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Issue 0648

Edgar Rice Burroughs'
TARZAN ESCAPES
Summary of Original Movie Script
Whitman Big Little Book Version based on the original screenplay
that was filmed but later rejected as being too gruesome. The film was reshot.
No known prints of this first version exist.

click for larger image

See the ERBzine Silver Screen Feature on Tarzan Escapes at ERBzine 0618


 

Chapter One - The Jungle Calls

Far from civilization, in the heart of the African jungle, there flowed, amid dense, thick foliage, a wildly beautiful river. The twittering of the birds, the chattering of monkeys, the savage cry of a far off beast, none of these, it seemed, had ever known the bondage of Man.

But Man, in a giant canoe, was coming to invade the jungle paradise. The cousins, Eric and Rita Parker, traveled luxuriously for the tropics. Relaxed on cushions, the native paddlers pushed them along in comfort. A portable phonograph made merry music.

"Lemonade?" Rita poured the cold liquid from a thermos bottle.

"This is the way to do jungle traveling," Eric accepted the drink, wiping a moist forehead.

Rita shrugged in distaste.

"Thirty miles in two days! I'd prefer to fly."

"This would be a splendid spot for a forced landing." Eric pointed suddenly at the river. "Look, Rita!"

A bevy of huge crocodiles slid from their mud-basking shelves into the slime of the river edge.

Now a second canoe, heaped with baggage, came alongside. In the stern sheets, his clothes weather and travel-stained, a perturbed look on his grizzled face, the Skipper of the expedition shouted to them above the music.

"Miss Parker!" he called, an urgent, anxious note in his voice. "I beg of you. Don't play that phonograph here!"

"Why not?" Eric asked.

"This is hostile territory," warned the Skipper. "No use attracting attention."

Eric was inclined to listen to the older man's advice, but Rita laughed scornfully.

"Hostile territory! Put on another record, Eric. It's his job to make a dull country seem exciting, otherwise there wouldn't be jobs — "

A throb of drums interrupted her. In panic the natives began to paddle furiously. The drums grew closer.

Presently an arrow crashed into the music-box.

"Make for that island!" shouted the Skipper, and fell, a jagged spear in his shoulder.

Working in a frenzy of fear, the natives beached the canoes. Eric and Rita fired at the attacking savages. All of a sudden the drums stopped beating. It was quiet again.

"Well — something has finished them!" Rita looked bewildered and afraid.

"Keep a good look-out," Eric told the gun-bearer. Then he went to the aid of the wounded Skipper. Gently he bathed the man's forehead and was rewarded with some signs of life.

"Wish we'd taken your advice, Skipper," Eric said ruefully.

He held the canteen to the Skipper's lips, but rose suddenly as the drums began to beat again.

Around the bend in the river came a fleet of log rafts laden with shouting, gesticulating savages. The Skipper dragged himself forward.

"Bulu tribe!" he said, reaching with difficulty for a gun. "Hunting for humans for Ju-ju sacrifice."

"Well, here's one that won't hunt anymore!" and Rita fired.

Eric was hit by a stone. Dazed for a moment, he fell back, but then resumed fighting.

The situation seemed hopeless. The savage attackers, in a battle-heat of wild excitement, landed on the island.

Suddenly a burst of rifle fire from some unknown source sent immediate confusion in their ranks. Hurriedly they rushed to the river banks, fleeing in all directions.

"Well !" Eric looked at Rita in surprise, unable to understand the new state of affairs.

"Look!" Rita took his arm and pointed down the stream.

A white man and a giant native were approaching in a large canoe, and pumping lead into the fleeing Bulus.

The natives jumped in excitement and joy. Eric and Rita rushed from behind their improvised rampart to meet their deliverer.

"You certainly arrived in the nick of time," Eric greeted them.

The newcomer looked at Rita in amazement. "A white woman here!" he said.

"I came on my own responsibility," Rita smiled.

A native who had been attending the Skipper excitedly called, "Bwana! Bwana!"

Eric was the first to reach the Skipper. The old man stared fixedly at the newcomer.

"Fry " he gasped. "He is no — I know him you must — watch — "

The stranger dropped on one knee beside the still figure. Then he shook his head with finality.

"No use. He covered the dead man's face.

"Poor Skipper," mourned Eric, and then remembered the dead man's last words.

"He seemed to know you," Eric told their rescuer, "Said your name was Fry."

"It is Fry," admitted the man. "Major Fry."

"Who-brings-them-back-alive!" Rita cried. You hunt animals. "

"And you?" the major suggested.

"We're searching for our cousin Jane," Eric explained.

"Bwana!" Bomba, the big native pointed toward the jungle. "They will attack again. We must go — now."



Chapter Two - Major Fry's Expedition

Major Fry agreed with Bomba.

"The Bulus might be massing for an attack. I I believe we should make for my encampment
as soon as possible."

"Is it near here?" questioned Rita.

"Quite near. Up the river."

Major Fry led the way toward the canoe.

Arriving at the encampment, Rita and Eric looked about with lively interest. This was a temporary village, bordered on two sides by improvised, but strong cages in which panthers, bears, hyenas and jackals whined and snapped and raged at their captivity. A flat bottomed river steamer, moored alongside the river bank bore the words: "MAJOR FRY'S EXPEDITION."

As they approached the huts, the natives gathered about, all gaping at Rita.

Major Fry made excuses for the natives' rude staring.

"Many of them have never seen a white woman before," he said. They're recruited from the inland island tribes." Then he turned to Bomba. "Get them away!" he ordered.

As they made their way to Major Fry's quarters, a native overseer salaamed and delivered a long harangue.

"They've captured some sort of monkey," Major Fry explained. "The first we've seen within two hundred miles of here." The natives brought up a cage strung litter-wise to two poles, and the white people walked forward to inspect the monkey.

It was Cheetah, the chimpanzee friend of Tarzan of the Apes, but the big hunter turned away.

"Just a common garden variety," he said. "Wild and useless."

Kneeling beside the cage, Eric began to fondle Cheetah, stroking the monkey's head sympathetically. The terrified and bewildered little animal ceased its excited, piteous crying, and talked understandingly to the young man.

"Seems as though it might be used to human beings," Rita said thoughtfully.

"The tribes down the river have great stories about a race of almost human baboons," Major Fry spoke in disappointment. "I'd hoped this might be one of them. If you'll excuse me, I'll see about quarters for you."

Eric endeavored to express his thanks, but the hunter brushed his gratitude aside.

"You'd have done the same for me," he said, and left him.

Rita and Eric stood quietly, each with the same thought. Rita spoke.

"That night at the Colonial Club — they were discussing Fry. Nobody had a good word for him."

"No matter what we heard," Eric spoke pointedly. " If he hadn't come along we wouldn't be here."

That evening, Rita and Eric shoed Major Fry a photograph of a lovely girl leaning across a tennis net at a country house in England. She was Jane Parker, their cousin, who had deserted her fiancé to become the mate of Tarzan.

"Until she's proved dead or alive, Rita said, "we can whistle for our inheritance."

"Not a chance of her being alive," Major Fry spoke decisively.

Rita stood up suddenly, frightened.

"What was that noise?" she whispered.

"I don't know," the hunter spoke slowly. "But it sounded like a human cry."

Rita controlled her fears and brought the conversation back to her missing cousin, Jane.

"It is a fantastic story," she admitted, "but we have Holt's letters to prove it. Jane deserted him to become the mate of Tarzan. We know for certain Holt is dead."

Major Fry thoughtfully emptied his pipe.

"I told you about a great race of baboons. The same stories claim their leader is a white ape. I'm here to solve these rumors. If Tarzan does exist, I mean to capture him."

At that moment there came the piteous wail of Cheetah. Eric rose to his feet in solicitation.

"Probably mourning for her family," he said, reaching his fingers into the finger bowl. "I'll take her a piece or two."

"Nine o'clock." The hunter consulted his watch. "Late hours for the jungle. I hope you'll sleep soundly."

After comforting Cheetah, Eric turned into his hut. Soon after the "good nights" were spoken the whole camp seemed to settle down.

Through the darkness came a moving shadow, stopping first at Cheetah's cage.

Tarzan came to free his friends.

As he passed the lion's cage, the beast roared savagely. In an instance torches blazed. commands were shouted. Men dashed to their stations.

"What's happening?" Rita demanded fearfully, her rifle in readiness.

Major Fry began to examine the broken locks of his cages. So intent were they all, they did not see Tarzan, with Cheetah in his arms, stoop and pick up the photograph of Jane. Fleeting from shadow to shadow, he disappeared into the night.

Bomba had been carefully examining the ground with the aid of his torch.

"Bwana! Bwana!" he shouted in exultation as he discovered the trail Tarzan had taken.

The entire group, with torches flaring rushed to Bomba. They followed the trail till it finished suddenly in the compound.

"Couldn't have vanished into thin air," muttered the hunter.

Suddenly they noticed a vine swinging slowly a vine that led into a tree.

"Must be an ape to climb that." Eric spoke in puzzlement.

Away in the distance came the cry of Tarzan. Rita looked at the hunter in astonishment.

"Almost human," she said in awe.

"I make safari at daybreak," Major Fry clipped the words. "I'm going to get those apes — or — ," he stopped abruptly and asked in a less excited tone, "you, Miss Parker — and Mr. Parker — are you with me?"

The cousins looked at each other.

"We are," Rita spoke slowly.

 


Chapter Three - Tarzan Returns

Tarzan swung through the trees, Cheetah clinging to him in happiness and affection. The great white leader of the apes paused for a moment, and raised his voice in a triumphant call.

Immediately, in the distance, there came an answer.

This was Jane who awaited his safe return; Jane, the mate of Tarzan.

It was a clear night. The beauty of the sheltered place where Jane stood waiting and listening was plainly visible in the soft moonlight. Here the hills merged with the jungle near the Mutia Escarpment. Giant, carelessly strewn boulders, sparsely covered with vegetation, rose up from the tangled trees.

Again there came to her the exultant cry, this time nearer.

And again Jane raised her voice to answer. Happiness lending speed to her nimble feet, she clambered to the top of a large boulder.

"Timbee!" she called.

In answer there came a rumbling sound from the brush as a great ape made his way to her side.

"Timbee," Jane's arm went about the rough neck in affection. "He is coming."

The ape did not need to be told. His eyes had searched the jungle. Chattering and jabbering in joyful excitement, he awaited the return of Tarzan.

With Cheetah on his shoulder, swinging in breath-taking fashion through the trees, Tarzan approached.

In a rapid, graceful arc he swung out of the trees at the end of a long vine and landed at the foot of the boulder.

"Tarzan! Tarzan!" Jane cried in happy excitement.

With a leap Jane was off the boulder and in his arms.

"Oh, Tarzan!" she said, "I was worried. You were away so long — "

Now Cheetah began to chatter for Jane's appreciation.

"Cheetah all right too," Tarzan said, calling attention to the second member of the little returning party.

"Ah, Cheetah!" Jane caressed her. "I mustn't neglect you."

Tarzan pointed a place among the trees, one of their favorite resting spots.

"We — go there," he suggested.

Safe and comfortable in the tree, Jane smilingly scolded Cheetah.

"Bad girl, running away, and causing us to worry."

Cheetah was in no mood to be reproved, however lightly. She leaped among the branches of the tree and then to the ground.

"Cheetah no hide no run away," Tarzan explained. "People take Cheetah — bad people."

Jane looked in astonishment. "People?" she repeated the words.

Little Cheetah seemed to tremble. In contrition Jane clambered down to the ground and again caressed her. Tarzan came to her side. Jane turned to him suddenly.

"People?" she said again. "Bad people, Tarzan?"

"Bad people," he repeated. Then a serious look came into his face, and he added, "with guns."

Jane looked searchingly into his face.

"Guns!" Jane said the word in deep realization. "Guns! Oh! Tarzan you might have been..."

She finished by holding his hand tenderly, fearfully.

Tarzan gathered her into his arms.


Chapter Four - Jane's Photograph

For a moment Jane forgot her fears as she realized the great strength of Tarzan, both as a man and as the leader of the great apes. But then there came to her another thought.

"Tarzan! Guns!" She looked into his face deeply interested. "That means white men!"

"Yes," he nodded his head slowly. "Two men — one white woman."

"A woman!" Jane could hardly believe it. "Same as me?"

"No one same as Jane," and Tarzan held her fondly.

"You're a dear," Jane whispered. "But I don't understand "

Gently Tarzan released her and fumbled about in a knapsack of leaves and bark till he found what he sought. This was the photograph of Jane which he had picked up in Major Fry's encampment. With great pride he presented it to Jane.

"Present — for — Jane," he spoke ceremoniously and extended the picture.

Jane took it hesitantly, but then gave a cry of excitement.

"Where did you get this?" she questioned fervently.

"From people."

"They must be — my people."

Jane studied the picture. Timbee, wondering what caused her great interest, came to investigate. Little Cheetah crowded in also for a better sight.

Tarzan pointed an identifying finger at the photograph.

"Jane," he spoke positively.

"Yes, Tarzan," she agreed. But it was as though she were speaking to herself rather than to him.

"It's Jane — but a different Jane then."

Gravely she looked at the picture.

"It seems such a long time ago "

Her eyes looked into the past and Tarzan sensed that she was sad.

"Jane — not — happy?" he asked.

"Or course, I'm happy." Jane turned to him with a reassuring smile and Cheetah took advantage of the moment and in a flash she pirated the photograph from Jane's hand. The little chimpanzee walked away with her prize, but soon Timbee followed and plucked it from her grasp. Cheetah chattered in protest but Timbee brushed her away and favored the picture with a minute inspection, even smelling it.

"Timbee!" Jane called commandingly. "Give me my photograph."

"Timbee!" Tarzan spoke quietly.

Again Jane was examining her picture, Timbee and Cheetah alongside.

"It used to belong in my uncle's home," she explained. Tell me about those people, Tarzan."

"Same — other — people," Tarzan said patiently, and took her hand. "Come — we go home."

"Tarzan," Jane spoke persuasively, "I want to see them. They might be my people.

Please Tarzan just this once."

But Tarzan seemed immovable.

"Other people no good. Guns! No good! No good!"

But Jane made her appeal again, this time gently. "Please — "

"No." Tarzan looked away, but he spoke with less conviction.

"Please — " Jane said again. "I want to see them."

Tarzan thought of the white men and the white woman. He thought of the guns and the long line of cages, each with its animal prisoner. In his heart there was a strange fear, a premonition that disaster awaited him and Jane and his jungle friends at the hands of these white people. But he could not refuse Jane's pleading.

He smiled down upon her.

"We — go — see people," he granted her wish.

Then he summoned Cheetah and Timbee.

"Un-gow-wah!" he commanded. "We — go — home."

They swung easily through the trees.


Chapter Five - The Killing of Nimba

True to his promise, Tarzan led Jane among the tree tops until they were directly over the trail of the approaching safari. Rita traveled at the side of Major Fry, followed closely by Eric. Bomba and his fellow hunters drove the sweating native carriers into keeping up a jog-walk. The white people were hot in pursuit of Tarzan.

And Tarzan watched their coming from the tree tops. At his side, Jane strained her eyes to discover the identity of the newcomers.

"Long way," Tarzan pointed. "Jane — rest."

"I don't need to rest," she protested. " I want to watch."

"Jane rest," Tarzan insisted. "Nothing — watch — now."

Reluctantly Jane seated herself in the tree while Tarzan kept the look-out.

"Are they coming this way?" Jane asked eagerly.

"This — way," Tarzan pointed.

On and on the relentless whips of Bomba and his hunters drove the natives who staggered under their heavy loads.

Gradually they came to the end of the jungle and began the ascent of the Mutia Escarpment.

Overhead Tarzan and Jane watched the safari. Ahead of them the three white people looked up at a huge plateau-capped mountain. On each face was an expression of awe and wonder.

"The Mutia Escarpment," Major Fry put a world of meaning into the words.

"We heard it didn't exist " Eric began but Rita interrupted him with a shudder.

"It looks as though it were haunted," she shivered.

"It is." Major Fry smiled faintly as they turned to him in surprise. "At least so the natives say. They also say that is where the giant apes live. We'll find out." He plunged his long stick into the ground and called, "Bomba!"

"Yes, Bwana."

"We make camp here." Then he turned to Rita and Eric. "This is where we'll set our trap."

Gratefully the carriers let their packs fall to the earth. Bomba shouted commands for the preparation of the camp. From the surrounding jungle, wood was procured for tent pole rests and for the fires.

"I'm going to kook about," Rita announced and walked away toward a nearby stream.

In the tree, Jane came closer to Tarzan and whispered.

"Can't we go closer? I can't see well from this distance."

"Go — close — soon." Tarzan restrained her. "Wait."

A faint cat-like meowing in the dense foliage attracted Rita's attention. She walked in the direction of the sound and discovered a small lion cub. She lifted the protesting animal, but a sound above her head distracted her fondling of the cub.

Nimba, Tarzan's ape friend, was perched on the branch over her head. He reached down a friendly paw to pat Rita's shoulder.

"Help!" she cried out. "Eric! Major Fry! Help!"

There was a sudden rifle shot and Nimba dropped lifeless, to the ground, an example of Major Fry's excellent marksmanship.

Tarzan and Jane swept through the trees. Now it was Jane who pleaded restraint.

"No, Tarzan, no" she begged, holding the vine to delay his descent.

Now Tarzan and Jane were directly over the spot where Nimba lay, huddled in death posture. At that moment Major Fry and Eric arrived on the scene, guns in hand, to examine the dead beast.

Tarzan's face was terrible to behold. Jane read the fury blazing in his eyes and screamed as his hand flew to his knife.

"No, Tarzan, no!" she screamed.

But her cry was of no use. With a snarl, more animal than human, he suddenly swung swiftly down the vine.

Eric was examining the corpse of Nimba.

Looks like it might be a ferocious beast," he said to Major Fry. "We are doubly grateful. You saved Rita's life that time."

His speech was rudely interrupted as a mighty form hurtled out of the trees onto his shoulders, knocking him to the ground.

Major Fry and Rita were too astounded for speech or movement. Jane, still in the tree, found her voice and screamed again, " Tarzan! No!."

Tarzan straddled the struggling Eric and reached back for his knife. At the same time Major Fry raised his gun to shoot the Ape Leader.

Both the knife and the gun were held from their intent as Jane, with a great cry, swung herself down the vine, much after the manner of Tarzan himself.

Flinging herself upon Major Fry's shoulders, his gun clattered out of his hand. A dozen natives, seeing their leader attacked, rushed at Tarzan. With a roar he arose, ready for battle, but Jane leaped to her feet and flung her arms about him.

"No, Tarzan! No! No! No!" she cried, restraining him with effort.

Eric stared in amazement. "Jane!" he gasped.

Tarzan, fighting mad, his eyes glaring, was prepared to meet the entire safari. He scarcely took notice of Jane's presence. But Jane tried with all her will to penetrate and soothe his anger.

"NO!" she remonstrated. "No, Tarzan! No! No!"

At last it seemed as though Jane had won. The wild, bloodlusting light had subdued itself in Tarzan's eyes. He looked at Jane as though he were seeing her for the first time.

"Jane " he spoke her name numbly.

Jane was quick to take advantage of her opportunity.

"Tarzan," she shook his arm to make him understand. "Friends. These people are my people. Our people."

But the Ape Leader's glance had strayed to the body of Nimba, and again the wild light gleamed in his face.

Major Fry made a movement with his gun. His action did not escape Jane. She pointed to the lifeless Nimba.

"No need for your gun," she said scornfully. "He just misunderstands. You see — Jane's voice choked. She, too, called the ape her friend. "You see," she repeated, "you've killed a friend of his — a friend of ours!"


 

Chapter Six - Cousins

Jane looked fixedly at Major Fry, and under her level gaze, he relaxed his gun-hold.

"Sorry," he murmured, "to have killed — a friend."

Jane made an instant decision: she did not like, did not trust Major Fry. Looking away from him, her gazed rested upon the "white woman," and she gave a cry of recognition.

"Why — Rita!"

"No one else but " Rita remarked with no great show of affection.

But Eric in no way concealed his delight. Taking Jane by the shoulders he beamed into her face, ready to embrace her.

"Jane dear," he spoke warmly, "It's wonderful to find you. That's the reason we're here, you know."

With a frown, Tarzan struck Eric's arms away.

Very emphatically Tarzan said but one word.

"No!"

"Oh, it's all right, Tarzan," Jane explained, smiling. "he's my cousin family understand? My family your family, too. Eric, this is Tarzan. Shake hands, Tarzan. You must be friends."

Although still frowning, Tarzan awkwardly extended his hand and went through the friendly gesture. Jane continued introductions.

"And this is Rita."

The unconventional circumstances in no way hindered Rita. Gracefully she stepped forward and smiled up at Tarzan, who returned her look with one of frank inspection.

"Woman," Tarzan said gravely.

"Yes," Rita smiled engagingly. "Rita."

In a subtle manner her smile was flattery and Tarzan's frown cleared for the first time. He smiled back at Rita.

Jane turned to introduce Major Fry, and realized she did not know his name.

"Oh, excuse me, Jane," Eric said, "This is Major Fry."

Jane acknowledged with a nod and the Major extended his hand to Tarzan.

Gravely Tarzan looked at Major Fry. Instinctively he knew this was no friend.

Although the man's hand was extended, his smile was one of genial condescension bestowed upon an idiot or freak.

Tarzan shook his head. "No like," he told Jane.

There was an awkward moment. Rigidly Major Fry held out his hand, the smile stiffening on his lips.

"Tarzan," Jane begged softly.

To please her Tarzan took the Major's hand.

Suddenly, one of the natives who had been stationed in a tree cried out in frantic pain. An arrow had struck him, and he crashed down through the tree with a sickening thud. Fry swung his rifle, ready to shoot, but there was nothing in sight.

The natives murmured in fear.

Tarzan knelt to examine the dead man.

"Poison," he said, pointing to the death-dealing arrow.

Bomba now came close to the stricken native. With a look of horror, he recognized the arrow.

"Gabonis!" he said in great fear.

"Look!" Rita screamed in sudden fright. "Look — there!"

From the jungle came the beating of drums, the death music that preceded the Gaboni attacks. Shoulder to shoulder, their faces painted in white streaks, their spears uplifted to throw, the Gaboni warriors advanced.

 


 Chapter Seven - The Savage Gabonis

From all sides appeared the savage Gabonis, their shields forming a strange wall before them.

"We are trapped like animals!" Rita cried, clinging to Eric.

And indeed they seemed to be entirely surrounded, an ironical twist of fate, trapped in the place where they had intended to trap!

The native carriers, crouched about the white people, frightened beyond description. Bomba, no longer the strong whip-handler, rolled his eyes in fear.

"It is hopeless, Bwana?" he made his words a plea for some deliverance.

But even Major Fry, despite his usual mastery of any situation, was nonplused now.

It was Jane who took command. She pointed to the rocks, about fifty feet away.

"The only hope is behind those rocks," she cried. "Let's make a run for them."

She was about to lead the dash for the rocks, but Tarzan interceded. Reaching up into a branch, he held out his hand, signifying they would take refuge in the trees.

"We go, Jane," Tarzan said commandingly. "Lead Gabonis — away."

A Gaboni witch doctor, horrible to behold, emerged from the ranks of his warriors and raised his voice in a menacing sing-song.

"Tarzan is right," Jane cried to the others. "We will go into the trees and try to draw the Gabonis away from you. Quick, run for the rocks!"

Major Fry led the dash towards the sheltering rock. A shower of spears flooded the party. Now the Gabonis used the dreaded blowpipe which sent poisoned darts into the victim.

"Go up, Jane!" Tarzan commanded. And Jane swung up into a tree, watching fearfully as Tarzan sought to distract the savages from behind the rocks.

Three natives fell down, screaming in their death agony. Major Fry, Eric and Bomba guarded the flanks of the safari party, pumping lead as they huddled behind the partial cover.

Disregarding the spears and the poisoned darts, Tarzan advanced toward the witch doctor, making his famous cry. Astonished, the savages looked upon this great white man and then directed all their frenzy at him.

Tarzan leaped into a tree, the Gabonis in hot pursuit. The Gabonis used all their methods of horrible attack. They hurled spears, arrows and darts, screaming hideously.

"Tarzan!" Jane screamed a warning.

Tarzan paid no attention. Rashly imprudent, he jabbered abusively at the savages, miraculously avoiding death.

Jane jumped upon the branch at his side.

"Tarzan!" she clutched at him. "Come up in the tree. You'll be killed. The others are safe now "

Tarzan looked at Jane and seemed to sense his danger for the first time.

Now the Gabonis divided their attention, returning to menace the group huddled behind the rocks. Fresh hordes of savages were approaching to add new terror. The odds seemed hopelessly against them.

Then Tarzan raised his head and gave the call.

A swarm of giant apes swung through the trees. Timbee, in the lead, leaped down at Tarzan's side.

The giant apes came swinging and jumping through the trees, screaming their anger with guttural ferocity.

Directly below Tarzan stood the witch doctor. When he beheld the great, powerful

Timbee take his stand beside Tarzan and Jane, he stood shaking in superstitious fear. Seizing his opportunity, Tarzan jumped lower and using the heavy vine, grappled the savage about the neck with a fierce sudden thrust. With a howl, he toppled over, dead.

The death of the witch doctor, and the swarm of giant apes who leaped upon them flinging them aside like toys, frightened the Gabonis into flight.

Tarzan followed to the river banks and threw his spear at the retreating horde.

"Tarzan," Jane hurried to his side. "Come away. They may return to attack us again."

But for the moment the savages were in retreat. Swimming away, they made for their boats, and disappeared.

Tarzan and Jane returned to the depleted safari. Strewn about lay the bodies of the natives who had fallen in the attack. Eric and Major Fry supported the lifeless figure of Rita.

Far off the drums began to beat again.

"Oh, Tarzan!" Jane cried. "They will return. We must hurry and get Rita away from here!" The battle, but not the danger, was over.

 

Chapter Eight - The Poisoned Arrow

Jane sped to the rocks where Eric now held the unconscious form of Rita.

"How is she?" Jane asked huskily.

Eric shook his head. Slowly he handed Jane the arrow which had struck his cousin in the shoulder.

"Horrible looking, isn't it?" Eric spoke with an effort. "Why couldn't the thing have hit me?"

"Poisoned arrow," Jane held it carefully in her fingers. "But we have medicine for it up in the escarpment if we can reach it in time."

Tarzan had come near, listening to her last words. Now Jane turned to him pleadingly, and gave him the arrow.

"Poison," Tarzan agreed.

"We will hurry, won't we, Tarzan?" Jane asked a question but it was more of a piteous request.

Major Fry had been walking about making a survey of the damage that had been done to his men, and, in general, getting the lay of the land.

Again there sounded the beating of the drums. Major Fry looked into the distance, and then to the unconscious Rita.

"If I know anything about these Gabonis, they'll attack us again soon," he spoke as though hope were unbelievable.

But Jane knew better. Mutely beseeching, she looked at Tarzan, begging wordlessly that he give refuge to the safari party. Tarzan understood perfectly her silent request, but he was reluctant to take these intruders into his domain. He looked at Major Fry in distaste, but then his gaze fell upon Rita, and, suddenly he made up his mind.

"We go — hurry," he commanded.

Jane knew what this decision cost. She stood before Tarzan and spoke directly to Major Fry.

"Tarzan will lead you up the escarpment," she said slowly. "No intruder has been there before. You will all follow. You will all do as Tarzan commands."

"I say," Eric looked admiringly grateful, "that's mighty fine of you."

Tarzan nodded and smiled.

The great apes had been awaiting word from their leader and now Tarzan shouted a command to them.

Then, gently, he lifted Rita in his arms. Carrying her over his shoulder, he took Jane's hand and strode off.

"Follow us!" Jane called.

And they all followed, Major Fry and Eric, then Bomba. The more fortunate natives supported their wounded fellows. It was a weird procession, flanked on all sides by the giant apes.

As they moved on toward the escarpment, the drums began a louder beating. The Gabonis were not far off, and evidently massing again.

"Look!" Eric pointed into the foliage.

"Coming back to begin where they left off," Major Fry spoke dryly.

"They won't if Tarzan can help it," said Jane decidedly.

There came a shower of spears. Like a flash Tarzan shouted a command to the apes. Screaming and chattering they tore into the foliage, and forced the savages into a second retreat.

"Why— " Eric spoke in awe, "I never knew such a thing could be! The way they obey him!"

Despite the danger of the situation, Jane looked at her cousin with a twinkle in her eye, which said plainly, "Do you blame me?"

Major Fry looked upon Tarzan with a new respect. But it was not the admiration one man bestows upon the courage of another. Rather, the man who brought-them-back-alive looked upon a prized specimen for his expedition.

Tarzan, with his human burden, led the way, climbing up the side he escarpment. In the distance the drums beat softly, and the sound spurred them on and on up the rugged incline.


 
 

Chapter Nine - Peril on the Plateau

As Tarzan and Jane led the broken safari up the side of the escarpment, the great apes were called upon to do more than merely guard the members of Major Fry's expedition.

Many had suffered wounds at the hands of the Gabonis, and those wounded ones, Tarzan ordered, should be carried up the steep incline.

At first the natives were startled and afraid to receive the assistance of Tarzan's followers, but they came, in time, to realize these were their deliverers.

The upward journey was not without tragedy. A great ape, with a poisoned arrow in his shoulder, toiled on, carrying a wounded safari boy.

Major Fry and Eric had been watching this display of courage and endurance. Now, as the great ape reached for a jagged rock, the deadly poison fulfilled its mission; the ape fumbled, losing ground.

"Look out!" Eric cried to the ape, much as he would to one of the safari. "Look out, there!" Eric screamed a warning.

But, with a groan, the ape plunged down, bearing his human burden with him to a crushing death below.

Eric paused a moment in horror. Then there came again, but farther away this time, the beating drums of the Gabonis.

"Move on!" Major Fry told him curtly.

They resumed the torturous journey upward, the apes, like a swarm of bees, guiding the safari up the precipitous incline.

Tarzan, with Rita over his shoulder, and Jane at his side, now approached an overhanging boulder over which he must climb to reach the top of the escarpment.

On top of the plateau, silhouetted against the sky, stood a lion, rigid with the scent of the oncoming safari. Tarzan, directly underneath the boulder, carefully and slowly groping his way upward, was completely unconscious of this fresh peril.

Suspiciously the lion sniffed the air. And, at this moment, Tarzan and Jane came over the edge, to discover the terror that awaited them.

"Tarzan!" Jane cried in horrified fear.

Pausing on the ledge, Tarzan made a lightning decision. Quickly he rolled Rita over his shoulder and onto the ground before him, shouting to the apes to lift her to safety below the plateau.

"Oh, Tarzan!" Jane cried out.

"Come!" he commanded, dragging her with one hand as he reached for his dagger with another. Nimbly they leaped into the branches of a tree.

Now another lion appeared below them. Tarzan, raising his knife, lustily shouted his battle cry, and followed this immediately with the call he used in distress.

The lions, puzzled and bewildered, backed away for the moment.

Below the ledge, Major Fry and Eric now held the unconscious Rita. As yet they had no realization of the terror which Tarzan and Jane faced on top of their plateau.

"Back!" Tarzan told Jane. "Go up!"

Reluctantly she obeyed, climbing farther in the tree. Tarzan repeated his distress call, and with good cause.

From the rocks and shrubbery there emerged more lions, a snarling, menacing pack, hungry and ready to attack.

Tarzan crouched in the tree, his knife ready, awaiting an answer to his call, and hoping to keep the attention of the lions.

Now the lions were growing bolder, Jane gazed down in terror, imploring Tarzan to climb up in the tree. But Tarzan had promised to befriend the safari and lead them safely to the escarpment, and so, he kept his place, boldly slashing at the foremost beast.

Timbee, the mighty ape, had been close behind Tarzan. Now, by some miracle he appeared at Tarzan's side.

Against the snarling, savage lions, Timbee could not hope to battle equally. But he held the side of his leader, ready and willing to give his life in the defense of Tarzan.

Again, loudly and lustily, Tarzan gave his distress call.

In answer came a welcome sound.

"Tarzan!" Jane cried in great and happy relief. "The elephants are coming."

The trumpeting grew nearer. Then the elephants came crashing through the nearby foliage, and stampeded into the lions. There ensued a terrific clamor, as the lions twisted around to fight the new adversaries.

Fiercely the lions leaped upon the elephants, only to be dashed to the ground and trampled. Soon the triumphant elephants had them scampering off to safety.

"My — friend!" Tarzan mounted Tantor, the great leader of the herd, who stood happily complacent over the victory.

Major Fry and Eric now drew near, assisting Rita. Immediately Jane rushed to the wounded girl. Rita slowly opened her eyes.

"You'll be all right," Jane told her. "Just be quiet. Soon we'll reach the escarpment."

Rita raised herself and cried out suddenly.

"Jane, isn't that — an elephant?"

Jane looked over to where Tarzan was asking a favor of his friend, Tantor.

"Yes," Jane explained. "That's Tantor. He saved our lives. And — I believe he will again."

Tarzan had asked that Tantor and his herd carry the safari to the escarpment, for it was impossible for them to venture on foot. Tantor had consented. Now Tarzan mounted Tantor and called to Jane.

"Come," he commanded. "Jane, we go!"

With Eric's help, Rita arose and Tarzan smiled down as she cautiously approached Tantor, placing her hand on his trunk. There was an unwilling admiration in the eyes of Major Fry. A man who can command a herd of elephants!

"We go," Tarzan said again.

Eric and Major Fry assisted Rita up. The entire safari followed suit.

Tarzan gave an order to Tantor, pointing the direction.

"Go — home," he said magnificently. And the herd of elephants moved towards the jungle, each carrying a rider.


 

Chapter Ten - Jane's Warning

The morning sun arose to flood a peaceful scene after the terrors which the ascent of the escarpment had brought. Tarzan had made good his promise. Tantor and his herd had carried the safari to the safety of the ape leader's home.

It was Jane's home, too, and she was wholeheartedly joyous to be back again. Perched in a sheltered place in a tree, her eyes wandered contentedly over the canyon which dropped away to a mountain river far below. On the other side of the canyon was cave, comfortable with skins, and decorated with ivory pieces.

Jane sighed in happiness. A tiny bird fluttered out of its nest. Jane whistled and the bird came to her, lighting on her outstretched finger.

Unobserved, Tarzan watched her, smilingly.

"Good morning, Mr. Bird," Jane told the songster, "And how are all the little birds this morning? Did you miss me while I was away?"

The bird chirped understandingly. Jane raised the bird to her mouth. With a chirp, he pecked at her lips in caress.

Tarzan's heart overflowed with love and appreciation. He emerged from his place of hiding.

"Jane — beautiful," he said suddenly, startling her.

"Oh, — Tarzan!" Jane released the loving bird and moved to give Tarzan a place beside her.

"Jane— beautiful," Tarzan said again. "No one — same — as Jane."

"No one same as Tarzan," Jane smiled back. "It's good to be back home."

"Good," Tarzan agreed.

Tarzan sat quietly happy a moment, then his thoughts became troubled and the smile left his face for a look of worried foreboding.

"Jane — call this— home?" he asked slowly.

"Why— of course," she heartily agreed. "Always, Tarzan."

He sighed in deep contentment. Jane was deep in thought a moment, then she spoke suddenly.

"It's strange, how I've changed. I didn't realize it — till they came."

Her gaze wandered to the cave where Rita lay, comfortably relaxed after Tarzan's ministrations; where Major Fry and Eric were working at a rifle lock.

"Jane — not changed," Tarzan stoutly contradicted.

"Not to you, Tarzan. But, this morning, when I'd gathered the fruit, I swung across the vine over the canyon— and— Eric seemed astounded. He said, 'You never did anything like that in London.'"

"Jane— go— London?"

"No. Jane stay." She reached for his hand. "I have all the fortune I want — right here, Tarzan."

In the cave entrance Eric watched Major Fry as he worked on the lock of his rifle.

"Wish I'd hung on to mine," Eric said gloomily.

"Without a rifle, a man in the jungle is — " Major Fry paused. "Well, he just hasn't a chance."

"Tarzan seems to do all right," Eric volunteered.

"Tarzan?" Major Fry paused. "But I said man," he finished ominously.

Eric looked at him queerly.

"I mean — of course, the average man," he added.

Now Jane drew near and asked cheerfully, "How is the patient this morning?"

Going into the cave without awaiting an answer she found Rita.

"You'll be fit as a fiddle by noon, Rita. Tarzan doctored you last night with a medicine he makes from plants."

Major Fry and Eric came into the cave.

"I want to warn you of something." Jane looked directly at the hunter. "You captured some of our animals.

Animals are Tarzan's friends — he would kill to protect them. Be careful, won't you?"

"Of course," Major Fry bowed with elaborate courtesy.

At that moment there came Tarzan's call.

"We planned to swim," Jane said eagerly. "Tarzan's waiting for me."

"I'd like to swim, too," Eric put in. "Where do we go?"

Mischievously Jane pointed over the ledge.

 A tremendous splash claimed their attention. Tarzan had dived into the pool and was now swimming powerfully to its center where a fawn was at the point of drowning.

"See?" Jane pointed for the hunter's attention. "One of his animal friends is in danger." She looked levelly at the man. "Tarzan protects his friends."

"So you said before, Miss Parker." Major Fry spoke with cool courtesy. "I shall remember."

"Look!" Eric pointed down into the pool. "He has the little chap now. I say, that fellow can swim!"

Tarzan's little friend was safe. Carefully he lifted the trembling animal to the safety of the shore. Then, leaping back into the water, he called Jane to follow.

"In you go, lazy bones!" Jane cried, and suddenly gave Eric a shove. Losing his balance, he fell into the pool and Jane dived after him. Then began a merry game of chase in the water, the three laughed and splashed like children.

Major Fry supported Rita, and together they looked down on the swimmers.

"You really shouldn't be up, you know," the hunter said chidingly.

"Oh, the sun will do me good," Rita watched Tarzan intently. "He has a magnificent physique, hasn't he?"

"I heard somewhere," the Major said gently, "the body of a giant goes with the mind of a child. I was wondering if it applied in this case."

"So was I," said Rita, and a smile of understanding passed between them.

Unmindful of the conspirators, Tarzan, Jane and Eric now emerged, Eric going to the cave for a change of clothing. But Tarzan and Jane, up in their favored spot, let the sun dry them out.

At their feet the monkey tribe chattered and cavorted playfully. Countless birds fluttered about, their melodious twitterings filling the air with happiness. At one end of the pool, the elephants wallowed and spouted water from their trunks.

Tarzan looked down at Jane with deep contentment. She smiled back at him.

"Tarzan, no fortune could ever buy happiness like this."

 

Chapter Eleven - Cheetah Misbehaves

Together Tarzan and Jane looked upon the happiness and peace surrounding their home.

Suddenly there was a slight disturbance among the monkeys. It was Cheetah, who chattered, demanding their attention.

"She's just showing off," Jane smiled. "She's a little mischief. Some day she'll get herself into trouble."

"Cheetah!" Tarzan spoke sternly.

But the little chimpanzee paid no attention. In and out among the monkeys she raced, bumping rudely into another monkey who was busily engaged in nursing her baby.

"Cheetah!" Jane called reprovingly. "Shame on you. Come up here with us and be a good girl."

But Cheetah gamboled in all directions, behaving with all the self-conscious privilege of a court favorite.

The mischief-making was customary with Cheetah. But now, for some reason, Jane was worried.

"I'm going down and talk to her as long as she won't come up," Jane decided and clambered down to have a word with the little chimpanzee.

Cheetah, however, had other plans. Just when she seemed to be in reach of Jane's arms. she gave a sudden leap, eluding her pursuer.

"Stop, Cheetah," Jane tried to win her with gentle words. "This isn't a game, Cheetah. I want to talk with you."

But Cheetah raced ahead, in and out of the trees.

Finally the race led them to a portion of the pool which was not safe for swimming.

Here, in the mud, the great crocodiles basked by the score, Jane screamed a warning, but Cheetah, reckless with the chase, made straight for the pool, and was suddenly out of sight.

"Tarzan!" Jane cried for help. "Tarzan, hurry!"

Tarzan lifted his spear, and sprang out of the tree in answer to her call.

"Oh, Tarzan!" Jane wept as he came to the edge of the pool. "I can't find Cheetah anywhere. I think she must have fallen. "

A huge ugly head reared its head out of the water. But there was no sign of the little chimpanzee.

"Cheetah fall in?" Tarzan questioned unbelievingly.

"I don't know!" Jane cried. "But she isn't anywhere in sight."

The crocodile came closer. Tarzan lifted his spear. The ferocious looking beast advanced to the log upon which they stood.

Tensely Tarzan stood, taking careful aim at the crocodile.

Rigidly Jane stood at his side and gazed fearfully into the horrible mouth of the beast.

And, quietly, Cheetah climbed down from the tree overhead and stood at Jane's side, with a look of absolute indifference. Or perhaps it was innocence.

Jane was the first to see her.

"Why Cheetah!" she cried, torn between relief and exasperation.

At that same moment, Tarzan threw the spear. Roaring in pain, the crocodile swam away, and Tarzan looked first at Jane and then at Cheetah.

"Come," he said sternly. "We go."

Reaching home, they all went with one accord to their favorite spot in the tree.

Cheetah knew she had been naughty, for all her pretended unconcern. Now, to make friends again, she drew close to Tarzan, placing her arms about his neck.

Jane made the decision. Cheetah should not be punished this time.

"Cheetah be good girl?" Tarzan asked.

The chimpanzee snuggled closer to him.

Again all was peace and contentment.


Chapter Twelve - The Conspiracy

On the ledge outside the cave Rita and Major Fry watched Tarzan with an intense interest as he fondled Cheetah.

"A penny for your thoughts," Rita said suddenly.

"I was thinking," Major Fry said slowly, "how much more valuable he's going to be away from the jungle; more valuable, for example, than that half million legacy you can no longer prove."

Rita nodded understanding.

"But how are we going to get him out of the jungle? Get ourselves out for that matter? No guns, a crippled safari, wild jungle and the Gabonis waiting for us!"

"He will lead us out," the Major planned. "Then, when we get to civilization, "

"We'll do the leading," Rita finished. "But haven't you forgotten Jane?"

"Supposing you were ill," the hunter plotted. "In that case your cousin would be the first to urge Tarzan to take us back."

Rita smiled.

"I'm desperately il," she said, taking his arm, and pretending great weakness. "Better take me to my couch.

I'm terribly weak. The only way I could be moved is on a litter."

With gentle solicitude, Major Fry led her to the resting place, and then went to Tarzan and Jane with the news of Rita's illness.

Immediately Jane rushed to the cave to comfort her cousin.

So cleverly did Rita feign extreme suffering, that Jane was all solicitude.

"Oh, Rita," she consoled her cousin, "we'll take care of you. We will. But we can't here ."

Rita bestowed a sly wink upon the hunter as Jane hurried to tell Tarzan. He listened in silence, and, when she had finished, stood quietly, looking about him.

Then he placed his arms about Jane.

"Jane's people," he said. "My people. We go."

Jane's heart overflowed with gratitude. She well knew the cost of this decision. At her request Tarzan had taken these outsiders into the home that had never known intrusion. Now, at her pleading, he was going to lead her people back to civilization.

She knew what this meant to him, because, to her, leaving the jungle home was likewise a sacrifice.

Tarzan lifted his voice, calling his ape people together. Proudly, lovingly, Jane looked up at him. There was much to be done. Tarzan strode about, thinking, planning, as the great apes came at his call to the gathering place. Here, Tarzan mounted a gnarled stump and addressed them.

As they listened, they began to look at each other with looks of wonderment. Then their wonderment gave way to a dismal sound of sadness.

Tarzan, their beloved leader, was going to leave them!

Pleadingly they besought him not to go away, but Tarzan told them it must be so.

Timbee came forward, using every argument in his power.

"Friend," Tarzan placed his hand in great affection upon the shoulder of the ape.

"Jane's people. Our people. Must go."

Cheetah no longer a little mischief, gazed upon him, sorrowing.

"Come back soon," Tarzan promised, Steadily he took one last look about him in farewell. "Now work to do," he commanded.

Great and urgent haste was used in the effort to get Rita to civilization as quickly as possible.

Under Major Fry's direction, a litter had been assembled. All the surviving members of the safari were now armed with primitive weapons improvised from the materials at hand. The spears and clubs were clumsy but better than no means of protection.

Tarzan and Jane assembled bundles of fruit and packages of food.

Jane and the white men stood by as Tarzan gently deposited Rita on the litter.

"We're ready to go now," spoke Major Fry, who was accustomed to command.

Tarzan pointed behind them.

"Gabonis wait there we go this way you follow.

He led the way, with Jane and Eric keeping pace beside the litter upon which lay the apparently helpless invalid.

The natives were forced to proceed at a half-run to keep up with Tarzan's lead.

Swiftly the safari moved on, winding off around the jutting crags.
 


 
 


Chapter Thirteen - Vampires

The safari pushed onward onward over rocky ledges and through the torturous jungle ways, coming at length, into swampland. Through a heavy mist they struggled on into this graveyard of nature. The short, stubby trees seemed to be stunted and devoid of all life. Crocodiles lingered in the slime-covered pools.

The safari showed the marks of a long and arduous trip. No one spoke, except Bomba, and his voice was raised only in a snarl as he drove the carriers. But Tarzan, in the lead, plodded on with unrelenting determination.

At last Major Fry voiced the general weariness.

"Tarzan," he worked his way to the leader's side, "Hadn't we better call a halt stop? The men are all tired."

"Soon," Tarzan returned, but he did not relax the pace.

Eric looked uneasily about him.

"Seems to be something strange about this place," he said nervously.

"So awfully quiet," Jane shivered. "I know," she hit upon the reason, "it's because there's no sound of birds animals or even insects. I wonder what drives them away."

"Might be haunted," Eric spoke in an attempted jest.

"This is the first time in Africa that I haven't been able to see some hint of a bird," Jane puzzled. "I wonder ."

Now Tarzan paused a moment.

The caravan had now reached a dismal place. The black, lifeless trees leaning at all angles seemed like ominous symbols of mourning and warning.

Major Fry peered ahead into the mist-shrouded swamp, and shook his head.

For a moment Rita forgot her role of invalid. Her fear overcoming her caution, she rose up on the litter and cried out in terror.

"Oh, what is it?"

Major Fry came to her side.

"Nothing to be alarmed about yet," he sought to calm her fears.

"Lie back. " he put a particular meaning into the words, and Rita resumed her attitude of intense suffering.

Tarzan looked back at Rita.

"I go," he said. "Wait."

And he stepped forward into the unknown terrors of the swamp.

"Tarzan!" Jane cried. "Wait for me!"

She stepped down into the clinging mud.

"Easy there, Jane." Eric held her carefully, "If you're going, so am I." He called to the natives to follow. Slowly, fearfully, they obeyed. Now they all gathered close beside the gnarled stump of a dead tree.

All of a sudden one of the natives gave a terrifying scream.

"Oh, what os it?" Jane cried, frightened. "What is the matter?"

Gibbering with fear, the native crouched deep in the mud for protection, pointing up to the sky.

Tarzan's hand flew to his knife.

Twisting about he followed the direction of the sobbing native. A giant, horrible thing had enveloped him, shawl-like, around his shoulder, bearing him deeper into the mire.

Like a flash, Tarzan came to the side of the attacked man. With Bomba's help, he battled the horrible creature. Despite the united of the two men, there was a tremendous struggle. Tarzan's knife struck blow upon blow. At last they held up the limp body.

A giant vampire!

Standing by Rita's litter, Major Fry showed the first signs of fear as Tarzan held up the terrifying and loathsome thing.

"Vampires!" he said, moistening his lips nervously.

Rita grasped his shoulder in alarm.

"Vampires!" she echoed the word with a scream of terror.

The safari collected in a group about the litter. Waving their spears and clubs they sought to battle off the vampires, which now, with ugly, screeching sounds, were fluttering upon them.

Eric and Jane clung to each other, gazing upward, unable to move in their terror.

Suddenly a vampire swooped up Jane. Tarzan rushed to defend her.

"Major!" Rita screamed in horror.

A vampire now attacked the litter. Shouting and waving their clubs, Major Fry and the natives fought it off.

Tarzan and Bomba had battled the creature that attacked Jane forcing it off. Now the vampire renewed the attack, directly upon Tarzan.

It came closer, seemingly impervious to the knife thrusts. At last, with a powerful swing, Tarzan caught the thing in the throat.

But, generally, the vampires were gaining. The situation looked hopeless as the vampires settled in a thick swarm.

Suddenly a tremendous hubbub was heard.

In the light of flaring torches, the Pigmy natives advanced.

 


Chapter Fourteen - The Pigmies

At the sight of fire, the vampires, screeching, flew away as quickly as they head come. The safari was now surrounded by the Pigmies, grotesque, well-armed savages. A little man more elaborately dressed than the others, advanced towards Tarzan.

The Chief of the Pigmies and Tarzan went through a ritual of greeting.

Tarzan spoke his gratitude, and explained his desire to evade the Gabonis and lead the safari to civilization.

"Gaboni!" said the Pigmy Chief savagely.

All the small warriors brandished their weapons defiantly and roared disapproval at the name "Gaboni."

The Chief grunted in a friendly fashion to the safari. Jane advanced, holding out her arm with her fist clenched, in his method of greeting.

Then he spoke to Tarzan. The ape leader listened with interest.

Tarzan explained the Chieftain's speech.

"He say he show short way. Mountains here much water he make bridge across water."

The Pigmies led and the safari followed but when, at length, the Chief pointed to the bridge, they looked upon it dismally.

"We can't cross that!" Rita said hopelessly. "That bridge is for Pigmies!"

Indeed, the "bridge" was a flimsy thing; a rope, constructed of vines. Below the place where it spanned the water was a tremendous fall, from which rose a cloud of white spray and deafening sound.

Tarzan turned to Rita.

"Safe carry you."

Rita looked towards the bridge. The prospect was terrifying, but cowardice was not one of her sins. She nodded her head and Tarzan took her across.

Jane was ready to go next, when she noticed a bundle of provisions slipping away in the water. She called to Eric and then went to retrieve it.

Meanwhile Major Fry and Bomba dispatched the native carriers across, and then followed. Only Eric and Jane were left. Now they prepared to join the safari.

Half way over, the rope, which could hold no more, gave way.

"Jane!" Tarzan cried, watching with agonized eyes.

In horror the safari stared down the thundering waterfalls.

 


Chapter Fifteen - Tarzan Is Captured — Escapes

With bowed head, Tarzan stood gazing into the whirlpool where Jane and Eric had disappeared. The natives, under Major Fry's order, had lined up, ready to proceed. Now he came to where Tarzan was seated, gazing dejectedly into the waterfall.

"Tarzan," he said crisply. "I'm sorry. But there's nothing we can do by staying here so we go do you understand? Go."

"You go." Tarzan said determinedly. "Tarzan stay here."

"You don't want to stay here alone, Tarzan," Rita said winningly. "You come with us.

The village is only half a day's march from here."

"Tarzan no like village. Tarzan stay here find Jane."

"But it's useless, " Rita began a trifle testily. Then her eyes caught Major Fry's. He motioned for her to desist her pleading.

Tarzan, filled with grief over his loss, shouted again and again.

"Jane! Jane!"

There was no answer.

"This is the chance we've been waiting for," he said cunningly persuasive. If he won't go with us we'll have to take him."

"You won't hurt him?" Rita asked anxiously.

Major Fry is the man who brings them back alive!" the hunter spoke pointedly. Then he returned to Tarzan.

"Tarzan we go now!" he said, command in his voice.

"Tarzan stay no go!" the response came angrily defiant.

Major Fry nodded an order to Bomba. The giant native stepped up obediently, balancing his club in his hand Tarzan studied the waterfalls, Bomba advanced, raised the club, and brought it down sharply.

Rita turned her head quickly as a groan escaped the ape leader. Now Bomba secured the unconscious Tarzan to the litter with fibre rope, and thus, the safari brought him to Major Fry's encampment.

Near the base of the waterfall, where a swift current whirled around the rocks, Eric fought to keep to the surface, holding Jane, who was half conscious.

Presently the current brought them up on the weather side of a large rock, which formed a sanctuary against the rushing water. Eric dragged himself up and pulled Jane after him.

"All right?" he looked at her anxiously.

"All right." She attempted a brave and hopeful smile.

"How are we going to get out of here?" Eric demanded, looking about at the steep walls which surrounded them.

"Tarzan will come," Jane said confidently. "He can climb anything."

"Look!" Eric pointed suddenly.

A dozen large alligators regarded them with evil eyes on the shelving rock of the cavern. One slid into the water and started swimming toward them.

"We'll make a raft of those logs," Jane said more in command than suggestion.

As Eric fought off the alligator, she picked up a tangled mass of vines, twisting these about several logs which were lodged at the base of the rock.

The current carried the rude raft along, Jane and Eric guiding it with poles. For a time they followed the river. Then, when the way appeared safe, they left the raft, and clambered up a slow and torturous path in the rocks.

As Jane and Eric made their way to safety, Major Fry was making preparations to board the steamer. Rita watched as the rows of cages, each again filled with captive animals, were being carried to the boat.

The hunter lifted a tarpaulin-covered cage and peered in. Bound securely, gagged, and apparently unconscious, Tarzan opened his eyes to the light and writhed convulsively at his captor. Major Fry hastily ordered Bomba to stow Tarzan on board.

"He's all right?" Rita said uneasily. "After all he is human. I can't help but feel— "

"He's an animal," snapped Major Fry . "Until he's tamed he shall be treated as such."

It seemed a horrible nightmare to Tarzan. He was forced into the steamer, chained to a pole. The boat chugged on on. His heart ached for Jane, for the jungle. Half conscious, he dreamed. It seemed to him she was at his side, freeing him. Eric, too, was there.

"Tarzan!" the voice seemed to be Jane's. It came to him from a great distance.

But now one of his arms was free. This was no dream. He looked at his other hand it, too, was free. And Eric's face looked into his!

He was free!

The door opened. Major Fry, rifle in hand, came in, with Rita.

"Fry!" Eric shot the word, not quite believing the hunter had done this thing.

"Stand where you are!" commanded the Major, lifting his gun.

Jane raised her voice in the call of distress. With a roar, Timbee crashed in upon the hunter. There was a flash and a crack of his rifle.

Instantly terror took possession of the steamer as the great apes leaped everywhere, screaming their anger and rage.

The helmsman abandoned the wheel and rushed away, terror stricken, at the onslaught. The steamer, with nobody at the wheel, swerved into the bank. Natives ran screaming around the decks, jumping hastily ashore. The animals, raged, tearing at their cages. An overturned kerosene lamp sent up a blaze, which leaped into a mighty, enveloping flame.

Through the flames ran Tarzan, followed by Jane and Eric. Now the complete master, he roared orders to his ape men, as he leaped from cage to cage, freeing his animal friends.

Rita had jumped to the shore, one of the great apes in pursuit. In great haste she raised her rifle. It went off as the ape pounced upon her.

Major Fry took the only avenue of escape the river.

A huge crocodile slid from the ooze. With a scream of hideous terror, the hunter was dragged under water.

Higher and higher mounted the flames, until, at last, the steamer was enveloped entirely in the blast. The last of the animals surged ashore to safety.

Perched in a tree sat Tarzan and Jane. Neither spoke for a time. Then Tarzan said, "We go home."

 

Chapter Sixteen - Home

The great apes swung through the trees on their homeward way. Tarzan and Jane walked as Eric went back with them the only one remaining of the three white people.

They traveled mostly in silence, sorrowing over the death of Rita, the cruelty of Major Fry.

"He got what he deserved," Eric spoke his thoughts suddenly.

"Yes," Jane said, following his meaning. "He did. But, poor Rita — "

"Bad — woman," said Tarzan, closing the subject.

Overhead the apes began a joyful chattering. One dropped down directly in front of Tarzan. He was deep in thought and paid little attention. But Jane stopped to caress the chimpanzee.

"Tarzan," she demanded his immediate attention, "It's Cheetah!"

Tarzan stopped and held open his arms.

"Cheetah!"

Jibbering and jabbering she rode the remainder of the distance upon his shoulder. Into the peaceful place they came.

"Home!" said Tarzan.

"Home!" Jane echoed warmly, lovingly.

Some of their happiness communicated itself to Eric. He, too, felt the sense of rest and enjoyment. In the days that followed, Eric came to love this home of Tarzan's more and more.

"I — I almost hate to think of leaving, Jane," he said wistfully.

Jane caressed a little cub.

"Then — stay," Jane suggested.

"I can't You know I can't. But I don't want to say good-bye. Come with me, Jane."

Jane tossed a dry stick into the nearby stream.

"Away it goes — out to sea," she smiled at Eric. "We've all got to go our own ways, Eric. Civilization, or what passes for civilization, is not for me. I'm happy."

"Jane!" Tarzan called, from the branches of a tree, and Jane clambered up to him.

"Look," he said.

Jane followed the direction, then called excitedly down to Eric.

"The canoes are coming, Eric," she cried. "Our signals were seen all right."

A group of native dug-out canoes came down the river. In the stern of the first sat a white man.

"Good luck, Eric!" Jane kissed him. Tarzan took his hand. With Cheetah on his shoulder, he and Jane retired to the trees.

Cheetah kissed Tarzan soundly.

"We're not going away, Cheetah!" Jane laughed happily.

Quietly Eric greeted the white man.

The voice of the jungle spoke, bathed in a flood of sunlight.

Good-bye," chirped the birds.

"Good-bye," came the murmur of distant animals.

Tarzan and Jane watched till Eric was out of sight.

"Jane — happy?" asked Tarzan.

"Jane — happy!" she answered.
 
 

The End

TARZAN ESCAPES FEATURES IN ERBzine

Introduction

Vampire Bats: Missing Footage

Summary Adaptation of Original Script

Lobby Cards, Posters, Stills

Lobby Display II

Lobby Display III

From

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Burroughs Bibliophiles
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John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
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Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
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Volume 0648

BILL HILLMAN
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