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TARZAN of the Apes
by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Chapter 22

The Search Party

When dawn broke upon the little camp of Frenchmen in the

heart of the jungle it found a sad and disheartened group.

As soon as it was light enough to see their surroundings

Lieutenant Charpentier sent men in groups of three in several

directions to locate the trail, and in ten minutes it was found

and the expedition was hurrying back toward the beach.

It was slow work, for they bore the bodies of six dead

men, two more having succumbed during the night, and several

of those who were wounded required support to move

even very slowly.

Charpentier had decided to return to camp for reinforcements,

and then make an attempt to track down the natives

and rescue D'Arnot.

It was late in the afternoon when the exhausted men

reached the clearing by the beach, but for two of them the

return brought so great a happiness that all their suffering

and heartbreaking grief was forgotten on the instant.

As the little party emerged from the jungle the first person

that Professor Porter and Cecil Clayton saw was Jane, standing

by the cabin door.

With a little cry of joy and relief she ran forward to greet

them, throwing her arms about her father's neck and bursting

into tears for the first time since they had been cast upon

this hideous and adventurous shore.

Professor Porter strove manfully to suppress his own emotions,

but the strain upon his nerves and weakened vitality

were too much for him, and at length, burying his old face in

the girl's shoulder, he sobbed quietly like a tired child.

Jane led him toward the cabin, and the Frenchmen turned

toward the beach from which several of their fellows were

advancing to meet them.

Clayton, wishing to leave father and daughter alone, joined the

sailors and remained talking with the officers until their boat

pulled away toward the cruiser whither Lieutenant Charpentier

was bound to report the unhappy outcome of his adventure.

Then Clayton turned back slowly toward the cabin. His heart

was filled with happiness. The woman he loved was safe.

He wondered by what manner of miracle she had been

spared. To see her alive seemed almost unbelievable.

As he approached the cabin he saw Jane coming out.

When she saw him she hurried forward to meet him.

"Jane!" he cried, "God has been good to us, indeed. Tell

me how you escaped--what form Providence took to save

you for--us."

He had never before called her by her given name. Forty-eight

hours before it would have suffused Jane with a soft glow of

pleasure to have heard that name from Clayton's lips--now

it frightened her.

"Mr. Clayton," she said quietly, extending her hand, "first

let me thank you for your chivalrous loyalty to my dear father.

He has told me how noble and self-sacrificing you have

been. How can we repay you!"

Clayton noticed that she did not return his familiar salutation,

but he felt no misgivings on that score. She had been

through so much. This was no time to force his love upon

her, he quickly realized.

"I am already repaid," he said. "Just to see you and Professor

Porter both safe, well, and together again. I do not

think that I could much longer have endured the pathos of

his quiet and uncomplaining grief.

"It was the saddest experience of my life, Miss Porter; and

then, added to it, there was my own grief--the greatest I

have ever known. But his was so hopeless--his was pitiful. It

taught me that no love, not even that of a man for his wife

may be so deep and terrible and self-sacrificing as the love of

a father for his daughter."

The girl bowed her head. There was a question she wanted

to ask, but it seemed almost sacrilegious in the face of the

love of these two men and the terrible suffering they had

endured while she sat laughing and happy beside a godlike

creature of the forest, eating delicious fruits and looking

with eyes of love into answering eyes.

But love is a strange master, and human nature is still

stranger, so she asked her question.

"Where is the forest man who went to rescue you? Why

did he not return?"

"I do not understand," said Clayton. "Whom do you mean?"

"He who has saved each of us--who saved me from the gorilla."

"Oh," cried Clayton, in surprise. "It was he who rescued you?

You have not told me anything of your adventure, you know."

"But the wood man," she urged. "Have you not seen him?

When we heard the shots in the jungle, very faint and far

away, he left me. We had just reached the clearing, and he

hurried off in the direction of the fighting. I know he went

to aid you."

Her tone was almost pleading--her manner tense with suppressed

emotion. Clayton could not but notice it, and he wondered,

vaguely, why she was so deeply moved--so anxious to

know the whereabouts of this strange creature.

Yet a feeling of apprehension of some impending sorrow

haunted him, and in his breast, unknown to himself, was

implanted the first germ of jealousy and suspicion of the

ape-man, to whom he owed his life.

"We did not see him," he replied quietly. "He did not join

us." And then after a moment of thoughtful pause: "Possibly

he joined his own tribe--the men who attacked us." He did

not know why he had said it, for he did not believe it.

The girl looked at him wide eyed for a moment.

"No!" she exclaimed vehemently, much too vehemently he

thought. "It could not be. They were savages."

Clayton looked puzzled.

"He is a strange, half-savage creature of the jungle, Miss

Porter. We know nothing of him. He neither speaks nor

understands any European tongue--and his ornaments and

weapons are those of the West Coast savages."

Clayton was speaking rapidly.

"There are no other human beings than savages within

hundreds of miles, Miss Porter. He must belong to the tribes

which attacked us, or to some other equally savage--he may

even be a cannibal."

Jane blanched.

"I will not believe it," she half whispered. "It is not true.

You shall see," she said, addressing Clayton, "that he will

come back and that he will prove that you are wrong. You

do not know him as I do. I tell you that he is a gentleman."

Clayton was a generous and chivalrous man, but something

in the girl's breathless defense of the forest man stirred him

to unreasoning jealousy, so that for the instant he forgot all

that they owed to this wild demi-god, and he answered her

with a half sneer upon his lip.

"Possibly you are right, Miss Porter," he said, "but I do

not think that any of us need worry about our carrion-eating

acquaintance. The chances are that he is some half-demented

castaway who will forget us more quickly, but no more

surely, than we shall forget him. He is only a beast of

the jungle, Miss Porter."

The girl did not answer, but she felt her heart shrivel

within her.

She knew that Clayton spoke merely what he thought, and

for the first time she began to analyze the structure which

supported her newfound love, and to subject its object to a

critical examination.

Slowly she turned and walked back to the cabin. She tried

to imagine her wood-god by her side in the saloon of an

ocean liner. She saw him eating with his hands, tearing his

food like a beast of prey, and wiping his greasy fingers upon

his thighs. She shuddered.

She saw him as she introduced him to her friends--uncouth,

illiterate--a boor; and the girl winced.

She had reached her room now, and as she sat upon the

edge of her bed of ferns and grasses, with one hand resting

upon her rising and falling bosom, she felt the hard outlines

of the man's locket.

She drew it out, holding it in the palm of her hand for a

moment with tear-blurred eyes bent upon it. Then she raised

it to her lips, and crushing it there buried her face in

the soft ferns, sobbing.

"Beast?" she murmured. "Then God make me a beast; for,

man or beast, I am yours."

She did not see Clayton again that day. Esmeralda brought

her supper to her, and she sent word to her father that she

was suffering from the reaction following her adventure.

The next morning Clayton left early with the relief expedition

in search of Lieutenant D'Arnot. There were two hundred

armed men this time, with ten officers and two surgeons,

and provisions for a week.

They carried bedding and hammocks, the latter for transporting

their sick and wounded.

It was a determined and angry company--a punitive expedition

as well as one of relief. They reached the sight of the

skirmish of the previous expedition shortly after noon, for

they were now traveling a known trail and no time was lost

in exploring.

From there on the elephant-track led straight to Mbonga's

village. It was but two o'clock when the head of the column

halted upon the edge of the clearing.

Lieutenant Charpentier, who was in command, immediately

sent a portion of his force through the jungle to the opposite

side of the village. Another detachment was dispatched

to a point before the village gate, while he remained with the

balance upon the south side of the clearing.

It was arranged that the party which was to take its position

to the north, and which would be the last to gain its station

should commence the assault, and that their opening volley

should be the signal for a concerted rush from all sides in an

attempt to carry the village by storm at the first charge.

For half an hour the men with Lieutenant Charpentier

crouched in the dense foliage of the jungle, waiting the

signal. To them it seemed like hours. They could see natives in

the fields, and others moving in and out of the village gate.

At length the signal came--a sharp rattle of musketry, and

like one man, an answering volley tore from the jungle to the

west and to the south.

The natives in the field dropped their implements and

broke madly for the palisade. The French bullets mowed

them down, and the French sailors bounded over their

prostrate bodies straight for the village gate.

So sudden and unexpected the assault had been that the

whites reached the gates before the frightened natives could

bar them, and in another minute the village street was filled

with armed men fighting hand to hand in an inextricable tangle.

For a few moments the blacks held their ground within the

entrance to the street, but the revolvers, rifles and cutlasses

of the Frenchmen crumpled the native spearmen and struck

down the black archers with their bows halfdrawn.

Soon the battle turned to a wild rout, and then to a grim

massacre; for the French sailors had seen bits of D'Arnot's

uniform upon several of the black warriors who opposed them.

They spared the children and those of the women whom

they were not forced to kill in self-defense, but when at

length they stopped, parting, blood covered and sweating, it

was because there lived to oppose them no single warrior of

all the savage village of Mbonga.

Carefully they ransacked every hut and corner of the village,

but no sign of D'Arnot could they find. They questioned

the prisoners by signs, and finally one of the sailors who had

served in the French Congo found that he could make them

understand the bastard tongue that passes for language between

the whites and the more degraded tribes of the coast,

but even then they could learn nothing definite regarding the

fate of D'Arnot.

Only excited gestures and expressions of fear could they

obtain in response to their inquiries concerning their fellow;

and at last they became convinced that these were but evidences

of the guilt of these demons who had slaughtered and

eaten their comrade two nights before.

At length all hope left them, and they prepared to camp

for the night within the village. The prisoners were herded

into three huts where they were heavily guarded. Sentries

were posted at the barred gates, and finally the village was

wrapped in the silence of slumber, except for the wailing of

the native women for their dead.

The next morning they set out upon the return march.

Their original intention had been to burn the village, but

this idea was abandoned and the prisoners were left behind,

weeping and moaning, but with roofs to cover them and a

palisade for refuge from the beasts of the jungle.

Slowly the expedition retraced its steps of the preceding

day. Ten loaded hammocks retarded its pace. In eight of

them lay the more seriously wounded, while two swung beneath

the weight of the dead.

Clayton and Lieutenant Charpentier brought up the rear of

the column; the Englishman silent in respect for the other's

grief, for D'Arnot and Charpentier had been inseparable

friends since boyhood.

Clayton could not but realize that the Frenchman felt his

grief the more keenly because D'Arnot's sacrifice had been so

futile, since Jane had been rescued before D'Arnot had fallen

into the hands of the savages, and again because the service

in which he had lost his life had been outside his duty and

for strangers and aliens; but when he spoke of it to Lieutenant

Charpentier, the latter shook his head.

"No, Monsieur," he said, "D'Arnot would have chosen to

die thus. I only grieve that I could not have died for him, or

at least with him. I wish that you could have known him better,

Monsieur. He was indeed an officer and a gentleman--a

title conferred on many, but deserved by so few.

"He did not die futilely, for his death in the cause of a

strange American girl will make us, his comrades, face our

ends the more bravely, however they may come to us."

Clayton did not reply, but within him rose a new respect

for Frenchmen which remained undimmed ever after.

It was quite late when they reached the cabin by the beach.

A single shot before they emerged from the jungle had announced

to those in camp as well as on the ship that the expedition

had been too late--for it had been prearranged that

when they came within a mile or two of camp one shot was

to be fired to denote failure, or three for success, while two

would have indicated that they had found no sign of either

D'Arnot or his black captors.

So it was a solemn party that awaited their coming, and few

words were spoken as the dead and wounded men were tenderly

placed in boats and rowed silently toward the cruiser.

Clayton, exhausted from his five days of laborious marching

through the jungle and from the effects of his two battles

with the blacks, turned toward the cabin to seek a mouthful

of food and then the comparative ease of his bed of grasses

after two nights in the jungle.

By the cabin door stood Jane.

"The poor lieutenant?" she asked. "Did you find no trace

of him?"

"We were too late, Miss Porter," he replied sadly.

"Tell me. What had happened?" she asked.

"I cannot, Miss Porter, it is too horrible."

"You do not mean that they had tortured him?" she whispered.

"We do not know what they did to him BEFORE they killed

him," he answered, his face drawn with fatigue and the sorrow

he felt for poor D'Arnot and he emphasized the word before.

"BEFORE they killed him! What do you mean? They are

not--? They are not--?"

She was thinking of what Clayton had said of the forest

man's probable relationship to this tribe and she could not

frame the awful word.

"Yes, Miss Porter, they were--cannibals," he said, almost

bitterly, for to him too had suddenly come the thought of the

forest man, and the strange, unaccountable jealousy he had

felt two days before swept over him once more.

And then in sudden brutality that was as unlike Clayton as

courteous consideration is unlike an ape, he blurted out:

"When your forest god left you he was doubtless hurrying

to the feast."

He was sorry ere the words were spoken though he did not

know how cruelly they had cut the girl. His regret was for his

baseless disloyalty to one who had saved the lives of every

member of his party, and offered harm to none.

The girl's head went high.

"There could be but one suitable reply to your assertion,

Mr. Clayton," she said icily, "and I regret that I am not a

man, that I might make it." She turned quickly and entered

the cabin.

Clayton was an Englishman, so the girl had passed quite out

of sight before he deduced what reply a man would have made.

"Upon my word," he said ruefully, "she called me a liar.

And I fancy I jolly well deserved it," he added thoughtfully.

"Clayton, my boy, I know you are tired out and unstrung,

but that's no reason why you should make an ass of yourself.

You'd better go to bed."

But before he did so he called gently to Jane upon the opposite

side of the sailcloth partition, for he wished to apologize,

but he might as well have addressed the Sphinx. Then he wrote

upon a piece of paper and shoved it beneath the partition.

Jane saw the little note and ignored it, for she was very

angry and hurt and mortified, but--she was a woman, and so

eventually she picked it up and read it.


I had no reason to insinuate what I did. My only excuse is

that my nerves must be unstrung--which is no excuse at all.

Please try and think that I did not say it. I am very sorry. I

would not have hurt YOU, above all others in the world. Say

that you forgive me.


"He did think it or he never would have said it," reasoned

the girl, "but it cannot be true--oh, I know it is not true!"

One sentence in the letter frightened her: "I would not

have hurt YOU above all others in the world."

A week ago that sentence would have filled her with delight,

now it depressed her.

She wished she had never met Clayton. She was sorry that

she had ever seen the forest god. No, she was glad. And there

was that other note she had found in the grass before the

cabin the day after her return from the jungle, the love note

signed by Tarzan of the Apes.

Who could be this new suitor? If he were another of the

wild denizens of this terrible forest what might he not do to

claim her?

"Esmeralda! Wake up," she cried.

"You make me so irritable, sleeping there peacefully when

you know perfectly well that the world is filled with sorrow."

"Gaberelle!" screamed Esmeralda, sitting up. "What is it

now? A hipponocerous? Where is he, Miss Jane?"

"Nonsense, Esmeralda, there is nothing. Go back to sleep.

You are bad enough asleep, but you are infinitely worse awake."

"Yes honey, but what's the matter with you, precious? You

acts sort of disgranulated this evening."

"Oh, Esmeralda, I'm just plain ugly to-night," said the girl.

"Don't pay any attention to me--that's a dear."

"Yes, honey; now you go right to sleep. Your nerves are

all on edge. What with all these ripotamuses and man eating

geniuses that Mister Philander been telling about--Lord, it

ain't no wonder we all get nervous prosecution."

Jane crossed the little room, laughing, and kissing the

faithful woman, bid Esmeralda good night.



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