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TARZAN of the Apes
by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Chapter 19

The Call of the Primitive

From the time Tarzan left the tribe of great anthropoids in

which he had been raised, it was torn by continual strife

and discord. Terkoz proved a cruel and capricious king, so

that, one by one, many of the older and weaker apes, upon whom

he was particularly prone to vent his brutish nature, took their

families and sought the quiet and safety of the far interior.

But at last those who remained were driven to desperation

by the continued truculence of Terkoz, and it so happened

that one of them recalled the parting admonition of Tarzan:

"If you have a chief who is cruel, do not do as the other

apes do, and attempt, any one of you, to pit yourself against

him alone. But, instead, let two or three or four of you attack

him together. Then, if you will do this, no chief will dare to

be other than he should be, for four of you can kill any chief

who may ever be over you."

And the ape who recalled this wise counsel repeated it to

several of his fellows, so that when Terkoz returned to the

tribe that day he found a warm reception awaiting him.

There were no formalities. As Terkoz reached the group,

five huge, hairy beasts sprang upon him.

At heart he was an arrant coward, which is the way with

bullies among apes as well as among men; so he did not remain

to fight and die, but tore himself away from them as quickly

as he could and fled into the sheltering boughs of the forest.

Two more attempts he made to rejoin the tribe, but on

each occasion he was set upon and driven away. At last he

gave it up, and turned, foaming with rage and hatred, into

the jungle.

For several days he wandered aimlessly, nursing his spite and

looking for some weak thing on which to vent his pent anger.

It was in this state of mind that the horrible, man-like

beast, swinging from tree to tree, came suddenly upon two

women in the jungle.

He was right above them when he discovered them. The

first intimation Jane Porter had of his presence was when the

great hairy body dropped to the earth beside her, and she saw

the awful face and the snarling, hideous mouth thrust within

a foot of her.

One piercing scream escaped her lips as the brute hand

clutched her arm. Then she was dragged toward those awful

fangs which yawned at her throat. But ere they touched that

fair skin another mood claimed the anthropoid.

The tribe had kept his women. He must find others to replace

them. This hairless white ape would be the first of his new

household, and so he threw her roughly across his broad, hairy

shoulders and leaped back into the trees, bearing Jane away.

Esmeralda's scream of terror had mingled once with that

of Jane, and then, as was Esmeralda's manner under stress of

emergency which required presence of mind, she swooned.

But Jane did not once lose consciousness. It is true that

that awful face, pressing close to hers, and the stench of the

foul breath beating upon her nostrils, paralyzed her with terror;

but her brain was clear, and she comprehended all that transpired.

With what seemed to her marvelous rapidity the brute bore her

through the forest, but still she did not cry out or struggle.

The sudden advent of the ape had confused her to such an extent

that she thought now that he was bearing her toward the beach.

For this reason she conserved her energies and her voice

until she could see that they had approached near enough to

the camp to attract the succor she craved.

She could not have known it, but she was being borne farther

and farther into the impenetrable jungle.

The scream that had brought Clayton and the two older

men stumbling through the undergrowth had led Tarzan of the

Apes straight to where Esmeralda lay, but it was not

Esmeralda in whom his interest centered, though pausing

over her he saw that she was unhurt.

For a moment he scrutinized the ground below and the

trees above, until the ape that was in him by virtue of

training and environment, combined with the intelligence that was

his by right of birth, told his wondrous woodcraft the whole

story as plainly as though he had seen the thing happen with

his own eyes.

And then he was gone again into the swaying trees, following

the high-flung spoor which no other human eye could

have detected, much less translated.

At boughs' ends, where the anthropoid swings from one tree

to another, there is most to mark the trail, but least to

point the direction of the quarry; for there the pressure is

downward always, toward the small end of the branch, whether

the ape be leaving or entering a tree. Nearer the center of

the tree, where the signs of passage are fainter, the direction

is plainly marked.

Here, on this branch, a caterpillar has been crushed by the

fugitive's great foot, and Tarzan knows instinctively where

that same foot would touch in the next stride. Here he looks

to find a tiny particle of the demolished larva, ofttimes not

more than a speck of moisture.

Again, a minute bit of bark has been upturned by the

scraping hand, and the direction of the break indicates the

direction of the passage. Or some great limb, or the stem of the

tree itself has been brushed by the hairy body, and a tiny

shred of hair tells him by the direction from which it is

wedged beneath the bark that he is on the right trail.

Nor does he need to check his speed to catch these seemingly

faint records of the fleeing beast.

To Tarzan they stand out boldly against all the myriad

other scars and bruises and signs upon the leafy way. But

strongest of all is the scent, for Tarzan is pursuing up the

wind, and his trained nostrils are as sensitive as a hound's.

There are those who believe that the lower orders are

specially endowed by nature with better olfactory nerves

than man, but it is merely a matter of development.

Man's survival does not hinge so greatly upon the perfection

of his senses. His power to reason has relieved them of

many of their duties, and so they have, to some extent,

atrophied, as have the muscles which move the ears and scalp,

merely from disuse.

The muscles are there, about the ears and beneath the scalp,

and so are the nerves which transmit sensations to the brain,

but they are under-developed because they are not needed.

Not so with Tarzan of the Apes. From early infancy his

survival had depended upon acuteness of eyesight, hearing,

smell, touch, and taste far more than upon the more slowly

developed organ of reason.

The least developed of all in Tarzan was the sense of taste,

for he could eat luscious fruits, or raw flesh, long buried

with almost equal appreciation; but in that he differed but

slightly from more civilized epicures.

Almost silently the ape-man sped on in the track of Terkoz

and his prey, but the sound of his approach reached the ears

of the fleeing beast and spurred it on to greater speed.

Three miles were covered before Tarzan overtook them, and

then Terkoz, seeing that further flight was futile, dropped

to the ground in a small open glade, that he might turn and

fight for his prize or be free to escape unhampered if he saw

that the pursuer was more than a match for him.

He still grasped Jane in one great arm as Tarzan bounded

like a leopard into the arena which nature had provided for

this primeval-like battle.

When Terkoz saw that it was Tarzan who pursued him, he

jumped to the conclusion that this was Tarzan's woman, since

they were of the same kind--white and hairless--and so he

rejoiced at this opportunity for double revenge upon his

hated enemy.

To Jane the strange apparition of this god-like man was as

wine to sick nerves.

From the description which Clayton and her father and

Mr. Philander had given her, she knew that it must be the

same wonderful creature who had saved them, and she saw in

him only a protector and a friend.

But as Terkoz pushed her roughly aside to meet Tarzan's

charge, and she saw the great proportions of the ape and the

mighty muscles and the fierce fangs, her heart quailed. How

could any vanquish such a mighty antagonist?

Like two charging bulls they came together, and like two

wolves sought each other's throat. Against the long canines of

the ape was pitted the thin blade of the man's knife.

Jane--her lithe, young form flattened against the trunk of

a great tree, her hands tight pressed against her rising and

falling bosom, and her eyes wide with mingled horror,

fascination, fear, and admiration--watched the primordial ape

battle with the primeval man for possession of a woman--for her.

As the great muscles of the man's back and shoulders knotted

beneath the tension of his efforts, and the huge biceps

and forearm held at bay those mighty tusks, the veil of

centuries of civilization and culture was swept from the

blurred vision of the Baltimore girl.

When the long knife drank deep a dozen times of Terkoz'

heart's blood, and the great carcass rolled lifeless upon

the ground, it was a primeval woman who sprang forward with

outstretched arms toward the primeval man who had fought

for her and won her.

And Tarzan?

He did what no red-blooded man needs lessons in doing.

He took his woman in his arms and smothered her upturned,

panting lips with kisses.

For a moment Jane lay there with half-closed eyes. For a

moment--the first in her young life--she knew the meaning

of love.

But as suddenly as the veil had been withdrawn it dropped

again, and an outraged conscience suffused her face with its

scarlet mantle, and a mortified woman thrust Tarzan of the

Apes from her and buried her face in her hands.

Tarzan had been surprised when he had found the girl he had

learned to love after a vague and abstract manner a willing

prisoner in his arms. Now he was surprised that she repulsed him.

He came close to her once more and took hold of her arm.

She turned upon him like a tigress, striking his great breast

with her tiny hands.

Tarzan could not understand it.

A moment ago and it had been his intention to hasten Jane

back to her people, but that little moment was lost now in the

dim and distant past of things which were but can never be again,

and with it the good intentions had gone to join the impossible.

Since then Tarzan of the Apes had felt a warm, lithe form

close pressed to his. Hot, sweet breath against his cheek and

mouth had fanned a new flame to life within his breast, and

perfect lips had clung to his in burning kisses that had seared

a deep brand into his soul--a brand which marked a new Tarzan.

Again he laid his hand upon her arm. Again she repulsed

him. And then Tarzan of the Apes did just what his first

ancestor would have done.

He took his woman in his arms and carried her into the jungle.

Early the following morning the four within the little cabin

by the beach were awakened by the booming of a cannon.

Clayton was the first to rush out, and there, beyond the

harbor's mouth, he saw two vessels lying at anchor.

One was the Arrow and the other a small French cruiser.

The sides of the latter were crowded with men gazing shoreward,

and it was evident to Clayton, as to the others who had now

joined him, that the gun which they had heard had been fired

to attract their attention if they still remained at the cabin.

Both vessels lay at a considerable distance from shore, and

it was doubtful if their glasses would locate the waving hats

of the little party far in between the harbor's points.

Esmeralda had removed her red apron and was waving it

frantically above her head; but Clayton, still fearing that even

this might not be seen, hurried off toward the northern point

where lay his signal pyre ready for the match.

It seemed an age to him, as to those who waited breathlessly

behind, ere he reached the great pile of dry branches

and underbrush.

As he broke from the dense wood and came in sight of the

vessels again, he was filled with consternation to see that the

Arrow was making sail and that the cruiser was already

under way.

Quickly lighting the pyre in a dozen places, he hurried to

the extreme point of the promontory, where he stripped off

his shirt, and, tying it to a fallen branch, stood waving it back

and forth above him.

But still the vessels continued to stand out; and he had

given up all hope, when the great column of smoke, rising

above the forest in one dense vertical shaft, attracted the

attention of a lookout aboard the cruiser, and instantly a

dozen glasses were leveled on the beach.

Presently Clayton saw the two ships come about again; and

while the Arrow lay drifting quietly on the ocean, the

cruiser steamed slowly back toward shore.

At some distance away she stopped, and a boat was lowered

and dispatched toward the beach.

As it was drawn up a young officer stepped out.

"Monsieur Clayton, I presume?" he asked.

"Thank God, you have come!" was Clayton's reply. "And

it may be that it is not too late even now."

"What do you mean, Monsieur?" asked the officer.

Clayton told of the abduction of Jane Porter and the need

of armed men to aid in the search for her.

"MON DIEU!" exclaimed the officer, sadly. "Yesterday and

it would not have been too late. Today and it may be better

that the poor lady were never found. It is horrible, Monsieur.

It is too horrible."

Other boats had now put off from the cruiser, and Clayton,

having pointed out the harbor's entrance to the officer,

entered the boat with him and its nose was turned toward the

little landlocked bay, into which the other craft followed.

Soon the entire party had landed where stood Professor

Porter, Mr. Philander and the weeping Esmeralda.

Among the officers in the last boats to put off from the

cruiser was the commander of the vessel; and when he had

heard the story of Jane's abduction, he generously called

for volunteers to accompany Professor Porter and Clayton

in their search.

Not an officer or a man was there of those brave and

sympathetic Frenchmen who did not quickly beg leave to

be one of the expedition.

The commander selected twenty men and two officers,

Lieutenant D'Arnot and Lieutenant Charpentier. A boat was

dispatched to the cruiser for provisions, ammunition, and

carbines; the men were already armed with revolvers.

Then, to Clayton's inquiries as to how they had happened

to anchor off shore and fire a signal gun, the commander,

Captain Dufranne, explained that a month before they had

sighted the Arrow bearing southwest under considerable

canvas, and that when they had signaled her to come about she

had but crowded on more sail.

They had kept her hull-up until sunset, firing several shots

after her, but the next morning she was nowhere to be seen.

They had then continued to cruise up and down the coast for

several weeks, and had about forgotten the incident of the

recent chase, when, early one morning a few days before the

lookout had described a vessel laboring in the trough of a

heavy sea and evidently entirely out of control.

As they steamed nearer to the derelict they were surprised

to note that it was the same vessel that had run from them a

few weeks earlier. Her forestaysail and mizzen spanker were

set as though an effort had been made to hold her head up

into the wind, but the sheets had parted, and the sails were

tearing to ribbons in the half gale of wind.

In the high sea that was running it was a difficult and

dangerous task to attempt to put a prize crew aboard her; and as

no signs of life had been seen above deck, it was decided to

stand by until the wind and sea abated; but just then a figure

was seen clinging to the rail and feebly waving a mute signal

of despair toward them.

Immediately a boat's crew was ordered out and an attempt

was successfully made to board the Arrow.

The sight that met the Frenchmen's eyes as they clambered

over the ship's side was appalling.

A dozen dead and dying men rolled hither and thither upon

the pitching deck, the living intermingled with the dead.

Two of the corpses appeared to have been partially devoured

as though by wolves.

The prize crew soon had the vessel under proper sail once

more and the living members of the ill-starred company

carried below to their hammocks.

The dead were wrapped in tarpaulins and lashed on deck

to be identified by their comrades before being consigned to

the deep.

None of the living was conscious when the Frenchmen

reached the Arrow's deck. Even the poor devil who had

waved the single despairing signal of distress had lapsed into

unconsciousness before he had learned whether it had availed

or not.

It did not take the French officer long to learn what had

caused the terrible condition aboard; for when water and

brandy were sought to restore the men, it was found that

there was none, nor even food of any description.

He immediately signalled to the cruiser to send water,

medicine, and provisions, and another boat made the perilous

trip to the Arrow.

When restoratives had been applied several of the men regained

consciousness, and then the whole story was told. That part of

it we know up to the sailing of the Arrow after the murder

of Snipes, and the burial of his body above the treasure chest.

It seems that the pursuit by the cruiser had so terrorized

the mutineers that they had continued out across the Atlantic

for several days after losing her; but on discovering the

meager supply of water and provisions aboard, they had

turned back toward the east.

With no one on board who understood navigation, discussions

soon arose as to their whereabouts; and as three days'

sailing to the east did not raise land, they bore off to the

north, fearing that the high north winds that had prevailed

had driven them south of the southern extremity of Africa.

They kept on a north-northeasterly course for two days,

when they were overtaken by a calm which lasted for nearly

a week. Their water was gone, and in another day they would

be without food.

Conditions changed rapidly from bad to worse. One man

went mad and leaped overboard. Soon another opened his

veins and drank his own blood.

When he died they threw him overboard also, though there

were those among them who wanted to keep the corpse on board.

Hunger was changing them from human beasts to wild beasts.

Two days before they had been picked up by the cruiser

they had become too weak to handle the vessel, and that

same day three men died. On the following morning it was

seen that one of the corpses had been partially devoured.

All that day the men lay glaring at each other like beasts

of prey, and the following morning two of the corpses lay

almost entirely stripped of flesh.

The men were but little stronger for their ghoulish repast,

for the want of water was by far the greatest agony with

which they had to contend. And then the cruiser had come.

When those who could had recovered, the entire story had

been told to the French commander; but the men were too

ignorant to be able to tell him at just what point on the coast

the professor and his party had been marooned, so the cruiser

had steamed slowly along within sight of land, firing occasional

signal guns and scanning every inch of the beach with glasses.

They had anchored by night so as not to neglect a particle

of the shore line, and it had happened that the preceding

night had brought them off the very beach where lay the

little camp they sought.

The signal guns of the afternoon before had not been

heard by those on shore, it was presumed, because they had

doubtless been in the thick of the jungle searching for Jane

Porter, where the noise of their own crashing through the

underbrush would have drowned the report of a far distant gun.

By the time the two parties had narrated their several

adventures, the cruiser's boat had returned with supplies

and arms for the expedition.

Within a few minutes the little body of sailors and the two

French officers, together with Professor Porter and Clayton,

set off upon their hopeless and ill-fated quest into the

untracked jungle.



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