The Passing of the Ape-Man
The next morning they set out upon the short journey to
Tarzan's cabin. Four Waziri bore the body of the dead Englishman.
It had been the ape-man's suggestion that Clayton be buried
beside the former Lord Greystoke near the edge of the
jungle against the cabin that the older man had built.
Jane Porter was glad that it was to be so, and in her
heart of hearts she wondered at the marvelous fineness of
character of this wondrous man, who, though raised by brutes
and among brutes, had the true chivalry and tenderness which
only associates with the refinements of the highest civilization.
They had proceeded some three miles of the five that
had separated them from Tarzan's own beach when the
Waziri who were ahead stopped suddenly, pointing in
amazement at a strange figure approaching them along the beach.
It was a man with a shiny silk hat, who walked slowly with
bent head, and hands clasped behind him underneath the
tails of his long, black coat.
At sight of him Jane Porter uttered a little cry of surprise
and joy, and ran quickly ahead to meet him. At the sound of
her voice the old man looked up, and when he saw who it was
confronting him he, too, cried out in relief and happiness.
As Professor Archimedes Q. Porter folded his daughter in his
arms tears streamed down his seamed old face, and it was several
minutes before he could control himself sufficiently to speak.
When a moment later he recognized Tarzan it was with
difficulty that they could convince him that his sorrow had
not unbalanced his mind, for with the other members of the
party he had been so thoroughly convinced that the ape-man
was dead it was a problem to reconcile the conviction with
the very lifelike appearance of Jane's "forest God." The old
man was deeply touched at the news of Clayton's death.
"I cannot understand it," he said. "Monsieur Thuran
assured us that Clayton passed away many days ago."
"Thuran is with you?" asked Tarzan.
"Yes; he but recently found us and led us to your cabin.
We were camped but a short distance north of it. Bless me,
but he will be delighted to see you both."
"And surprised," commented Tarzan.
A short time later the strange party came to the clearing
in which stood the ape-man's cabin. It was filled with people
coming and going, and almost the first whom Tarzan saw
"Paul!" he cried. "In the name of sanity what are you
doing here? Or are we all insane?"
It was quickly explained, however, as were many other
seemingly strange things. D'Arnot's ship had been cruising
along the coast, on patrol duty, when at the Lieutenant's
suggestion they had anchored off the little landlocked harbor
to have another look at the cabin and the jungle in which
many of the officers and men had taken part in exciting
adventures two years before. On landing they had found Lord
Tennington's party, and arrangements were being made to
take them all on board the following morning, and carry
them back to civilization.
Hazel Strong and her mother, Esmeralda, and Mr. Samuel
T. Philander were almost overcome by happiness at Jane
Porter's safe return. Her escape seemed to them little short
of miraculous, and it was the consensus of opinion that it
could have been achieved by no other man than Tarzan of
the Apes. They loaded the uncomfortable ape-man with
eulogies and attentions until he wished himself back in the
amphitheater of the apes.
All were interested in his savage Waziri, and many were
the gifts the black men received from these friends of their
king, but when they learned that he might sail away from
them upon the great canoe that lay at anchor a mile off
shore they became very sad.
As yet the newcomers had seen nothing of Lord Tennington
and Monsieur Thuran. They had gone out for fresh
meat early in the day, and had not yet returned.
"How surprised this man, whose name you say is Rokoff,
will be to see you," said Jane Porter to Tarzan.
"His surprise will be short-lived," replied the ape-man
grimly, and there was that in his tone that made her look up
into his face in alarm. What she read there evidently
confirmed her fears, for she put her hand upon his arm, and
pleaded with him to leave the Russian to the laws of France.
"In the heart of the jungle, dear," she said, "with no
other form of right or justice to appeal to other than your
own mighty muscles, you would be warranted in executing
upon this man the sentence he deserves; but with the strong
arm of a civilized government at your disposal it would be
murder to kill him now. Even your friends would have to
submit to your arrest, or if you resisted it would plunge
us all into misery and unhappiness again. I cannot bear to
lose you again, my Tarzan. Promise me that you will but
turn him over to Captain Dufranne, and let the law take its
course--the beast is not worth risking our happiness for."
He saw the wisdom of her appeal, and promised. A half
hour later Rokoff and Tennington emerged from the jungle.
They were walking side by side. Tennington was the first to
note the presence of strangers in the camp. He saw the
black warriors palavering with the sailors from the cruiser,
and then he saw a lithe, brown giant talking with Lieutenant
D'Arnot and Captain Dufranne.
"Who is that, I wonder," said Tennington to Rokoff, and
as the Russian raised his eyes and met those of the ape-man
full upon him, he staggered and went white.
"SAPRISTI!" he cried, and before Tennington realized what
he intended he had thrown his gun to his shoulder, and
aiming point-blank at Tarzan pulled the trigger. But the
Englishman was close to him--so close that his hand reached
the leveled barrel a fraction of a second before the hammer
fell upon the cartridge, and the bullet that was intended for
Tarzan's heart whirred harmlessly above his head.
Before the Russian could fire again the ape-man was
upon him and had wrested the firearm from his grasp.
Captain Dufranne, Lieutenant D'Arnot, and a dozen sailors had
rushed up at the sound of the shot, and now Tarzan turned
the Russian over to them without a word. He had explained
the matter to the French commander before Rokoff arrived,
and the officer gave immediate orders to place the Russian
in irons and confine him on board the cruiser.
Just before the guard escorted the prisoner into the small
boat that was to transport him to his temporary prison
Tarzan asked permission to search him, and to his delight
found the stolen papers concealed upon his person.
The shot had brought Jane Porter and the others from
the cabin, and a moment after the excitement had died
down she greeted the surprised Lord Tennington. Tarzan joined
them after he had taken the papers from Rokoff, and, as he
approached, Jane Porter introduced him to Tennington.
"John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, my lord," she said.
The Englishman looked his astonishment in spite of his
most herculean efforts to appear courteous, and it required
many repetitions of the strange story of the ape-man as told
by himself, Jane Porter, and Lieutenant D'Arnot to convince
Lord Tennington that they were not all quite mad.
At sunset they buried William Cecil Clayton beside the
jungle graves of his uncle and his aunt, the former Lord
and Lady Greystoke. And it was at Tarzan's request that
three volleys were fired over the last resting place of
"a brave man, who met his death bravely."
Professor Porter, who in his younger days had been ordained
a minister, conducted the simple services for the dead.
About the grave, with bowed heads, stood as strange
a company of mourners as the sun ever looked down upon.
There were French officers and sailors, two English lords,
Americans, and a score of savage African braves.
Following the funeral Tarzan asked Captain Dufranne to
delay the sailing of the cruiser a couple of days while he
went inland a few miles to fetch his "belongings," and the
officer gladly granted the favor.
Late the next afternoon Tarzan and his Waziri returned
with the first load of "belongings," and when the party saw
the ancient ingots of virgin gold they swarmed upon the ape-
man with a thousand questions; but he was smilingly obdurate
to their appeals--he declined to give them the slightest
clew as to the source of his immense treasure. "There are a
thousand that I left behind," he explained, "for every one
that I brought away, and when these are spent I may wish
to return for more."
The next day he returned to camp with the balance of
his ingots, and when they were stored on board the cruiser
Captain Dufranne said he felt like the commander of an old-
time Spanish galleon returning from the treasure cities of
the Aztecs. "I don't know what minute my crew will cut my
throat, and take over the ship," he added.
The next morning, as they were preparing to embark upon
the cruiser, Tarzan ventured a suggestion to Jane Porter.
"Wild beasts are supposed to be devoid of sentiment," he
said, "but nevertheless I should like to be married in the
cabin where I was born, beside the graves of my mother and
my father, and surrounded by the savage jungle that always
has been my home."
"Would it be quite regular, dear?" she asked. "For if it
would I know of no other place in which I should rather be
married to my forest God than beneath the shade of his
And when they spoke of it to the others they were assured
that it would be quite regular, and a most splendid
termination of a remarkable romance. So the entire party
assembled within the little cabin and about the door to
witness the second ceremony that Professor Porter was to
solemnize within three days.
D'Arnot was to be best man, and Hazel Strong bridesmaid,
until Tennington upset all the arrangements by another
of his marvelous "ideas."
"If Mrs. Strong is agreeable," he said, taking the bridesmaid's
hand in his, "Hazel and I think it would be ripping to make it
a double wedding."
The next day they sailed, and as the cruiser steamed slowly
out to sea a tall man, immaculate in white flannel, and a
graceful girl leaned against her rail to watch the receding
shore line upon which danced twenty naked, black warriors
of the Waziri, waving their war spears above their savage
heads, and shouting farewells to their departing king.
"I should hate to think that I am looking upon the jungle
for the last time, dear," he said, "were it not that I know
that I am going to a new world of happiness with you forever,"
and, bending down, Tarzan of the Apes kissed his
mate upon her lips.
Return of Tarzan Chapter 25
... Return of Tarzan