CHAPTER IXSuddenly Tarzan sensed the peril behind him. He swung around as the last chain snapped and released Mary, just in time to catch in his grip of steel the arm that was descending with the dagger, in the dark. Single handed Tarzan was more than a match for his attackers and for the others, also, that Black John had hastily mustered in the emergency.
BLACK JOHN'S REVENGE
From a distance the venerable old Patriarch of the Lost Tribe was watching with troubled mien as he saw Tarzan vanquish one after another of the strongest young men of the tribe. His fear changed to a frown as he caught sight of Black John himself slinking off into the jungle. What was to become of them with this new terror loose in the very holy of holies within the stockade? Hitherto they had relied on the craft and cutting of Black John and his so-called "magic." What now?
The Patriarch knew only one law of life. That was to bow to the rulership of the strongest. And had not Tarzan proved himself the strongest of them all? Even now he was giving the terrible jungle cry. A few moments and even the beasts would be there, doing his bidding.
Quickly the Patriarch approached Mary. He bowed low. "Oh, White Princess! Beg Tarzan the Mighty to rule over us -- he who is king of the jungle -- lest we perish."
Mary had always felt a sneaking sympathy for the old man under the tyranny of Black John. She took his arm and led him toward Tarzan.
"Don't strike, Tarzan!" she pleaded as she saw him at once ready to defend himself by attacking even this newcomer. "He wants you to be their Chief -- to take the place of Black John!"
At first the mere idea was repugnant to Tarzan. But Mary coaxed. And what Mary wanted was quite a different story. He began to relent, then to be interested, finally to consider as the other members of the tribe gathered about. With aboriginal eagerness they were ready to yield fealty to the new overlord. Tarzan bowed to the honour of the inevitable, and elated the Patriarch turned to address the tribe searing them to loyalty to the new leader.
There was but one dissenter and he was not in the open. From a hiding place in the tropical tangle Black John listened as he heard himself deposed and Tarzan elevated in his place, listened long enough to realize that it was unsafe for him in that neighbourhood, then turned swearing to himself a dark oath to get revenge.
At once the village was in great excitement. It was an event of major importance to have anew chief an it called for a weird and elaborate ceremony of installation. Preparations were at once begun for it and the natives threw themselves into it with a will for it was indeed a great thing to have Tarzan fighting for them, not against them.
Thus it was that when darkness settled down on the village that night the Patriarch and the entire tribe were assembled about the central fire with flares, the priests in weird costume and the dancers outdoing themselves to make honour to Tarzan.
It was more than even Bobby could stand after the wild events of the day. He had seen nearly all of the ceremony and his head was nodding so that he was almost asleep. Mary carried him to the cabin and put him on his pallet of straw. It had been a great night for Mary, too. Every honour that was showered on Tarzan was like the gift of a jewel to her. She was tired but she was not going to miss a thing. She covered up Bobby, even thought that in the heat of the night he might need a drink. She took a hollow gourd to fill at the spring outside.
Suddenly a hand, a strangely familiar hand, stole through a hole in the wall of the hut, then another was clapped over Bobby's mouth as he was jerked through the opening of the thatch, and an instant later the devilish Black John slunk back into the shadows of the jungle making his way as fast as he could with his burden.
Across on the other side of the jungle fastness at last Black John stumbled into his secret camp which he had always kept ready against some rebellious outbreak in the tribe. There he had built himself a lean-to and there now he flung the tired Bobby whom he had carried off and then tired out by his forced haste. Bobby was too sleepy to do otherwise than heed Black John's threat to lie down, for it would have been the easiest thing in the world to have left the boy outside the circle of the firelight a prey to the strange night-prowlers of the jungle.
For a moment Black John listened for sounds of pursuit. Hearing none he also settled down. His quick mind was going over his future course. What should it be? Back again to his life as a beach-comber, searching the sea eagerly for a sign of a ship? He sat bold upright. Those papers he had seized from Mary! An evil smile overspread his face instantly. He reached into his pocket and pulled them out, scanning them eagerly in the firelight. Here, then, was his plan, his way to turn defeat into a blazing success. Just let a ship appear and answer his signal and he would be in touch with civilization. That meant that he might use the very proofs of Tarzan's heritage for his own gain. He would be Lord Greystoke, heir to the title and the estates! He fell asleep dreaming of it.
Men of Black John's calibre always fall because they seem never to give their opponents credit for having any sense. They always underestimate them. And anyone that underestimated Bobby was bound to lose out sooner or later.
Bobby had not been lying long before he began to watch furtively between the slits of almost closed eyes. As he saw Black John lose interest in watching him and become absorbed in the papers he had stolen from Mary. Bobby's boyish mind put the situation together well enough to realized that there were compensations for his kidnapping . He restrained himself until Black John was snoring deeply and regularly. And as he did so his own fatigue departed and he felt refreshed with the night air.
At last Bobby decided that the time was ripe to carry out the plan he had evolved . He crept stealthily from the lean-to toward the man asleep by the dying fire with the papers still clutched in his hands. Carefully Bobby loosened them from the almost supine grip now and extracted them. Then as fast as ever he could Bobby b backed away from the sleeping villain.
Unfortunately Bobby did not have eyes in the back of his head. He backed right into a bush of brambles, and the long thorns tore his clothes smartly as he repressed his own exclamation of pain and side-stepped. Luck was against him. He toppled over a jar that was in the dark shadow of the bush, smashing it.
Instantly the alert senses of Black John caught the sound. He roused from his sleep, sprang to his feet rubbing his eyes which adjusted themselves to the darkness like an animal's. His first instinct was about the boy -- and sure enough he had fled from the lean-to. He could hear him, too, crashing through the jungle in his frightened haste. It might be death to Bobby in the night. Black John cared nothing for that. If Bobby were dead he would lose his hold on Mary. Bobby was Black John's hostage to fate. He hallowed after the boy and pursued, now trying to frighten him against running into jungle perils, now seeking to coax him back.
The more he threatened and cajoled the harder Bobby beat it. A little monkey saw him, jabbered and swung along in the trees. But Black John was gaining. Bobby was getting more winded. He stopped to hide behind a bush. That would never do. Suddenly he saw a leopard cub dart into a cave. Black John was coming closer. Bobby followed into the cave. Outside now he could hear Black John cursing and swearing. "Which way did the brat go?"
It was not many seconds after Mary missed Bobby that she was calling the alarm to Tarzan. Tarzan took it. Here was work for the tribe. He had them all out tracking Black John and Bobby. All night they scoured the jungle fastness and found not a trace. Even Tarzan was without a clue until suddenly, high over head, he heard a chattering. It was one of the monkey people. Tarzan stopped, listened, chattered back, and was off.
Behind him Taug, crafty and cunning was watching. He had heard the chattering. Suddenly now he too, descended from the trees directly in front of Mary. His powerful arms encircled her and he started to drag her off as he had Teeka.
Black John was just about to enter the cave where he could hear sounds of Bobby playing with the leopard cut when he drew back at a snarl. The mother leopard had leaped to the cave mouth, more deadly than the males as she sensed a possible danger to her cub. Another moment Bobby was confronted by two gleaming green-yellow eyes and a bloodcurdling yowl as the infuriated cat crouched to play with this man-animal, torturing it as in its fiendish nature it did with its fiendish nature it did with hits other jungle prey before the kill.
Tarzan saves Mary Trevor from the clutches of Taug, the ferocious gorilla and carries her to his hut. Meantime, Black John is stalking Tarzan in order to steal certain papers and heirlooms and establish himself as the Earl of Greystoke. As Tarzan leaves the hut to go in search of Bobby, Black John sees him in a tree and shoots him. Tarzan falls from the tree unconscious, though not seriously wounded. Black John believes him dead, as does Mary, who heard the gun shot and ran to Tarzan. Black John enters the hut and seizes the credentials proving Tarzan's identity. He then insists that Mary go with him, but she refuses, preferring death to such a course. At Greystoke's camp, Bobby tells the lord what a great man Tarzan is, and how Tarzan once saved him and Tantor the elephant. Greystoke is deeply impressed by the boy's story and determines to find Tarzan.
TARZAN THE MIGHTY
FILM SERIAL SUMMARY
From Universal Weekly 1928
Chapter Nine: Lost in the Jungle
In the meantime, Mary and Tarzan, who has recovered, set out to find Bobby. On their way to Tarzan's hut Greystoke and Bobby meet Black John, who tries to convince Greystoke that he is the missing heir. Greystoke tells Black John he must find Tarzan before making a decision. Black John becomes furious, and at the point of his gun drives Bobby and Lord Greystoke into a cave, blocking the entrance with a big boulder. He tells them he will report their death and claim the Greystoke title. Hastening to their camp he dons Greystoke's clothes. Seeing Tarzan and Mary approaching the tent, Black John tries to shoot at Tarzan from ambush, but fears to fire because of Mary. Mary and Tarzan come into the tent and Mary, seeing Black John with his back turned, thinks him a stranger. She inquire fore Bobby. When he answers Tarzan recognizes his voice and leaps at him just as Black John pulls the trigger of his pistol.
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