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Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Chapter XV: The
Clayton heard the report of the firearm he fell into an agony of fear and
apprehension. He knew that
one of the sailors might be the author of it; but the fact that he had
left the revolver with Jane, together with the overwrought condition of
his nerves, made him morbidly positive that she was threatened with some
great danger. Perhaps even
now she was attempting to defend herself against some savage man or beast.
were the thoughts of his strange captor or guide Clayton could only
vaguely conjecture; but that he had heard the shot, and was in some manner
affected by it was quite evident, for he quickened his pace so appreciably
that Clayton, stumbling blindly in his wake, was down a dozen times in as
many minutes in a vain effort to keep pace with him, and soon was left
that he would again be irretrievably lost, he called aloud to the wild man
ahead of him, and in a moment had the satisfaction of seeing him drop
lightly to his side from the branches above.
a moment Tarzan looked at the young man closely, as though undecided as to
just what was best to do; then, stooping down before Clayton, he motioned
him to grasp him about the neck, and, with the white man upon his back,
Tarzan took to the trees.
next few minutes the young Englishman never forgot. High into bending and
swaying branches he was borne with what seemed to him incredible
swiftness, while Tarzan chafed at the slowness of his progress.
one lofty branch the agile creature swung with Clayton through a dizzy arc
to a neighboring tree; then for a hundred yards maybe the sure feet
threaded a maze of interwoven limbs, balancing like a tightrope walker
high above the black depths of verdure beneath.
the first sensation of chilling fear Clayton passed to one of keen
admiration and envy of those giant muscles and that wondrous instinct or
knowledge which guided this forest god through the inky blackness of the
night as easily and safely as Clayton would have strolled a London street
at high noon.
they would enter a spot where the foliage above was less dense, and the
bright rays of the moon lit up before Clayton's wondering eyes the strange
path they were traversing.
such times the man fairly caught his breath at sight of the horrid depths
below them, for Tarzan took the easiest way, which often led over a
hundred feet above the earth.
yet with all his seeming speed, Tarzan was in reality feeling his way with
comparative slowness, searching constantly for limbs of adequate strength
for the maintenance of this double weight.
they came to the clearing before the beach. Tarzan's quick ears had heard
the strange sounds of Sabor's efforts to force her way through the
lattice, and it seemed to Clayton that they dropped a straight hundred
feet to earth, so quickly did Tarzan descend.
Yet when they struck the ground it was with scarce a jar; and as
Clayton released his hold on the ape-man he saw him dart like a squirrel
for the opposite side of the cabin.
Englishman sprang quickly after him just in time to see the hind quarters
of some huge animal about to disappear through the window of the cabin.
Jane opened her eyes to a realization of the imminent peril which
threatened her, her brave young heart gave up at last its final vestige of
hope. But then to her
surprise she saw the huge animal being slowly drawn back through the
window, and in the moonlight beyond she saw the heads and shoulders of two
Clayton rounded the corner of the cabin to behold the animal disappearing
within, it was also to see the ape-man seize the long tail in both hands,
and, bracing himself with his feet against the side of the cabin, throw
all his mighty strength into the effort to draw the beast out of the
was quick to lend a hand, but the ape-man jabbered to him in a commanding
and peremptory tone something which Clayton knew to be orders, though he
could not understand them.
last, under their combined efforts, the great body was slowly dragged
farther and farther outside the window, and then there came to Clayton's
mind a dawning conception of the rash bravery of his companion's act.
a naked man to drag a shrieking, clawing man-eater forth from a window by
the tail to save a strange white girl, was indeed the last word in
as Clayton was concerned it was a very different matter, since the girl
was not only of his own kind and race, but was the one woman in all the
world whom he loved.
he knew that the lioness would make short work of both of them, he pulled
with a will to keep it from Jane Porter.
And then he recalled the battle between this man and the great,
black-maned lion which he had witnessed a short time before, and he
commenced to feel more assurance.
was still issuing orders which Clayton could not understand.
was trying to tell the stupid white man to plunge his poisoned arrows into
Sabor's back and sides, and to reach the savage heart with the long, thin
hunting knife that hung at Tarzan's hip; but the man would not understand,
and Tarzan did not dare release his hold to do the things himself, for he
knew that the puny white man never could hold mighty Sabor alone, for an
the lioness was emerging from the window.
At last her shoulders were out.
then Clayton saw an incredible thing.
Tarzan, racking his brains for some means to cope single-handed
with the infuriated beast, had suddenly recalled his battle with Terkoz;
and as the great shoulders came clear of the window, so that the lioness
hung upon the sill only by her forepaws, Tarzan suddenly released his hold
upon the brute.
the quickness of a striking rattler he launched himself full upon Sabor's
back, his strong young arms seeking and gaining a full-Nelson upon the
beast, as he had learned it that other day during his bloody, wrestling
victory over Terkoz.
a roar the lioness turned completely over upon her back, falling full upon
her enemy; but the black-haired giant only closed tighter his hold.
and tearing at earth and air, Sabor rolled and threw herself this way and
that in an effort to dislodge this strange antagonist; but ever tighter
and tighter drew the iron bands that were forcing her head lower and lower
upon her tawny breast.
crept the steel forearms of the ape-man about the back of Sabor's neck.
Weaker and weaker became the lioness's efforts.
last Clayton saw the immense muscles of Tarzan's shoulders and biceps leap
into corded knots beneath the silver moonlight.
There was a long sustained and supreme effort on the ape-man's
part--and the vertebrae of Sabor's neck parted with a sharp snap.
an instant Tarzan was upon his feet, and for the second time that day
Clayton heard the bull ape's savage roar of victory.
Then he heard Jane's agonized cry:
Clayton! Oh, what is it? What is it?"
quickly to the cabin door, Clayton called out that all was right, and
shouted to her to open the door. As
quickly as she could she raised the great bar and fairly dragged Clayton
was that awful noise?" she whispered, shrinking close to him.
was the cry of the kill from the throat of the man who has just saved your
life, Miss Porter. Wait, I
will fetch him so you may thank him."
frightened girl would not be left alone, so she accompanied Clayton to the
side of the cabin where lay the dead body of the lioness.
of the Apes was gone.
called several times, but there was no reply, and so the two returned to
the greater safety of the interior.
a frightful sound!" cried Jane, "I shudder at the mere thought
of it. Do not tell me that a human throat voiced that hideous and
it did, Miss Porter," replied Clayton; "or at least if not a
human throat that of a forest god."
then he told her of his experiences with this strange creature--of how
twice the wild man had saved his life--of the wondrous strength, and
agility, and bravery--of the brown skin and the handsome face.
cannot make it out at all," he concluded.
"At first I thought he might be Tarzan of the Apes; but he
neither speaks nor understands English, so that theory is untenable."
whatever he may be," cried the girl, "we owe him our lives, and
may God bless him and keep him in safety in his wild and savage
said Clayton, fervently.
the good Lord's sake, ain't I dead?"
two turned to see Esmeralda sitting upright upon the floor, her great eyes
rolling from side to side as though she could not believe their testimony
as to her whereabouts.
now, for Jane Porter, the reaction came, and she threw herself upon the
bench, sobbing with hysterical laughter.
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