom Tarzan
had seen whispering just outside the smoking-room.

It was this fact that aroused a faint spark of inter
est in Tarzan, and so as he speculated upon the future
he watched in the mirror the reflection of the players
at the table behind him. Aside from the man who had
but just entered the game Tarzan knew the name of
but one of the other players. It was he who sat oppo
site the new player, Count Raoul de Coude, whom an
over-attentive steward had pointed out as one of the
celebrities of the passage, describing him as a man
high in the official family of the French minister of

Suddenly Tarzan's attention was riveted upon the
picture in the glass. The other swarthy plotter had



entered, and was standing behind the count's chair.
Tarzan saw him turn and glance furtively about the
room, but his eyes did not rest for a sufficient time
upon the mirror to note the reflection of Tarzan's
watchful eyes. Stealthily the man withdrew some
thing from his pocket. Tarzan could not discern what
the object was, for the man's hand covered it.

Slowly the hand approached the count, and then,
very deftly, the thing that was in it was transferred
to the count's pocket. The man remained standing
where he could watch the Frenchman's cards. Tarzan
was puzzled, but he was all attention now, nor did he
permit another detail of the incident to escape him.

The play went on for some ten minutes after this,
until the count won a considerable wager from him
who had last joined the game, and then Tarzan saw
the fellow back of the count's chair nod his head to
his confederate. Instantly the player arose and pointed
a finger at the count.

"Had I known that monsieur was a professional
card sharp I had not been so ready to be drawn into
the game," he said.

Instantly the count and the two other players were
upon their feet.

De Coude's face went white.

"What do you mean, sir?" he cried. "Do you
know to whom you speak ? "

" I know that I speak, for the last time, to one who
cheats at cards," replied the fellow.

The count leaned across the table, and struck the


man full in the mouth with his open palm, and then
the others closed in between them.

" There is some mistake, sir," cried one of the other
players. " Why, this is Count de Coude, of France."

"If I am mistaken," said the accuser, "I shall
gladly apologize ; but before I do so first let monsieur
le count explain the extra cards which I saw him drop
into his side pocket."

And then the man whom Tarzan had seen drop them
there turned to sneak from the room, but to his annoy
ance he found the exit barred by a tall, gray-eyed

"Pardon," said the man brusquely, attempting to
pass to one side.

" Wait," said Tarzan.

"But why, monsieur?" exclaimed the other petu
lantly. " Permit me to pass, monsieur."

"Wait," said Tarzan. "I think that there is a
matter in here that you may doubtless be able to

The fellow had lost his temper by this time, and
with a low oath seized Tarzan to push him to one side.
The ape-man but smiled as he twisted the big fellow
about and, grasping him by the collar of his coat,
escorted him back to the table, struggling, cursing,
and striking in futile remonstrance. It was Nikolas
Rokoff's first experience with the muscles that had
brought their savage owner victorious through en
counters with Numa, the lion, and Terkoz, the great
bull ape.



The man who had accused De Coude, and the two
others who had been playing, stood looking expec
tantly at the count. Several other passengers had
drawn toward the scene of the altercation, and all
awaited the denouement.

"The fellow is crazy," said the count "Gentle
men, I implore that one of you search me."

" The accusation is ridiculous." This from one of
the players.

"You have but to slip your hand in the count's
coat pocket and you will see that the accusation is
quite serious," insisted the accuser. And then, as the
others still hesitated to do so : " Come, I shall do it
myself if no other will," and he stepped forward
toward the count.

"No, monsieur," said De Coude. "I will submit
to a search only at the hands of a gentleman."

" It is unnecessary to search the count. The cards
are in his pocket. I myself saw them placed there."

All turned in surprise toward this new speaker, to
behold a very well-built young man urging a resisting
captive toward them by the scruff of his neck.

"It is a conspiracy," cried De Coude angrily.
"There are no cards in my coat," and with that he
ran his hand into his pocket. As he did so tense
silence reigned in the little group. The count went
dead white, and then very slowly he withdrew his hand,
and in it were three cards.

He looked at them in mute and horrified surprise,
and slowly the red of mortification suffused his face.



Expressions of pity and contempt tinged the features
of those who looked on at the death of a man's honor.

"It is a conspiracy, monsieur." It was the gray-
eyed stranger who spoke. " Gentlemen," he continued,
" monsieur le count did not know that those cards were
in his pocket. They were placed there without his
knowledge as he sat at play. From where I sat in
that chair yonder I saw the reflection of it all in the
mirror before me. This person whom I just inter
cepted in an effort to escape placed the cards in the
count's pocket."

De Coude had glanced from Tarzan to the man ia
his grasp.

" Mvn Dieu, Nikolas ! " he cried. " You ? "

Then he turned to his accuser, and eyed him in
tently for a moment.

"And you, monsieur, I did not recognize you with
out your beard. It quite disguises you, Paulvitch.
I see it all now. It is quite clear, gentlemen."

"What shall we do with them, monsieur?" asked
Tarzan. "Turn them over to the captain?"

" No, my friend," said the count hastily. " It is a
personal matter, and I beg that you will let it drop.
It is sufficient that I have been exonerated from the
charge. The less we have to do with such fellows,
the better. But, monsieur, how can I thank you for
the great kindness you have done me? Permit me to
offer you my card, and should the time come when I
may serve you, remember that I am yours to com-



Tarzan had released Rokoff, who, with his con
federate, Paulvitch, had hastened from the smoking-
room. Just as he was leaving, Rokoff turned to
Tarzan. "Monsieur will have ample opportunity to
regret his interference in the affairs of others."

Tarzan smiled, and then, bowing to the count,
handed him his own card.

The count read:

*M. $ea#i to. da&wvM'

"Monsieur Tarzan," he said, "may indeed wish
that he had never befriended me, for I can assure
him that he has won the enmity of two of the most
unmitigated scoundrels in all Europe. Avoid them,
monsieur, by all means."

"I have had more awe-inspiring enemies, my dear
count," replied Tarzan, with a quiet smile, "yet I
am still alive and unworried. I think that neither of
these two will ever find the means to harm me."

" Let us hope not, monsieur," said De Coude ; " but
yet it will do no harm to be on the alert, and to know
that you have made at least one enemy today who
never forgets and never forgives, and in whose malig
nant brain there are always hatching new atrocities
to perpetrate upon those who have thwarted or
offended him. To say that Nikolas Rokoff is a devil
would be to place a wanton affront upon his satanic

That night as Tarzan entered his cabin he found a


folded note upon the floor that had evidently been
pushed beneath the door. He opened it and read :


Doubtless you did not realize the gravity of your
offense, or you would not have done the thing you did
today. I am willing to believe that you acted in igno
rance and without any intention to offend a stranger.
For this reason I shall gladly permit you to offer an
apology, and on receiving your assurances that you will
not again interfere in affairs that do not concern you, I
shall drop the matter.

Otherwise but I am sure that you will see the wis
dom of adopting the course I suggest.

Very respectfully,


Tarzan permitted a grim smile to play about his
lips for a moment, then he promptly dropped the
matter from his mind, and went to bed.

In a nearby cabin the Countess de Coude was
speaking to her husband.

"Why so grave, my dear Raoul?" she asked.
"You have been as glum as could be all evening.
What worries you ? "

"Olga, Nikolas is on board. Did you know it?"

"Nikolas!" she exclaimed. "But it is impossible,
Raoul. It cannot be. Nikolas is under arrest in

" So I thought myself until I saw him today him
and that other arch scoundrel, Paulvitch. Olga, I
cannot endure his persecution much longer. No, not
even for you. Sooner or later I shall turn him over


to the authorities. In fact, I am half minded to
explain all to the captain before we land. On a
French liner it were an easy matter, Olga, perma
nently to settle this Nemesis of ours."

" Oh, no, Raoul ! " cried the countess, sinking to
her knees before him as he sat with bowed head upon
a divan. " Do not do that. Remember your promise
to me. Tell me, Raoul, that you will not do that.
Do not even threaten him, Raoul."

De Coude took his wife's hands in his, and gazed
upon her pale and troubled countenance for some time
before he spoke, as though he would wrest from those
beautiful eyes the real reason which prompted her to
shield this man.

"Let it be as you wish, Olga," he said at length.
"I cannot understand. He has forfeited all claim
upon your love, loyalty, or respect. He is a menace
to your life and honor, and the life and honor of your
husband. I trust you may never regret championing

"I do not champion him, Raoul," she interrupted
vehemently. "I believe that I hate him as much as
you do, but Oh, Raoul, blood is thicker than water."

" I should today have liked to sample the consistency
of his," growled De Coude grimly. "The two de
liberately attempted to besmirch my honor, Olga,"
and then he told her of all that had happened in the
smoking-room. "Had it not been for this utter
stranger, they had succeeded, for who would have
accepted my unsupported word against the damning



evidence of those cards hidden on my person? I had
almost begun to doubt myself when this Monsieur
Tarzan dragged your precious Nikolas before us, and
explained the whole cowardly transaction."

" Monsieur Tarzan ? " asked the countess, in evident

" Yes. Do you know him, Olga? "

"I have seen him. A steward pointed him out to

" I did not know that he was a celebrity," said the

Olga de Coude changed the subject. She discovered
suddenly that she might find it difficult to explain just
why the steward had pointed out the handsome Mon
sieur Tarzan to her. Perhaps she flushed the least
little bit, for was not the count, her husband, gazing
at her with a strangely quizzical expression. "Ah,"
she thought, " a guilty conscience is a most suspicious




IT was not until late the following afternoon that
Tarzan saw anything more of the fellow passengers
into the midst of whose affairs his love of fair play
had thrust him. And then he came most unexpectedly
upon Rokoff and Paulvitch at a moment when of all
others the two might least appreciate his company.

They were standing on deck at a point which was
temporarily deserted, and as Tarzan came upon them
they were in heated argument with a woman. Tarzan
noted that she was richly appareled, and that her slen
der, well-modeled figure denoted youth; but as she
was heavily veiled he could not discern her features.

Hie men were standing on either side of her, and
the backs of all were toward Tarzan, so that he was
quite close to them without their being aware of his
presence. He noticed that Rokoff seemed to be threat
ening, the woman pleading; but they spoke in a
strange tongue, and he could only guess from appear
ances that the girl was afraid.



Rokoff's attitude was so distinctly filled with the
threat of physical violence that the ape-man paused
for an instant just behind the trio, instinctively sensing
an atmosphere of danger. Scarcely had he hesitated
ere the man seized the woman roughly by the wrist,
twisting it as though to wring a promise from her
through torture. What would have happened next
had Rokoff had his way we may only conjecture, since
he did not have his way at all. Instead, steel fingers
gripped his shoulder, and he was swung unceremo
niously around, to meet the cold gray eyes of the
stranger who had thwarted him on the previous day.

" Sapristi! " screamed the infuriated Rokoff. " What
do you mean? Are you a fool that you thus again
insult Nikolas Rokoff?"

" This is my answer to your note, monsieur," said
Tarzan, in a low voice. And then he hurled the fellow
from him with such force that Rokoff lunged sprawl
ing against the rail.

" Name of a name ! " shrieked Rokoff. " Pig, but
you shall die for this," and, springing to his feet, he
rushed upon Tarzan, tugging the meanwhile to draw
a revolver from his hip pocket. The girl shrank back
in terror.

"Nikolas!" she cried. "Do not oh, do not do
that. Quick, monsieur, fly, or he will surely kill you ! "
But instead of flying Tarzan advanced to meet the
fellow. " Do not make a fool of yourself, monsieur,"
he said.

Rokoff, who was in a perfect frenzy of rage at the


humiliation the stranger had put upon him, had at last
succeeded in drawing the revolver. He had stopped,
and now he deliberately raised it to Tarzan's breast
and pulled the trigger. The hammer fell with a futile
click on an empty chamber the ape-man's hand shot
out like the head of an angry python; there was a
quick wrench, and the revolver sailed far out across
the ship's rail, and dropped into the Atlantic.

For a moment the two men stood there facing one
another. Rokoff had regained his self-possession. He
was the first to speak.

"Twice now has monsieur seen fit to interfere in
matters which do not concern him. Twice he has taken
it upon himself to humiliate Nikolas Rokoff. The
first offense was overlooked on the assumption that
monsieur acted through ignorance, but this affair shall
not be overlooked. If monsieur does not know who
Nikolas Rokoff is, this last piece of effrontery will
insure that monsieur later has good reason to remem
ber him."

"That you are a coward and a scoundrel, mon
sieur," replied Tarzan, " is all that I care to know of
you," and he turned to ask the girl if the man had
hurt her, but she had disappeared. Then, without
even a glance toward Rokoff and his companion, he
continued his stroll along the deck.

Tarzan could not but wonder what manner of con
spiracy was on foot, or what the scheme of the two
men might be. There had been something rather
familiar about the appearance of the veiled woman to



whose rescue he had just come, but as he had not seen
her face he could not be sure that he had ever seen
her before. The only thing about her that he had
particularly noticed was a ring of peculiar workman
ship upon a finger of the hand that Rokoff had seized,
and he determined to note the fingers of the women
passengers he came upon thereafter, that he might
discover the identity of her whom Rokoff was perse
cuting, and learn if the fellow had offered her further

Tarzan had sought his deck chair, where he sat
speculating on the numerous instances of human
cruelty, selfishness, and spite that had fallen to his lot
to witness since that (Jay in the jungle four years
since that his eyes had first fallen upon a human being
other than himself the sleek, black Kulonga, whose
swift spear had that day found the vitals of Kala, the
great she-ape, and robbed the youth, Tarzan, of the
only mother he had ever known.

He recalled the murder of King by the rat-faced
Snipes ; the abandonment of Professor Porter and his
party by the mutineers of the Arrow; the cruelty of
the black warriors and women of Mbonga to their
captives ; the petty jealousies of the civil and military
officers of the West Coast colony that had afforded
him his first introduction to the civilized world.

" Mon Dieu! " he soliloquized, " but they are all
alike. Cheating, murdering, lying, fighting, and all
for things that the beasts of the jungle would not
deign to possess money to purchase the effeminate



pleasures of weaklings. And yet withal bound down
by silly customs that make them slaves to their un
happy lot while firm in the belief that they be the
lords of creation enjoying the only real pleasures of
existence. In the jungle one would scarcely stand

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryEdgar Rice BurroughsThe return of Tarzan → online text (page 1 of 22)