Created by Judith Boss, Omaha, Nebraska
The Return Of Tarzan
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
1 The Affair on the Liner
2 Forging Bonds of Hate and - - ?
3 What Happened in the Rue Maule
4 The Countess Explains
5 The Plot That Failed
6 A Duel
7 The Dancing Girl of Sidi Aissa
8 The Fight in the Desert
9 Numa "El Adrea"
10 Through the Valley of the Shadow
11 John Caldwell, London
12 Ships That Pass
13 The Wreck of the "Lady Alice"
14 Back to the Primitive
15 From Ape to Savage
16 The Ivory Raiders
17 The White Chief of the Waziri
18 The Lottery of Death
19 The City of Gold
21 The Castaways
22 The Treasure Vaults of Opar
23 The Fifty Frightful Men
24 How Tarzan Came Again to Opar
25 Through the Forest Primeval
26 The Passing of the Ape-Man
The Affair on the Liner
"Magnifique!" ejaculated the Countess de 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 comfortably
in her steamer chair, and resumed the magazine 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
"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 husband 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
"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 excitedly 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 intriguing, 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 Greystoke, that he had denied his birth. It was for the woman
whom both he and Clayton had 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 happiness 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 overtaking 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
Not even the apes of his own tribe would extend the hand of fellowship
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 interrupted. 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 interest 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 opposite the new
player, Count Raoul de Coude, whom at 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 something from his pocket. Tarzan
could not discern what the object was, for the man's hand covered
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
"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 annoyance he found the exit barred
by a tall, gray-eyed stranger.
"Pardon," said the man brusquely, attempting to pass to one side.
"Wait," said Tarzan.
"But why, monsieur?" exclaimed the other petulantly. "Permit me
to pass, monsieur."
"Wait," said Tarzan. "I think that there is a matter in here that
you may doubtless be able to explain."
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 encounters 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 expectantly 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. "Gentlemen, 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 intercepted in an effort to escape
placed the cards in the count's pocket."
De Coude had glanced from Tarzan to the man in his grasp.
"MON DIEU, Nikolas!" he cried. "You?"
Then he turned to his accuser, and eyed him intently for a moment.
"And you, monsieur, I did not recognize you without your beard.
It quite disguises you, Paulvitch. I see it all now. It is quite
"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 command."
Tarzan had released Rokoff, who, with his confederate, 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
The count read:
M. JEAN C. TARZAN
"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
"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 malignant 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 majesty."
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 ignorance 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 wisdom of
adopting the course I suggest.
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 Germany."
"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, permanently 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 deliberately 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
"Monsieur Tarzan?" asked the countess, in evident surprise.
"Yes. Do you know him, Olga?"
"I have seen him. A steward pointed him out to me."
"I did not know that he was a celebrity," said the count.
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 Monsieur 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 thing."
Forging Bonds of Hate and - - ?
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
slender, well-modeled figure denoted youth; but as she was heavily
veiled he could not discern her features.
The 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 threatening, the woman pleading; but they spoke in a strange
tongue, and he could only guess from appearances that the girl was
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 unceremoniously
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 sprawling 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
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 remember him."
"That you are a coward and a scoundrel, monsieur," 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 conspiracy 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
workmanship 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 persecuting, and learn if the fellow had offered her
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 day 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 unhappy 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
supinely aside while another took his mate. It is a silly world,
an idiotic world, and Tarzan of the Apes was a fool to renounce
the freedom and the happiness of his jungle to come into it."
Presently, as he sat there, the sudden feeling came over him that
eyes were watching from behind, and the old instinct of the wild
beast broke through the thin veneer of civilization, so that Tarzan
wheeled about so quickly that the eyes of the young woman who had
been surreptitiously regarding him had not even time to drop before
the gray eyes of the ape-man shot an inquiring look straight into
them. Then, as they fell, Tarzan saw a faint wave of crimson creep
swiftly over the now half-averted face.
He smiled to himself at the result of his very uncivilized and
ungallant action, for he had not lowered his own eyes when they
met those of the young woman. She was very young, and equally good
to look upon. Further, there was something rather familiar about
her that set Tarzan to wondering where he had seen her before. He