THE FRANK A MUNSEY COMPANY
175 FIFTH AVENUE
New York, Jan. 27, 1913
Mr. E.R. Burroughs
2008 Park Ave.,
My dear Burroughs:
I have given "The Ape Man" very careful consideration and I am very
much afraid that as it stands I cannot use it. This makes me feel very
bad, because of course I was very keen indeed, both for your sake, for
mine and for the sake of all those insistent readers who wanted a sequel
I fear, however, that the first 138 pages of the story are really quite
unnecessary. The incident in Paris, while good enough by itself, really
does not advance the story ot any extent, neither does the incident with
dancing girl and the Arabs. I do not see the exact necessity of your villain
Rockoff, nor Lord Tennington and Hazel Strong, or of more than one of the
various sailing parties of which you write. By this I do not mean the trips
on board the private yacht or the various times that various of your characters
are on the sea.
After Tarzan goes to Africa again the story picked up although it seems
to me that you have not really done yourself justice with Tarzan as king
of that tribe of Negroes. As a matter of fact, it strikes me that the attack
and pursuit of the marauding Arabs is rather tedious. There is not sufficient
variety there. Especially is that so considering that there has been a
good deal of fighting with the Arabs in the earlier part of the story.
I liked well enough your City of Riches which comes along later, although
I felt that perhaps it was not as highly original as other work of yours
and possibly it had a similarity of tone at least to some of your
Martian stuff. But that part of it, however, I am perfectly willing to
This whole story is not well balanced because you must realize as well
as I that you have no right to spend so many thousands of words getting
Tarzan to Africa and so few thousands of words keeping him there and getting
him out of the place. Also you spend a great many too many words in describing
the various ship wrecks and things of that sort and when you finally get
the various groups in Africa, you more or less ignore them and hustle them
along rather brutally. As a matter of fact, in several of the last chapters
the point of view and scene shift so continually that it is rather hard
to keep the interest.
I believe that you ought to start the story with a chapter that is somewhat
like your chapter 12. Then you have Tarzan, Clayton and Jane separate.
I should think it would be perfectly good to have Tarzan hit New York,
say for a night. In his lack of sophistication and in his grief, he might
really get on a terrific bender. Under the influence of liquor he might
muss up the place or something of that sort, but when the authorities looked
after him they were only too willing to deport him as an undesirable alien.
All this makes civilization extremely hateful to him.
He might be met by D'Arnot, at Havre, who argues with him regarding
his renunciation of Jane, and then supplies him with enough cash to find
his way back to Africa. D'Arnot might apparently dislike the idea of Tarzan
again reverting to savagery and Tarzan might, to ease his mind, agree not
to stay long in the jungle, but go seemingly after the treasure which he
might say he will bury in some place not very far from the original cabin.
A long time might go by and D'Arnot not hearing from Tarzan and believing
him very likely dead, might write to Jane or might with Jane and Clayton
charter a steamer, or something of that sort, and go after the treasure
themselves. In the meantime Tarzan has returned to savagery. Of course,
when Clayton, D'Arnot and Jane arrive again at the jungle they may have
certain adventures. Tarzan by this time is thoroughly a savage.
That is all I can think of just now. My particular point is, as I think
I said in a letter I wrote to you a while ago, that the interest in the
former story was in the jungle part of it and in the ingenuity that you
displayed. Of course in a story of this sort not so much ingenuity could
be shown, but you had a perfectly good motive before in describing Tarzan's
gradual rise toward civilization. I think you must have a motive in every
story, certainly you have not one here as it stands. It seems to me that
as good a motive as any would be Tarzan's attempt to become a savage again
after deciding that civilization was no good, and his final failure to
become an animal again.
It may be that you will find these suggestions of mine thoroughly unsatisfactory.
I don't think they are particularly brilliant myself. At the same time,
I believe they are nearer what is necessary than the exploits through which
you run your hero in the present novel. There is too much shift of scene,
too great a cast of characters and no direct motive, and after you have
played very hard with certain people you submerge them and never think
of them again.
Also 95,000 words are altogether too many for me. At the most, I really
cannot run more than 85,000. If you want to fix this thing up for me, and
you know I will only be too delighted if you will, I wish you would make
a point of not having it more than 80,000. I know you will appreciate how
regretful I am to have to return the manuscript and how hopeful I am that
you will fix it up so that I may not be disappointed.
Very truly yours,
Thomas Newell Metcalf (sig)
THE ALL STORY MAGAZINE
P.S. The manuscript is being returned to you by express prepaid.