Several miles south of the cabin, upon a strip of sandy
beach, stood two old men, arguing.
Before them stretched the broad Atlantic. At their backs
was the Dark Continent. Close around them loomed the
impenetrable blackness of the jungle.
savage 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 another world.
At 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.
Samuel T. Philander was speaking.
"But, 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, tut, dear Mr. Philander," interrupted Professor;
"their religion positively precluded the possibilities you
suggest. Moslemism was, is, and always will be, a blight on
that scientific progress which has marked--"
"Bless me! Professor," interjected Mr. Philander, who had
turned his gaze toward the jungle, "there seems to be someone
Professor Archimedes Q. Porter turned in the direction
indicated by the nearsighted Mr. Philander.
"Tut, 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 saying, Mr.--"
"Heavens, Professor, a lion?" cried Mr. Philander, straining
his weak eyes toward the dim figure outlined against the
dark tropical underbrush.
"Yes, yes, Mr. Philander, if you insist upon employing
slang in your discourse, a `lion.' But as I was saying--"
"Bless 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."
In the meantime the lion had approached with quiet dignity
to within ten paces of the two men, where he stood curiously
The moonlight flooded the beach, and the strange group
stood out in bold relief against the yellow sand.
"Most 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."
"Quite right, Professor," agreed Mr. Philander, "and the
sooner it is done the better. Let us start now."
Seizing the professor by the arm, Mr. Philander set off in
the direction that would put the greatest distance between
themselves and the lion.
They 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 his speed.
"As I was saying, Mr. Philander," repeated Professor.
Mr. Philander took another hasty glance rearward. The lion
also had quickened his gait, and was doggedly maintaining an
unvarying distance behind them.
"He is following us!" gasped Mr. Philander, breaking into a run.
"Tut, 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."
Mr. Philander stole another observation astern.
The lion was bounding along in easy leaps scarce five paces behind.
Mr. Philander dropped the professor's arm, and broke into
a mad orgy of speed that would have done credit to any
varsity track team.
"As 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.
With streaming coat tails and shiny silk hat Professor
Archimedes Q. Porter fled through the moonlight close upon
the heels of Mr. Samuel T. Philander.
Before 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.
It was Tarzan of the Apes who watched, with face a-grin,
this odd game of follow-the-leader.
He 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.
The 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 lair.
Really, 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.
So 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.
Another 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
For 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.
It was the professor who first broke the silence.
"I 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 Moors--"
"Professor 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, tut, Mr. Philander, tut, tut!" cautioned Professor
Porter; "you forget yourself."
"I 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."
The professor sat in silence for a few minutes, and the
darkness hid the grim smile that wreathed his wrinkled
countenance. Presently he spoke.
"Look 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."
"Ark!" 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."
The professor reached out a thin, trembling old hand
through the darkness until it found his old friend's shoulder.
"Forgive 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 away."
Another 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.
They 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.
"You certainly pulled me up into this tree just in time,"
said the professor at last. "I want to thank you. You saved
"But 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
"Eh?" ejaculated Professor. "Are you quite positive,
"Most 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."
"Eh? What's that? Tut, tut, Mr. Philander, tut, tut!" said
Professor, edging cautiously nearer to Mr. Philander.
Just 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.
The 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.
"Even the lion trembles in fear," whispered Mr. Philander.
"Most 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.
For a moment they swayed uncertainly, and then, with
mingled and most unscholarly shrieks, they pitched headlong
from the tree, locked in frenzied embrace.
It 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 progress impossible.
At length Professor 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.
"Most remarkable, most remarkable," he murmured.
"Thank God, Professor," whispered Mr. Philander, fervently,
"you are not dead, then?"
"Tut, tut, Mr. Philander, tut, tut," cautioned Professor
Porter, "I do not know with accuracy as yet."
With infinite solicitude Professor wiggled his right
arm--joy! It was intact. Breathlessly he waved his left arm
above his prostrate body--it waved!
"Most remarkable, most remarkable," he said.
"To whom are you signaling, Professor?" asked Mr. Philander,
in an excited tone.
Professor 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.
"Most remarkable," he breathed. "It remains intact."
Mr. 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?
One eye was buried in the soft loam; the other, rolling
sidewise, was fixed in awe upon the strange gyrations of
"How sad!" exclaimed Mr. Philander, half aloud. "Concussion
of the brain, superinducing total mental aberration. How
very sad indeed! and for one still so young!"
Professor 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.
"They are all here," he exclaimed. "Most remarkable!"
Whereupon he arose, and, bending a scathing glance upon
the still prostrate form of Mr. Samuel T. Philander, he said:
"Tut, tut, Mr. Philander; this is no time to indulge in slothful
ease. We must be up and doing."
Mr. Philander lifted his other eye out of the mud and
gazed in speechless rage at Professor. Then he
attempted to rise; nor could there have been any more
surprised than he when his efforts were immediately crowned
with marked success.
He 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.
Professor 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.
"Good evening, sir!" said the professor, lifting his hat.
For reply the giant motioned them to follow him, and set off
up the beach in the direction from which they had recently come.
"I think it the better part of discretion to follow him," said
"Tut, 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."
"But, Professor, 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, 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
Further argument was interrupted by Tarzan, who, seeing
that these strange men were not following him, had returned
to their side.
Again he beckoned to them; but still they stood in argument.
Presently 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, tut, Mr. Philander," remonstrated Professor;
"it is most unbeseeming in you to submit to such indignities."
But 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.
In 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 yards distant.
Here Tarzan released them, and, pointing toward the little
building, vanished into the jungle beside them.
"Most 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."
Mr. 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.
It 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
Esmeralda was positive that it was none other than an
angel of the Lord, sent down especially to watch over them.
"Had you seen him devour the raw meat of the lion,
Esmeralda," laughed Clayton, "you would have thought
him a very material angel."
"There 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.
"Nor 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 cows."
Tarzan of the Apes Chapter 15
... Tarzan of the Apes Chapter 17