CHAPTER IV: A PAWN OF PASSION
Tarzan landed, cat-like, on his feet in the bottom of the elephant pit, unscathed. Instantly he roused himself from the shock of falling and landing, shook himself like a wild-animal and looked about on guard.
He caught sight of Bobbie, lying unconscious where he had narrowly missed one of the murderous pointed stakes prepared for Tantor. Tarzan picked up Bobby in one arm and climbed out of the pit. He peered cautiously about, saw the natives had fled, then struck out into the jungle carrying the boy. A few moments later he staggered with his burden into the hut. Instinctively he began rubbing his head and hands to revive him.
In the village Black John full of anger and lust caught sight of Mary Trevor anxiously waiting for Bobby. "Say nothing to her of the b oy, her brother," he growled to the natives, as he strode over toward her cabin.
"Where's Bobby?" faltered Mary backing away from him.
"Never mind about the boy, now. I have other things to talk of with you!" H leaned closer toward her and she backed away as far as the wall would permit from his repulsive self. "I have long wanted to make you my mate. Now I am going to claim you, before the tribe."
"No! No!" She was horrified, filled with loathing. "Not yet!"
"Yes! Now! If you do not consent you will never see your brother again! I alone know where he is!"
Stunned, wide-eyed Mary stared as he turned abruptly and stamped out of the cabin. What should she do? She felt she could not hold out against him very long.
What a night it was! Bobby had not returned . Was he alive or dead? She could not get out of the cabin to give the bird call to summon Tarzan. She could not even search for Bobbie. And facing her was the nightmare of Black John and his imperious evil passion. Again and again she called upon heaven to return Bobby to her. If she only had Bobbie she might flee with him into the jungle -- anything was better than this living death.
"There's only one way to get your brother back!" Black John had heard her prayers and entered. Too broken and worn-out to resist she no longer could struggle when he put his arms about her. Black John took it as consent. "I will tell the Patriarch!" he decided gruffly. "We will hold the ceremony tonight!"
Mary made no sign. There was no hope now. Black John rose to go, leaving her crushed, with bowed head.
A few moments later he returned with the bearded Patriarch of the tribe and they began to arrange the wedding ceremonies in accordance with the tribal customs. Mary was dull and listless. Black John eyed her eagerly, covetously.
The day was worse than the night. She could not eat. She could not think She could not even cry. She was too beaten it seemed, almost, to fight.
Listless, hopeless, Mary listened all day to the preparations for the terrible farce that marked the supreme tragedy for her.
Nightfall witnessed the village a-glare with fires and flares. The tribe had assembled in a huge circle about the spot where the Patriarch sat by the central fire, leaving a huge cleared circle. Beside him sat Black John, the crafty and cunning.
Resistance was useless as Mary was led on from the cabin, a burly black native on either side of her. In the firelight her beautiful white skin and delicately formed limbs gleamed against the blackness of the night. Black John's eyes gloated as he rubbed his grimy hands in anticipation of possessing anything as lovely as this girl clad in her scant leopard-skin. In silence the tribesmen watched as she was led past them.
"Dance!" thundered the Patriarch.
"Dance!" prodded the two burly blacks.
Though she felt like fleeing into the night terror of the jungle and would have welcomed it if the earth had opened up and swallowed her, Mary started her dance. The tribe leaned forward in fascination. Black John bent his sinister eyes on her as she swept around before him, her masters-to-be.
Mary met his gaze, quickly dropped her eyes from his. She could not bear even to look upon the monster. Yet she dared not stop. What tortures or indignities might be in store for her from the fanatical followers of Black John once he spoke the word?
Round and round she danced as she had been instructed by the Patriarch. Never was a dance with more leaden, unwilling feet. Yet Mary could not have been ungraceful no matter how she tried.
She knew the sharp eyes of both Black John and the Patriarch were upon her. There was nothing but pain and death to be accomplished by refusing the dance. Then what would become of Bobby?
She ended the dance by throwing herself on the ground as Black John's feet in the so-called ancient tribal manner as she had been instructed. It was the outward sign that gave herself to him.
In crude, coarse triumph he looked at the lovely girl at his scrawny feet. Then he slowly rose until his bloated face and torso towered above her slight form.
"In accordance with our custom, this woman has chosen me!" He bellowed. "And I claim her before you all!" Black John moved forward a step or two in the center of the circle. "And, also, in accordance with our custom I will meet any of you in fair combat for her!"
Black John paused in boastful defiance and looked around the circle. Mary, too, now for the first time raised her head. She also looked around as if hoping someone even a burly black or a lascar, might offer himself to do battle for her.
None made a move to get up.
Mary was disappointed; Black John triumphant. With a cheaply regal flourish he leaned down and raised her up. Every womanly instinct in her revolted. She felt a cold shiver convulse her body at his mere touch.
What a hollow mockery was all the mummery. Hollow? It was only too real, this nuptial mass of the Devil.
Was she Black John's wife?
She felt herself swaying, going . . .
Tarzan is captured by the people of the Lost Village, but, tied to the stake, his call for aid brings Tantor, the mighty elephant, crashing through the stockade. The villagers flee and Tarzan breaks free, avoiding the spear of death hurled by Black John, who flees, taking little Bobby with him. Tarzan snatches the swooning Mary into his arms and rides away on Tantor. Black John returns to the village with little Bobbie, whom he imprisons in his hut. He threatens the terrified child with the lash and forces him to divulge the location of Tarzan's hut. A curious scene takes place between Mary and the primitive man at the hut. Through his hoarded books and pictures she concludes that he is the son of Lord Greystoke, soldier and explorer. Tarzan discovers his love for Mary. Night finds Tarzan swinging in the jungle defying them to take away his new found mate. He is unaware that Black John has crept up to his hut and surprised Mary. Black John threatens her with the death of Bobbie unless she returns to the village. Terrified for his safety Mary goes. Tarzan, who has spent the night under the stars, returns at dawn and finds Mary gone. Uttering his terrible challenge he makes for the village. Black John hurries to the hut where he has imprisoned Mary and Bobbie. He forces them into a room over a pit where a great lion is snarling.
TARZAN THE MIGHTY
FILM SERIAL SUMMARY
From Universal Weekly 1928
Chapter Four: The Lion's Leap
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