Produced by Judith Boss. HTML version by Al Haines.
The Beasts of Tarzan
Edgar Rice Burroughs
To Joan Burroughs
3 Beasts at Bay
6 A Hideous Crew
8 The Dance of Death
9 Chivalry or Villainy
10 The Swede
12 A Black Scoundrel
14 Alone in the Jungle
15 Down the Ugambi
16 In the Darkness of the Night
17 On the Deck of the "Kincaid"
18 Paulvitch Plots Revenge
19 The Last of the "Kincaid"
20 Jungle Island Again
21 The Law of the Jungle
"The entire affair is shrouded in mystery," said D'Arnot. "I have it
on the best of authority that neither the police nor the special agents
of the general staff have the faintest conception of how it was
accomplished. All they know, all that anyone knows, is that Nikolas
Rokoff has escaped."
John Clayton, Lord Greystoke - he who had been "Tarzan of the Apes" - sat
in silence in the apartments of his friend, Lieutenant Paul D'Arnot, in
Paris, gazing meditatively at the toe of his immaculate boot.
His mind revolved many memories, recalled by the escape of his
arch-enemy from the French military prison to which he had been
sentenced for life upon the testimony of the ape-man.
He thought of the lengths to which Rokoff had once gone to compass his
death, and he realized that what the man had already done would
doubtless be as nothing by comparison with what he would wish and plot
to do now that he was again free.
Tarzan had recently brought his wife and infant son to London to escape
the discomforts and dangers of the rainy season upon their vast estate
in Uziri - the land of the savage Waziri warriors whose broad African
domains the ape-man had once ruled.
He had run across the Channel for a brief visit with his old friend,
but the news of the Russian's escape had already cast a shadow upon his
outing, so that though he had but just arrived he was already
contemplating an immediate return to London.
"It is not that I fear for myself, Paul," he said at last. "Many
times in the past have I thwarted Rokoff's designs upon my life; but
now there are others to consider. Unless I misjudge the man, he would
more quickly strike at me through my wife or son than directly at me,
for he doubtless realizes that in no other way could he inflict greater
anguish upon me. I must go back to them at once, and remain with them
until Rokoff is recaptured - or dead."
As these two talked in Paris, two other men were talking together in a
little cottage upon the outskirts of London. Both were dark,
One was bearded, but the other, whose face wore the pallor of long
confinement within doors, had but a few days' growth of black beard
upon his face. It was he who was speaking.
"You must needs shave off that beard of yours, Alexis," he said to his
companion. "With it he would recognize you on the instant. We must
separate here in the hour, and when we meet again upon the deck of the
Kincaid, let us hope that we shall have with us two honoured guests who
little anticipate the pleasant voyage we have planned for them.
"In two hours I should be upon my way to Dover with one of them, and by
tomorrow night, if you follow my instructions carefully, you should
arrive with the other, provided, of course, that he returns to London
as quickly as I presume he will.
"There should be both profit and pleasure as well as other good things
to reward our efforts, my dear Alexis. Thanks to the stupidity of the
French, they have gone to such lengths to conceal the fact of my escape
for these many days that I have had ample opportunity to work out every
detail of our little adventure so carefully that there is little chance
of the slightest hitch occurring to mar our prospects. And now
good-bye, and good luck!"
Three hours later a messenger mounted the steps to the apartment of
"A telegram for Lord Greystoke," he said to the servant who answered
his summons. "Is he here?"
The man answered in the affirmative, and, signing for the message,
carried it within to Tarzan, who was already preparing to depart for
Tarzan tore open the envelope, and as he read his face went white.
"Read it, Paul," he said, handing the slip of paper to D'Arnot. "It
has come already."
The Frenchman took the telegram and read:
"Jack stolen from the garden through complicity of new servant. Come
at once. - JANE."
As Tarzan leaped from the roadster that had met him at the station and
ran up the steps to his London town house he was met at the door by a
dry-eyed but almost frantic woman.
Quickly Jane Porter Clayton narrated all that she had been able to
learn of the theft of the boy.
The baby's nurse had been wheeling him in the sunshine on the walk
before the house when a closed taxicab drew up at the corner of the
street. The woman had paid but passing attention to the vehicle,
merely noting that it discharged no passenger, but stood at the kerb
with the motor running as though waiting for a fare from the residence
before which it had stopped.
Almost immediately the new houseman, Carl, had come running from the
Greystoke house, saying that the girl's mistress wished to speak with
her for a moment, and that she was to leave little Jack in his care
until she returned.
The woman said that she entertained not the slightest suspicion of the
man's motives until she had reached the doorway of the house, when it
occurred to her to warn him not to turn the carriage so as to permit
the sun to shine in the baby's eyes.
As she turned about to call this to him she was somewhat surprised to
see that he was wheeling the carriage rapidly toward the corner, and at
the same time she saw the door of the taxicab open and a swarthy face
framed for a moment in the aperture.
Intuitively, the danger to the child flashed upon her, and with a
shriek she dashed down the steps and up the walk toward the taxicab,
into which Carl was now handing the baby to the swarthy one within.
Just before she reached the vehicle, Carl leaped in beside his
confederate, slamming the door behind him. At the same time the
chauffeur attempted to start his machine, but it was evident that
something had gone wrong, as though the gears refused to mesh, and the
delay caused by this, while he pushed the lever into reverse and backed
the car a few inches before again attempting to go ahead, gave the
nurse time to reach the side of the taxicab.
Leaping to the running-board, she had attempted to snatch the baby from
the arms of the stranger, and here, screaming and fighting, she had
clung to her position even after the taxicab had got under way; nor was
it until the machine had passed the Greystoke residence at good speed
that Carl, with a heavy blow to her face, had succeeded in knocking her
to the pavement.
Her screams had attracted servants and members of the families from
residences near by, as well as from the Greystoke home. Lady Greystoke
had witnessed the girl's brave battle, and had herself tried to reach
the rapidly passing vehicle, but had been too late.
That was all that anyone knew, nor did Lady Greystoke dream of the
possible identity of the man at the bottom of the plot until her
husband told her of the escape of Nikolas Rokoff from the French prison
where they had hoped he was permanently confined.
As Tarzan and his wife stood planning the wisest course to pursue, the
telephone bell rang in the library at their right. Tarzan quickly
answered the call in person.
"Lord Greystoke?" asked a man's voice at the other end of the line.
"Your son has been stolen," continued the voice, "and I alone may help
you to recover him. I am conversant with the plot of those who took
him. In fact, I was a party to it, and was to share in the reward, but
now they are trying to ditch me, and to be quits with them I will aid
you to recover him on condition that you will not prosecute me for my
part in the crime. What do you say?"
"If you lead me to where my son is hidden," replied the ape-man, "you
need fear nothing from me."
"Good," replied the other. "But you must come alone to meet me, for it
is enough that I must trust you. I cannot take the chance of
permitting others to learn my identity."
"Where and when may I meet you?" asked Tarzan.
The other gave the name and location of a public-house on the
water-front at Dover - a place frequented by sailors.
"Come," he concluded, "about ten o'clock tonight. It would do no good
to arrive earlier. Your son will be safe enough in the meantime, and I
can then lead you secretly to where he is hidden. But be sure to come
alone, and under no circumstances notify Scotland Yard, for I know you
well and shall be watching for you.
"Should any other accompany you, or should I see suspicious characters
who might be agents of the police, I shall not meet you, and your last
chance of recovering your son will be gone."
Without more words the man rang off.
Tarzan repeated the gist of the conversation to his wife. She begged
to be allowed to accompany him, but he insisted that it might result in
the man's carrying out his threat of refusing to aid them if Tarzan did
not come alone, and so they parted, he to hasten to Dover, and she,
ostensibly to wait at home until he should notify her of the outcome of
Little did either dream of what both were destined to pass through
before they should meet again, or the far-distant - but why anticipate?
For ten minutes after the ape-man had left her Jane Clayton walked
restlessly back and forth across the silken rugs of the library. Her
mother heart ached, bereft of its first-born. Her mind was in an
anguish of hopes and fears.
Though her judgment told her that all would be well were her Tarzan to
go alone in accordance with the mysterious stranger's summons, her
intuition would not permit her to lay aside suspicion of the gravest
dangers to both her husband and her son.
The more she thought of the matter, the more convinced she became that
the recent telephone message might be but a ruse to keep them inactive
until the boy was safely hidden away or spirited out of England. Or it
might be that it had been simply a bait to lure Tarzan into the hands
of the implacable Rokoff.
With the lodgment of this thought she stopped in wide-eyed terror.
Instantly it became a conviction. She glanced at the great clock
ticking the minutes in the corner of the library.
It was too late to catch the Dover train that Tarzan was to take.
There was another, later, however, that would bring her to the Channel
port in time to reach the address the stranger had given her husband
before the appointed hour.
Summoning her maid and chauffeur, she issued instructions rapidly. Ten
minutes later she was being whisked through the crowded streets toward
the railway station.
It was nine-forty-five that night that Tarzan entered the squalid "pub"
on the water-front in Dover. As he passed into the evil-smelling room
a muffled figure brushed past him toward the street.
"Come, my lord!" whispered the stranger.
The ape-man wheeled about and followed the other into the ill-lit
alley, which custom had dignified with the title of thoroughfare. Once
outside, the fellow led the way into the darkness, nearer a wharf,
where high-piled bales, boxes, and casks cast dense shadows. Here he
"Where is the boy?" asked Greystoke.
"On that small steamer whose lights you can just see yonder," replied
In the gloom Tarzan was trying to peer into the features of his
companion, but he did not recognize the man as one whom he had ever
before seen. Had he guessed that his guide was Alexis Paulvitch he
would have realized that naught but treachery lay in the man's heart,
and that danger lurked in the path of every move.
"He is unguarded now," continued the Russian. "Those who took him feel
perfectly safe from detection, and with the exception of a couple of
members of the crew, whom I have furnished with enough gin to silence
them effectually for hours, there is none aboard the Kincaid. We can
go aboard, get the child, and return without the slightest fear."
"Let's be about it, then," he said.
His guide led him to a small boat moored alongside the wharf. The two
men entered, and Paulvitch pulled rapidly toward the steamer. The
black smoke issuing from her funnel did not at the time make any
suggestion to Tarzan's mind. All his thoughts were occupied with the
hope that in a few moments he would again have his little son in his
At the steamer's side they found a monkey-ladder dangling close above
them, and up this the two men crept stealthily. Once on deck they
hastened aft to where the Russian pointed to a hatch.
"The boy is hidden there," he said. "You had better go down after him,
as there is less chance that he will cry in fright than should he find
himself in the arms of a stranger. I will stand on guard here."
So anxious was Tarzan to rescue the child that he gave not the
slightest thought to the strangeness of all the conditions surrounding
the Kincaid. That her deck was deserted, though she had steam up, and
from the volume of smoke pouring from her funnel was all ready to get
under way made no impression upon him.
With the thought that in another instant he would fold that precious
little bundle of humanity in his arms, the ape-man swung down into the
darkness below. Scarcely had he released his hold upon the edge of the
hatch than the heavy covering fell clattering above him.
Instantly he knew that he was the victim of a plot, and that far from
rescuing his son he had himself fallen into the hands of his enemies.
Though he immediately endeavoured to reach the hatch and lift the
cover, he was unable to do so.
Striking a match, he explored his surroundings, finding that a little
compartment had been partitioned off from the main hold, with the hatch
above his head the only means of ingress or egress. It was evident
that the room had been prepared for the very purpose of serving as a
cell for himself.
There was nothing in the compartment, and no other occupant. If the
child was on board the Kincaid he was confined elsewhere.
For over twenty years, from infancy to manhood, the ape-man had roamed
his savage jungle haunts without human companionship of any nature. He
had learned at the most impressionable period of his life to take his
pleasures and his sorrows as the beasts take theirs.
So it was that he neither raved nor stormed against fate, but instead
waited patiently for what might next befall him, though not by any
means without an eye to doing the utmost to succour himself. To this
end he examined his prison carefully, tested the heavy planking that
formed its walls, and measured the distance of the hatch above him.
And while he was thus occupied there came suddenly to him the vibration
of machinery and the throbbing of the propeller.
The ship was moving! Where to and to what fate was it carrying him?
And even as these thoughts passed through his mind there came to his
ears above the din of the engines that which caused him to go cold with
Clear and shrill from the deck above him rang the scream of a
As Tarzan and his guide had disappeared into the shadows upon the dark
wharf the figure of a heavily veiled woman had hurried down the narrow
alley to the entrance of the drinking-place the two men had just
Here she paused and looked about, and then as though satisfied that she
had at last reached the place she sought, she pushed bravely into the
interior of the vile den.
A score of half-drunken sailors and wharf-rats looked up at the
unaccustomed sight of a richly gowned woman in their midst. Rapidly
she approached the slovenly barmaid who stared half in envy, half in
hate, at her more fortunate sister.
"Have you seen a tall, well-dressed man here, but a minute since," she
asked, "who met another and went away with him?"
The girl answered in the affirmative, but could not tell which way the
two had gone. A sailor who had approached to listen to the
conversation vouchsafed the information that a moment before as he had
been about to enter the "pub" he had seen two men leaving it who walked
toward the wharf.
"Show me the direction they went," cried the woman, slipping a coin
into the man's hand.
The fellow led her from the place, and together they walked quickly
toward the wharf and along it until across the water they saw a small
boat just pulling into the shadows of a near-by steamer.
"There they be," whispered the man.
"Ten pounds if you will find a boat and row me to that steamer," cried
"Quick, then," he replied, "for we gotta go it if we're goin' to catch
the Kincaid afore she sails. She's had steam up for three hours an'
jest been a-waitin' fer that one passenger. I was a-talkin' to one of
her crew 'arf an hour ago."
As he spoke he led the way to the end of the wharf where he knew
another boat lay moored, and, lowering the woman into it, he jumped in
after and pushed off. The two were soon scudding over the water.
At the steamer's side the man demanded his pay and, without waiting to
count out the exact amount, the woman thrust a handful of bank-notes
into his outstretched hand. A single glance at them convinced the
fellow that he had been more than well paid. Then he assisted her up
the ladder, holding his skiff close to the ship's side against the
chance that this profitable passenger might wish to be taken ashore
But presently the sound of the donkey engine and the rattle of a steel
cable on the hoisting-drum proclaimed the fact that the Kincaid's
anchor was being raised, and a moment later the waiter heard the
propellers revolving, and slowly the little steamer moved away from him
out into the channel.
As he turned to row back to shore he heard a woman's shriek from the
"That's wot I calls rotten luck," he soliloquized. "I might jest as
well of 'ad the whole bloomin' wad."
When Jane Clayton climbed to the deck of the Kincaid she found the ship
apparently deserted. There was no sign of those she sought nor of any
other aboard, and so she went about her search for her husband and the
child she hoped against hope to find there without interruption.
Quickly she hastened to the cabin, which was half above and half below
deck. As she hurried down the short companion-ladder into the main
cabin, on either side of which were the smaller rooms occupied by the
officers, she failed to note the quick closing of one of the doors
before her. She passed the full length of the main room, and then
retracing her steps stopped before each door to listen, furtively
trying each latch.
All was silence, utter silence there, in which the throbbing of her own
frightened heart seemed to her overwrought imagination to fill the ship
with its thunderous alarm.
One by one the doors opened before her touch, only to reveal empty
interiors. In her absorption she did not note the sudden activity upon
the vessel, the purring of the engines, the throbbing of the propeller.
She had reached the last door upon the right now, and as she pushed it
open she was seized from within by a powerful, dark-visaged man, and
drawn hastily into the stuffy, ill-smelling interior.
The sudden shock of fright which the unexpected attack had upon her
drew a single piercing scream from her throat; then the man clapped a
hand roughly over the mouth.
"Not until we are farther from land, my dear," he said. "Then you may
yell your pretty head off."
Lady Greystoke turned to look into the leering, bearded face so close
to hers. The man relaxed the pressure of his fingers upon her lips,
and with a little moan of terror as she recognized him the girl shrank
away from her captor.
"Nikolas Rokoff! M. Thuran!" she exclaimed.
"Your devoted admirer," replied the Russian, with a low bow.
"My little boy," she said next, ignoring the terms of
endearment - "where is he? Let me have him. How could you be so
cruel - even as you - Nikolas Rokoff - cannot be entirely devoid of mercy
and compassion? Tell me where he is. Is he aboard this ship? Oh,
please, if such a thing as a heart beats within your breast, take me to
"If you do as you are bid no harm will befall him," replied Rokoff.
"But remember that it is your own fault that you are here. You came
aboard voluntarily, and you may take the consequences. I little
thought," he added to himself, "that any such good luck as this would
come to me."
He went on deck then, locking the cabin-door upon his prisoner, and for
several days she did not see him. The truth of the matter being that
Nikolas Rokoff was so poor a sailor that the heavy seas the Kincaid
encountered from the very beginning of her voyage sent the Russian to
his berth with a bad attack of sea-sickness.
During this time her only visitor was an uncouth Swede, the Kincaid's
unsavoury cook, who brought her meals to her. His name was Sven
Anderssen, his one pride being that his patronymic was spelt with a
The man was tall and raw-boned, with a long yellow moustache, an
unwholesome complexion, and filthy nails. The very sight of him with
one grimy thumb buried deep in the lukewarm stew, that seemed, from the
frequency of its repetition, to constitute the pride of his culinary
art, was sufficient to take away the girl's appetite.
His small, blue, close-set eyes never met hers squarely. There was a
shiftiness of his whole appearance that even found expression in the
cat-like manner of his gait, and to it all a sinister suggestion was
added by the long slim knife that always rested at his waist, slipped
through the greasy cord that supported his soiled apron. Ostensibly it
was but an implement of his calling; but the girl could never free
herself of the conviction that it would require less provocation to
witness it put to other and less harmless uses.
His manner toward her was surly, yet she never failed to meet him with
a pleasant smile and a word of thanks when he brought her food to her,
though more often than not she hurled the bulk of it through the tiny
cabin port the moment that the door closed behind him.
During the days of anguish that followed Jane Clayton's imprisonment,
but two questions were uppermost in her mind - the whereabouts of her
husband and her son. She fully believed that the baby was aboard the
Kincaid, provided that he still lived, but whether Tarzan had been
permitted to live after having been lured aboard the evil craft she
could not guess.
She knew, of course, the deep hatred that the Russian felt for the
Englishman, and she could think of but one reason for having him
brought aboard the ship - to dispatch him in comparative safety in
revenge for his having thwarted Rokoff's pet schemes, and for having
been at last the means of landing him in a French prison.
Tarzan, on his part, lay in the darkness of his cell, ignorant of the
fact that his wife was a prisoner in the cabin almost above his head.
The same Swede that served Jane brought his meals to him, but, though
on several occasions Tarzan had tried to draw the man into
conversation, he had been unsuccessful. He had hoped to learn through
this fellow whether his little son was aboard the Kincaid, but to every
question upon this or kindred subjects the fellow returned but one
reply, "Ay tank it blow purty soon purty hard." So after several
attempts Tarzan gave it up.
For weeks that seemed months to the two prisoners the little steamer
forged on they knew not where. Once the Kincaid stopped to coal, only
immediately to take up the seemingly interminable voyage.
Rokoff had visited Jane Clayton but once since he had locked her in the
tiny cabin. He had come gaunt and hollow-eyed from a long siege of
sea-sickness. The object of his visit was to obtain from her her
personal cheque for a large sum in return for a guarantee of her
personal safety and return to England.
"When you set me down safely in any civilized port, together with my
son and my husband," she replied, "I will pay you in gold twice the
amount you ask; but until then you shall not have a cent, nor the
promise of a cent under any other conditions."
"You will give me the cheque I ask," he replied with a snarl, "or