|Table of Contents|
Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Chapter XVI: "Most
miles south of the cabin, upon a strip of sandy beach, stood two old men,
them stretched the broad Atlantic. At
their backs was the Dark Continent. Close
around them loomed the impenetrable blackness of the jungle.
beasts roared and growled; noises, hideous and weird, assailed their ears.
They had wandered for miles in search of their camp, but always in
the wrong direction. They
were as hopelessly lost as though they suddenly had been transported to
such a time, indeed, every fiber of their combined intellects must have
been concentrated upon the vital question of the minute--the
life-and-death question to them of retracing their steps to camp.
T. Philander was speaking.
my dear professor," he was saying, "I still maintain that but
for the victories of Ferdinand and Isabella over the fifteenth-century
Moors in Spain the world would be today a thousand years in advance of
where we now find ourselves. The Moors were essentially a tolerant,
broad-minded, liberal race of agriculturists, artisans and merchants--the
very type of people that has made possible such civilization as we find
today in America and Europe--while the Spaniards--"
tut, dear Mr. Philander," interrupted Professor Porter; "their
religion positively precluded the possibilities you suggest.
Moslemism was, is, and always will be, a blight on that scientific
progress which has marked--"
me! Professor," interjected Mr. Philander, who had turned
his gaze toward the jungle, "there seems to be someone
Archimedes Q. Porter turned in the direction indicated by the nearsighted
tut, Mr. Philander," he chided.
"How often must I urge you to seek that absolute concentration
of your mental faculties which alone may permit you to bring to bear the
highest powers of intellectuality upon the momentous problems which
naturally fall to the lot of great minds?
And now I find you guilty of a most flagrant breach of courtesy in
interrupting my learned discourse to call attention to a mere quadruped of
the genus FELIS. As I was
Professor, a lion?" cried Mr. Philander, straining his weak eyes
toward the dim figure outlined against the dark tropical underbrush.
yes, Mr. Philander, if you insist upon employing slang in your discourse,
a `lion.' But as I was
me, Professor," again interrupted Mr. Philander; "permit me to
suggest that doubtless the Moors who were conquered in the fifteenth
century will continue in that most regrettable condition for the time
being at least, even though we postpone discussion of that world calamity
until we may attain the enchanting view of yon FELIS CARNIVORA which
distance proverbially is credited with lending."
the meantime the lion had approached with quiet dignity to within ten
paces of the two men, where he stood curiously watching them.
moonlight flooded the beach, and the strange group stood out in bold
relief against the yellow sand.
reprehensible, most reprehensible," exclaimed Professor Porter, with
a faint trace of irritation in his voice. "Never, Mr. Philander,
never before in my life have I known one of these animals to be permitted
to roam at large from its cage. I
shall most certainly report this outrageous breach of ethics to the
directors of the adjacent zoological garden."
right, Professor," agreed Mr. Philander, "and the sooner it is
done the better. Let us start
the professor by the arm, Mr. Philander set off in the direction that
would put the greatest distance between themselves and the lion.
had proceeded but a short distance when a backward glance revealed to the
horrified gaze of Mr. Philander that the lion was following them.
He tightened his grip upon the protesting professor and increased
I was saying, Mr. Philander," repeated Professor Porter.
Philander took another hasty glance rearward.
The lion also had quickened his gait, and was doggedly maintaining
an unvarying distance behind them.
is following us!" gasped Mr. Philander, breaking into a run.
tut, Mr. Philander," remonstrated the professor, "this unseemly
haste is most unbecoming to men of letters.
What will our friends think of us, who may chance to be upon the
street and witness our frivolous antics?
Pray let us proceed with more decorum."
Philander stole another observation astern.
lion was bounding along in easy leaps scarce five paces behind.
Philander dropped the professor's arm, and broke into a mad orgy of speed
that would have done credit to any varsity track team.
I was saying, Mr. Philander--" screamed Professor Porter, as,
metaphorically speaking, he himself "threw her into high."
He, too, had caught a fleeting backward glimpse of cruel yellow
eyes and half open mouth within startling proximity of his person.
streaming coat tails and shiny silk hat Professor Archimedes Q. Porter
fled through the moonlight close upon the heels of Mr. Samuel T.
them a point of the jungle ran out toward a narrow promontory, and it was
for the heaven of the trees he saw there that Mr. Samuel T. Philander
directed his prodigious leaps and bounds; while from the shadows of this
same spot peered two keen eyes in interested appreciation of the race.
was Tarzan of the Apes who watched, with face a-grin, this odd game of
knew the two men were safe enough from attack in so far as the lion was
concerned. The very fact that
Numa had foregone such easy prey at all convinced the wise forest craft of
Tarzan that Numa's belly already was full.
lion might stalk them until hungry again; but the chances were that if not
angered he would soon tire of the sport, and slink away to his jungle
the one great danger was that one of the men might stumble and fall, and
then the yellow devil would be upon him in a moment and the joy of the
kill would be too great a temptation to withstand.
Tarzan swung quickly to a lower limb in line with the approaching
fugitives; and as Mr. Samuel T. Philander came panting and blowing beneath
him, already too spent to struggle up to the safety of the limb, Tarzan
reached down and, grasping him by the collar of his coat, yanked him to
the limb by his side.
moment brought the professor within the sphere of the friendly grip, and
he, too, was drawn upward to safety just as the baffled Numa, with a roar,
leaped to recover his vanishing quarry.
a moment the two men clung panting to the great branch, while Tarzan
squatted with his back to the stem of the tree, watching them with mingled
curiosity and amusement.
was the professor who first broke the silence.
am deeply pained, Mr. Philander, that you should have evinced such a
paucity of manly courage in the presence of one of the lower orders, and
by your crass timidity have caused me to exert myself to such an
unaccustomed degree in order that I might resume my discourse.
As I was saying, Mr. Philander, when you interrupted me, the
Archimedes Q. Porter," broke in Mr. Philander, in icy tones,
"the time has arrived when patience becomes a crime and mayhem
appears garbed in the mantle of virtue. You have accused me of cowardice.
You have insinuated that you ran only to overtake me, not to escape
the clutches of the lion. Have
a care, Professor Archimedes Q. Porter!
I am a desperate man. Goaded
by long-suffering patience the worm will turn."
tut, Mr. Philander, tut, tut!" cautioned Professor Porter; "you
forget nothing as yet, Professor Archimedes Q. Porter; but, believe me,
sir, I am tottering on the verge of forgetfulness as to your exalted
position in the world of science, and your gray hairs."
professor sat in silence for a few minutes, and the darkness hid the grim
smile that wreathed his wrinkled countenance.
Presently he spoke.
here, Skinny Philander," he said, in belligerent tones, "if you
are lookin' for a scrap, peel off your coat and come on down on the
ground, and I'll punch your head just as I did sixty years ago in the
alley back of Porky Evans' barn."
gasped the astonished Mr. Philander.
"Lordy, how good that sounds!
When you're human, Ark, I love you; but somehow it seems as though
you had forgotten how to be human for the last twenty years."
professor reached out a thin, trembling old hand through the darkness
until it found his old friend's shoulder.
me, Skinny," he said, softly. "It
hasn't been quite twenty years, and God alone knows how hard I have tried
to be `human' for Jane's sake, and yours, too, since He took my other Jane
old hand stole up from Mr. Philander's side to clasp the one that lay upon
his shoulder, and no other message could better have translated the one
heart to the other.
did not speak for some minutes. The
lion below them paced nervously back and forth.
The third figure in the tree was hidden by the dense shadows near
the stem. He, too, was
silent--motionless as a graven image.
certainly pulled me up into this tree just in time," said the
professor at last. "I want to thank you.
You saved my life."
I didn't pull you up here, Professor," said Mr. Philander.
"Bless me! The excitement of the moment quite caused me to forget that I
myself was drawn up here by some outside agency--there must be someone or
something in this tree with us."
ejaculated Professor Porter. "Are
you quite positive, Mr. Philander?"
positive, Professor," replied Mr. Philander, "and," he
added, "I think we should thank the party.
He may be sitting right next to you now, Professor."
What's that? Tut, tut,
Mr. Philander, tut, tut!" said Professor Porter, edging cautiously
nearer to Mr. Philander.
then it occurred to Tarzan of the Apes that Numa had loitered beneath the
tree for a sufficient length of time, so he raised his young head toward
the heavens, and there rang out upon the terrified ears of the two old men
the awful warning challenge of the anthropoid.
two friends, huddled trembling in their precarious position on the limb,
saw the great lion halt in his restless pacing as the blood-curdling cry
smote his ears, and then slink quickly into the jungle, to be instantly
lost to view.
the lion trembles in fear," whispered Mr. Philander.
remarkable, most remarkable," murmured Professor Porter, clutching
frantically at Mr. Philander to regain the balance which the sudden fright
had so perilously endangered. Unfortunately for them both, Mr. Philander's
center of equilibrium was at that very moment hanging upon the ragged edge
of nothing, so that it needed but the gentle impetus supplied by the
additional weight of Professor Porter's body to topple the devoted
secretary from the limb.
a moment they swayed uncertainly, and then, with mingled and most
unscholarly shrieks, they pitched headlong from the tree, locked in
was quite some moments ere either moved, for both were positive that any
such attempt would reveal so many breaks and fractures as to make further
length Professor Porter made an attempt to move one leg. To his surprise,
it responded to his will as in days gone by.
He now drew up its mate and stretched it forth again.
remarkable, most remarkable," he murmured.
God, Professor," whispered Mr. Philander, fervently, "you are
not dead, then?"
tut, Mr. Philander, tut, tut," cautioned Professor Porter, "I do
not know with accuracy as yet."
infinite solicitude Professor Porter wiggled his right arm--joy!
It was intact. Breathlessly
he waved his left arm above his prostrate body--it waved!
remarkable, most remarkable," he said.
whom are you signaling, Professor?" asked Mr. Philander, in an
Porter deigned to make no response to this puerile inquiry.
Instead he raised his head gently from the ground, nodding it back
and forth a half dozen times.
remarkable," he breathed. "It
Philander had not moved from where he had fallen; he had not dared the
attempt. How indeed could one
move when one's arms and legs and back were broken?
eye was buried in the soft loam; the other, rolling sidewise, was fixed in
awe upon the strange gyrations of Professor Porter.
sad!" exclaimed Mr. Philander, half aloud.
"Concussion of the brain, superinducing total mental
aberration. How very sad indeed! and for one still so young!"
Porter rolled over upon his stomach; gingerly he bowed his back until he
resembled a huge tom cat in proximity to a yelping dog.
Then he sat up and felt of various portions of his anatomy.
are all here," he exclaimed. "Most
he arose, and, bending a scathing glance upon the still prostrate form of
Mr. Samuel T. Philander, he said:
tut, Mr. Philander; this is no time to indulge in slothful ease.
We must be up and doing."
Philander lifted his other eye out of the mud and gazed in speechless rage
at Professor Porter. Then he
attempted to rise; nor could there have been any more surprised than he
when his efforts were immediately crowned with marked success.
was still bursting with rage, however, at the cruel injustice of Professor
Porter's insinuation, and was on the point of rendering a tart rejoinder
when his eyes fell upon a strange figure standing a few paces away,
scrutinizing them intently.
Porter had recovered his shiny silk hat, which he had brushed carefully
upon the sleeve of his coat and replaced upon his head.
When he saw Mr. Philander pointing to something behind him he
turned to behold a giant, naked but for a loin cloth and a few metal
ornaments, standing motionless before him.
evening, sir!" said the professor, lifting his hat.
reply the giant motioned them to follow him, and set off up the beach in
the direction from which they had recently come.
think it the better part of discretion to follow him," said Mr.
tut, Mr. Philander," returned the professor.
"A short time since you were advancing a most logical argument
in substantiation of your theory that camp lay directly south of us. I was
skeptical, but you finally convinced me; so now I am positive that toward
the south we must travel to reach our friends.
Therefore I shall continue south."
Professor Porter, this man may know better than either of us.
He seems to be indigenous to this part of the world.
Let us at least follow him for a short distance."
tut, Mr. Philander," repeated the professor.
"I am a difficult man to convince, but when once convinced my
decision is unalterable. I
shall continue in the proper direction, if I have to circumambulate the
continent of Africa to reach my destination."
argument was interrupted by Tarzan, who, seeing that these strange men
were not following him, had returned to their side.
he beckoned to them; but still they stood in argument.
the ape-man lost patience with their stupid ignorance. He grasped the
frightened Mr. Philander by the shoulder, and before that worthy gentleman
knew whether he was being killed or merely maimed for life, Tarzan had
tied one end of his rope securely about Mr. Philander's neck.
tut, Mr. Philander," remonstrated Professor Porter; "it is most
unbeseeming in you to submit to such indignities."
scarcely were the words out of his mouth ere he, too, had been seized and
securely bound by the neck with the same rope.
Then Tarzan set off toward the north, leading the now thoroughly
frightened professor and his secretary.
deathly silence they proceeded for what seemed hours to the two tired and
hopeless old men; but presently as they topped a little rise of ground
they were overjoyed to see the cabin lying before them, not a hundred
Tarzan released them, and, pointing toward the little building, vanished
into the jungle beside them.
remarkable, most remarkable!" gasped the professor. "But you
see, Mr. Philander, that I was quite right, as usual; and but for your
stubborn willfulness we should have escaped a series of most humiliating,
not to say dangerous accidents. Pray
allow yourself to be guided by a more mature and practical mind hereafter
when in need of wise counsel."
Samuel T. Philander was too much relieved at the happy outcome to their
adventure to take umbrage at the professor's cruel fling.
Instead he grasped his friend's arm and hastened him forward in the
direction of the cabin.
was a much-relieved party of castaways that found itself once more united.
Dawn discovered them still recounting their various adventures and
speculating upon the identity of the strange guardian and protector they
had found on this savage shore.
was positive that it was none other than an angel of the Lord, sent down
especially to watch over them.
you seen him devour the raw meat of the lion, Esmeralda," laughed
Clayton, "you would have thought him a very material angel."
was nothing heavenly about his voice," said Jane Porter, with a
little shudder at recollection of the awful roar which had followed the
killing of the lioness.
did it precisely comport with my preconceived ideas of the dignity of
divine messengers," remarked Professor Porter, "when
the--ah--gentleman tied two highly respectable and erudite scholars neck
to neck and dragged them through the jungle as though they had been
|Table of Contents|