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point where he was positive that he was on the wrong trail entirely.

He knew that the pack would follow his spoor, and so he had been
careful to make it as distinct as possible, brushing often against the
vines and creepers that walled the jungle-path, and in other ways
leaving his scent-spoor plainly discernible.

As darkness settled a heavy rain set in, and there was nothing for the
baffled ape-man to do but wait in the partial shelter of a huge tree
until morning; but the coming of dawn brought no cessation of the
torrential downpour.

For a week the sun was obscured by heavy clouds, while violent rain and
wind storms obliterated the last remnants of the spoor Tarzan
constantly though vainly sought.

During all this time he saw no signs of natives, nor of his own pack,
the members of which he feared had lost his trail during the terrific
storm. As the country was strange to him, he had been unable to judge
his course accurately, since he had had neither sun by day nor moon nor
stars by night to guide him.

When the sun at last broke through the clouds in the fore-noon of the
seventh day, it looked down upon an almost frantic ape-man.

For the first time in his life, Tarzan of the Apes had been lost in the
jungle. That the experience should have befallen him at such a time
seemed cruel beyond expression. Somewhere in this savage land his wife
and son lay in the clutches of the arch-fiend Rokoff.

What hideous trials might they not have undergone during those seven
awful days that nature had thwarted him in his endeavours to locate
them? Tarzan knew the Russian, in whose power they were, so well that
he could not doubt but that the man, filled with rage that Jane had
once escaped him, and knowing that Tarzan might be close upon his
trail, would wreak without further loss of time whatever vengeance his
polluted mind might be able to conceive.

But now that the sun shone once more, the ape-man was still at a loss
as to what direction to take. He knew that Rokoff had left the river
in pursuit of Anderssen, but whether he would continue inland or return
to the Ugambi was a question.

The ape-man had seen that the river at the point he had left it was
growing narrow and swift, so that he judged that it could not be
navigable even for canoes to any great distance farther toward its
source. However, if Rokoff had not returned to the river, in what
direction had he proceeded?

From the direction of Anderssen's flight with Jane and the child Tarzan
was convinced that the man had purposed attempting the tremendous feat
of crossing the continent to Zanzibar; but whether Rokoff would dare so
dangerous a journey or not was a question.

Fear might drive him to the attempt now that he knew the manner of
horrible pack that was upon his trail, and that Tarzan of the Apes was
following him to wreak upon him the vengeance that he deserved.

At last the ape-man determined to continue toward the northeast in the
general direction of German East Africa until he came upon natives from
whom he might gain information as to Rokoff's whereabouts.

The second day following the cessation of the rain Tarzan came upon a
native village the inhabitants of which fled into the bush the instant
their eyes fell upon him. Tarzan, not to be thwarted in any such
manner as this, pursued them, and after a brief chase caught up with a
young warrior. The fellow was so badly frightened that he was unable
to defend himself, dropping his weapons and falling upon the ground,
wide-eyed and screaming as he gazed on his captor.

It was with considerable difficulty that the ape-man quieted the
fellow's fears sufficiently to obtain a coherent statement from him as
to the cause of his uncalled-for terror.

From him Tarzan learned, by dint of much coaxing, that a party of
whites had passed through the village several days before. These men
had told them of a terrible white devil that pursued them, warning the
natives against it and the frightful pack of demons that accompanied it.

The black had recognized Tarzan as the white devil from the
descriptions given by the whites and their black servants. Behind him
he had expected to see a horde of demons disguised as apes and panthers.

In this Tarzan saw the cunning hand of Rokoff. The Russian was
attempting to make travel as difficult as possible for him by turning
the natives against him in superstitious fear.

The native further told Tarzan that the white man who had led the
recent expedition had promised them a fabulous reward if they would
kill the white devil. This they had fully intended doing should the
opportunity present itself; but the moment they had seen Tarzan their
blood had turned to water, as the porters of the white men had told
them would be the case.

Finding the ape-man made no attempt to harm him, the native at last
recovered his grasp upon his courage, and, at Tarzan's suggestion,
accompanied the white devil back to the village, calling as he went for
his fellows to return also, as "the white devil has promised to do you
no harm if you come back right away and answer his questions."

One by one the blacks straggled into the village, but that their fears
were not entirely allayed was evident from the amount of white that
showed about the eyes of the majority of them as they cast constant and
apprehensive sidelong glances at the ape-man.

The chief was among the first to return to the village, and as it was
he that Tarzan was most anxious to interview, he lost no time in
entering into a palaver with the black.

The fellow was short and stout, with an unusually low and degraded
countenance and apelike arms. His whole expression denoted

Only the superstitious terror engendered in him by the stories poured
into his ears by the whites and blacks of the Russian's party kept him
from leaping upon Tarzan with his warriors and slaying him forthwith,
for he and his people were inveterate maneaters. But the fear that he
might indeed be a devil, and that out there in the jungle behind him
his fierce demons waited to do his bidding, kept M'ganwazam from
putting his desires into action.

Tarzan questioned the fellow closely, and by comparing his statements
with those of the young warrior he had first talked with he learned
that Rokoff and his safari were in terror-stricken retreat in the
direction of the far East Coast.

Many of the Russian's porters had already deserted him. In that very
village he had hanged five for theft and attempted desertion. Judging,
however, from what the Waganwazam had learned from those of the
Russian's blacks who were not too far gone in terror of the brutal
Rokoff to fear even to speak of their plans, it was apparent that he
would not travel any great distance before the last of his porters,
cooks, tent-boys, gun-bearers, askari, and even his headman, would have
turned back into the bush, leaving him to the mercy of the merciless

M'ganwazam denied that there had been any white woman or child with the
party of whites; but even as he spoke Tarzan was convinced that he
lied. Several times the ape-man approached the subject from different
angles, but never was he successful in surprising the wily cannibal
into a direct contradiction of his original statement that there had
been no women or children with the party.

Tarzan demanded food of the chief, and after considerable haggling on
the part of the monarch succeeded in obtaining a meal. He then tried
to draw out others of the tribe, especially the young man whom he had
captured in the bush, but M'ganwazam's presence sealed their lips.

At last, convinced that these people knew a great deal more than they
had told him concerning the whereabouts of the Russian and the fate of
Jane and the child, Tarzan determined to remain overnight among them in
the hope of discovering something further of importance.

When he had stated his decision to the chief he was rather surprised to
note the sudden change in the fellow's attitude toward him. From
apparent dislike and suspicion M'ganwazam became a most eager and
solicitous host.

Nothing would do but that the ape-man should occupy the best hut in the
village, from which M'ganwazam's oldest wife was forthwith summarily
ejected, while the chief took up his temporary abode in the hut of one
of his younger consorts.

Had Tarzan chanced to recall the fact that a princely reward had been
offered the blacks if they should succeed in killing him, he might have
more quickly interpreted M'ganwazam's sudden change in front.

To have the white giant sleeping peacefully in one of his own huts
would greatly facilitate the matter of earning the reward, and so the
chief was urgent in his suggestions that Tarzan, doubtless being very
much fatigued after his travels, should retire early to the comforts of
the anything but inviting palace.

As much as the ape-man detested the thought of sleeping within a native
hut, he had determined to do so this night, on the chance that he might
be able to induce one of the younger men to sit and chat with him
before the fire that burned in the centre of the smoke-filled dwelling,
and from him draw the truths he sought. So Tarzan accepted the
invitation of old M'ganwazam, insisting, however, that he much
preferred sharing a hut with some of the younger men rather than
driving the chief's old wife out in the cold.

The toothless old hag grinned her appreciation of this suggestion, and
as the plan still better suited the chief's scheme, in that it would
permit him to surround Tarzan with a gang of picked assassins, he
readily assented, so that presently Tarzan had been installed in a hut
close to the village gate.

As there was to be a dance that night in honour of a band of recently
returned hunters, Tarzan was left alone in the hut, the young men, as
M'ganwazam explained, having to take part in the festivities.

As soon as the ape-man was safely installed in the trap, M'Ganwazam
called about him the young warriors whom he had selected to spend the
night with the white devil!

None of them was overly enthusiastic about the plan, since deep in
their superstitious hearts lay an exaggerated fear of the strange white
giant; but the word of M'ganwazam was law among his people, so not one
dared refuse the duty he was called upon to perform.

As M'ganwazam unfolded his plan in whispers to the savages squatting
about him the old, toothless hag, to whom Tarzan had saved her hut for
the night, hovered about the conspirators ostensibly to replenish the
supply of firewood for the blaze about which the men sat, but really to
drink in as much of their conversation as possible.

Tarzan had slept for perhaps an hour or two despite the savage din of
the revellers when his keen senses came suddenly alert to a
suspiciously stealthy movement in the hut in which he lay. The fire
had died down to a little heap of glowing embers, which accentuated
rather than relieved the darkness that shrouded the interior of the
evil-smelling dwelling, yet the trained senses of the ape-man warned
him of another presence creeping almost silently toward him through the

He doubted that it was one of his hut mates returning from the
festivities, for he still heard the wild cries of the dancers and the
din of the tom-toms in the village street without. Who could it be
that took such pains to conceal his approach?

As the presence came within reach of him the ape-man bounded lightly to
the opposite side of the hut, his spear poised ready at his side.

"Who is it," he asked, "that creeps upon Tarzan of the Apes, like a
hungry lion out of the darkness?"

"Silence, bwana!" replied an old cracked voice. "It is Tambudza - she
whose hut you would not take, and thus drive an old woman out into the
cold night."

"What does Tambudza want of Tarzan of the Apes?" asked the ape-man.

"You were kind to me to whom none is now kind, and I have come to warn
you in payment of your kindness," answered the old hag.

"Warn me of what?"

"M'ganwazam has chosen the young men who are to sleep in the hut with
you," replied Tambudza. "I was near as he talked with them, and heard
him issuing his instructions to them. When the dance is run well into
the morning they are to come to the hut.

"If you are awake they are to pretend that they have come to sleep, but
if you sleep it is M'ganwazam's command that you be killed. If you are
not then asleep they will wait quietly beside you until you do sleep,
and then they will all fall upon you together and slay you. M'ganwazam
is determined to win the reward the white man has offered."

"I had forgotten the reward," said Tarzan, half to himself, and then he
added, "How may M'ganwazam hope to collect the reward now that the
white men who are my enemies have left his country and gone he knows
not where?"

"Oh, they have not gone far," replied Tambudza. "M'ganwazam knows
where they camp. His runners could quickly overtake them - they move

"Where are they?" asked Tarzan.

"Do you wish to come to them?" asked Tambudza in way of reply.

Tarzan nodded.

"I cannot tell you where they lie so that you could come to the place
yourself, but I could lead you to them, bwana."

In their interest in the conversation neither of the speakers had
noticed the little figure which crept into the darkness of the hut
behind them, nor did they see it when it slunk noiselessly out again.

It was little Buulaoo, the chief's son by one of his younger wives - a
vindictive, degenerate little rascal who hated Tambudza, and was ever
seeking opportunities to spy upon her and report her slightest breach
of custom to his father.

"Come, then," said Tarzan quickly, "let us be on our way."

This Buulaoo did not hear, for he was already legging it up the village
street to where his hideous sire guzzled native beer, and watched the
evolutions of the frantic dancers leaping high in the air and cavorting
wildly in their hysterical capers.

So it happened that as Tarzan and Tambudza sneaked warily from the
village and melted into the Stygian darkness of the jungle two lithe
runners took their way in the same direction, though by another trail.

When they had come sufficiently far from the village to make it safe
for them to speak above a whisper, Tarzan asked the old woman if she
had seen aught of a white woman and a little child.

"Yes, bwana," replied Tambudza, "there was a woman with them and a
little child - a little white piccaninny. It died here in our village
of the fever and they buried it!"

Chapter 12

A Black Scoundrel

When Jane Clayton regained consciousness she saw Anderssen standing
over her, holding the baby in his arms. As her eyes rested upon them
an expression of misery and horror overspread her countenance.

"What is the matter?" he asked. "You ban sick?"

"Where is my baby?" she cried, ignoring his questions.

Anderssen held out the chubby infant, but she shook her head.

"It is not mine," she said. "You knew that it was not mine. You are
a devil like the Russian."

Anderssen's blue eyes stretched in surprise.

"Not yours!" he exclaimed. "You tole me the kid aboard the Kincaid ban
your kid."

"Not this one," replied Jane dully. "The other. Where is the other?
There must have been two. I did not know about this one."

"There vasn't no other kid. Ay tank this ban yours. Ay am very sorry."

Anderssen fidgeted about, standing first on one foot and then upon the
other. It was perfectly evident to Jane that he was honest in his
protestations of ignorance of the true identity of the child.

Presently the baby commenced to crow, and bounce up and down in the
Swede's arms, at the same time leaning forward with little hands
out-reaching toward the young woman.

She could not withstand the appeal, and with a low cry she sprang to
her feet and gathered the baby to her breast.

For a few minutes she wept silently, her face buried in the baby's
soiled little dress. The first shock of disappointment that the tiny
thing had not been her beloved Jack was giving way to a great hope that
after all some miracle had occurred to snatch her baby from Rokoff's
hands at the last instant before the Kincaid sailed from England.

Then, too, there was the mute appeal of this wee waif alone and unloved
in the midst of the horrors of the savage jungle. It was this thought
more than any other that had sent her mother's heart out to the
innocent babe, while still she suffered from disappointment that she
had been deceived in its identity.

"Have you no idea whose child this is?" she asked Anderssen.

The man shook his head.

"Not now," he said. "If he ain't ban your kid, Ay don' know whose kid
he do ban. Rokoff said it was yours. Ay tank he tank so, too.

"What do we do with it now? Ay can't go back to the Kincaid. Rokoff
would have me shot; but you can go back. Ay take you to the sea, and
then some of these black men they take you to the ship - eh?"

"No! no!" cried Jane. "Not for the world. I would rather die than
fall into the hands of that man again. No, let us go on and take this
poor little creature with us. If God is willing we shall be saved in
one way or another."

So they again took up their flight through the wilderness, taking with
them a half-dozen of the Mosulas to carry provisions and the tents that
Anderssen had smuggled aboard the small boat in preparation for the
attempted escape.

The days and nights of torture that the young woman suffered were so
merged into one long, unbroken nightmare of hideousness that she soon
lost all track of time. Whether they had been wandering for days or
years she could not tell. The one bright spot in that eternity of
fear and suffering was the little child whose tiny hands had long since
fastened their softly groping fingers firmly about her heart.

In a way the little thing took the place and filled the aching void
that the theft of her own baby had left. It could never be the same,
of course, but yet, day by day, she found her mother-love, enveloping
the waif more closely until she sometimes sat with closed eyes lost in
the sweet imagining that the little bundle of humanity at her breast
was truly her own.

For some time their progress inland was extremely slow. Word came to
them from time to time through natives passing from the coast on
hunting excursions that Rokoff had not yet guessed the direction of
their flight. This, and the desire to make the journey as light as
possible for the gently bred woman, kept Anderssen to a slow advance of
short and easy marches with many rests.

The Swede insisted upon carrying the child while they travelled, and in
countless other ways did what he could to help Jane Clayton conserve
her strength. He had been terribly chagrined on discovering the
mistake he had made in the identity of the baby, but once the young
woman became convinced that his motives were truly chivalrous she would
not permit him longer to upbraid himself for the error that he could
not by any means have avoided.

At the close of each day's march Anderssen saw to the erection of a
comfortable shelter for Jane and the child. Her tent was always
pitched in the most favourable location. The thorn boma round it was
the strongest and most impregnable that the Mosula could construct.

Her food was the best that their limited stores and the rifle of the
Swede could provide, but the thing that touched her heart the closest
was the gentle consideration and courtesy which the man always accorded

That such nobility of character could lie beneath so repulsive an
exterior never ceased to be a source of wonder and amazement to her,
until at last the innate chivalry of the man, and his unfailing
kindliness and sympathy transformed his appearance in so far as Jane
was concerned until she saw only the sweetness of his character
mirrored in his countenance.

They had commenced to make a little better progress when word reached
them that Rokoff was but a few marches behind them, and that he had at
last discovered the direction of their flight. It was then that
Anderssen took to the river, purchasing a canoe from a chief whose
village lay a short distance from the Ugambi upon the bank of a

Thereafter the little party of fugitives fled up the broad Ugambi, and
so rapid had their flight become that they no longer received word of
their pursuers. At the end of canoe navigation upon the river, they
abandoned their canoe and took to the jungle. Here progress became at
once arduous, slow, and dangerous.

The second day after leaving the Ugambi the baby fell ill with fever.
Anderssen knew what the outcome must be, but he had not the heart to
tell Jane Clayton the truth, for he had seen that the young woman had
come to love the child almost as passionately as though it had been her
own flesh and blood.

As the baby's condition precluded farther advance, Anderssen withdrew a
little from the main trail he had been following and built a camp in a
natural clearing on the bank of a little river.

Here Jane devoted her every moment to caring for the tiny sufferer, and
as though her sorrow and anxiety were not all that she could bear, a
further blow came with the sudden announcement of one of the Mosula
porters who had been foraging in the jungle adjacent that Rokoff and
his party were camped quite close to them, and were evidently upon
their trail to this little nook which all had thought so excellent a

This information could mean but one thing, and that they must break
camp and fly onward regardless of the baby's condition. Jane Clayton
knew the traits of the Russian well enough to be positive that he would
separate her from the child the moment that he recaptured them, and she
knew that separation would mean the immediate death of the baby.

As they stumbled forward through the tangled vegetation along an old
and almost overgrown game trail the Mosula porters deserted them one by

The men had been staunch enough in their devotion and loyalty as long
as they were in no danger of being overtaken by the Russian and his
party. They had heard, however, so much of the atrocious disposition
of Rokoff that they had grown to hold him in mortal terror, and now
that they knew he was close upon them their timid hearts would fortify
them no longer, and as quickly as possible they deserted the three

Yet on and on went Anderssen and the girl. The Swede went ahead, to
hew a way through the brush where the path was entirely overgrown, so
that on this march it was necessary that the young woman carry the

All day they marched. Late in the afternoon they realized that they
had failed. Close behind them they heard the noise of a large safari
advancing along the trail which they had cleared for their pursuers.

When it became quite evident that they must be overtaken in a short
time Anderssen hid Jane behind a large tree, covering her and the child
with brush.

"There is a village about a mile farther on," he said to her. "The
Mosula told me its location before they deserted us. Ay try to lead
the Russian off your trail, then you go on to the village. Ay tank the
chief ban friendly to white men - the Mosula tal me he ban. Anyhow,
that was all we can do.

"After while you get chief to tak you down by the Mosula village at the
sea again, an' after a while a ship is sure to put into the mouth of
the Ugambi. Then you be all right. Gude-by an' gude luck to you,

"But where are you going, Sven?" asked Jane. "Why can't you hide here
and go back to the sea with me?"

"Ay gotta tal the Russian you ban dead, so that he don't luke for you
no more," and Anderssen grinned.

"Why can't you join me then after you have told him that?" insisted the

Anderssen shook his head.

"Ay don't tank Ay join anybody any more after Ay tal the Russian you
ban dead," he said.

"You don't mean that you think he will kill you?" asked Jane, and yet
in her heart she knew that that was exactly what the great scoundrel
would do in revenge for his having been thwarted by the Swede.
Anderssen did not reply, other than to warn her to silence and point
toward the path along which they had just come.

"I don't care," whispered Jane Clayton. "I shall not let you die to
save me if I can prevent it in any way. Give me your revolver. I can
use that, and together we may be able to hold them off until we can
find some means of escape."

"It won't work, lady," replied Anderssen. "They would only get us

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Online LibraryEdgar Rice BurroughsBeasts of Tarzan → online text (page 8 of 15)