CHAPTER XITarzan's grass rope parted as the rifle bullet of Black John struck it and Tarzan fell like a rock to the ground striking his head on a stone. He lay there motionless as Mary ran as on the wings of the wind and flung herself, sobbing, on him trying to life his heave inert body.
THE STOLEN HERITAGE
At that moment Black John crashed out from the jungle with the rifle ready to finish Tarzan should there be any signs of life left in him. Mary interposed her body between the rifle and Tarzan.
"You can do him no more harm! He is dead and beyond your power now!"
Black John smiled grimly. It was evidently true. Besides, he recollected what he had come fore. There was no one in the hut. This was the time to search it without another scene with mary. She would not leave Tarzan's body now. He would come back and attend to her later.
Undisturbed now, Black John ransacked the hut. Sure enough, just as he had suspected,, there were the Greystoke heirlooms, the papers left by Tarzan's parents, the books, and, above all, the photographs of his father and mother. Black John was more than satisfied. He crammed the stuff all into his pocket and hurried from the hut back to Mary and the inert body of Tarzan.
"Now that he is dead, young lady," he said brusquely, "you might as well come with me. I shall be the Earl of Greystoke and make you a fine lady." He grinned and was about to seize her.
Mary could hardly control herself for loathing. She had the presence of mind to reach down quickly and draw from its sheath the hunting knife that hung about Tarzan's neck She held it aloft poised straight at her own breast. "I would rather kill myself," she cried defiantly at Black John, "Than throw my lot in with a beast like you!"
Black John was impervious to words like those. He merely smiled his confident smirk. "You'll get over this, my pretty one. I'll be back for you. You'll not escape me. But now I have some important business, important for you, too, the future Lady Greystoke, my wife." He turned quickly and disappeared down a trail.
Bobby in the absence of Black John had been improving the time by pouring into Lord Greystoke's sympathetic ear the story of his friend Tarzan. And Bobby could tell it with boyish enthusiasm that needed no embellishment.
"Lord Greystoke," he insisted earnestly, "this man Black John is a liar and a cheat. Tarzan is your real nephew. Tarzan is a great man. He is wise and he is good. He has the courage of a lion and he is the king of the jungle. All the animals and the natives recognize him as Tarzan the Mighty. Why, once when the people in the lost village laid a trap to catch Tantor, the elephant, Tarzan saved him. Tantor would give his life for Tarzan .So with all the other animals -- they love him or they fear him. Why, the natives have even just made him the chief of the lost Village in place of Black John."
It seemed that Bobby might have gone on for hours pouring gout his story to Lord Greystoke. Amazing though it was it was evident that this was not the raving of a boy recovering from jungle fever. Lord Greystoke was more than impressed.
"Tarzan," continued Bobby eagerly, "is the only real man in the whole jungle. I know he is your nephew. This Black John who pretends to be your nephew is only a beachcomber. He is no good. Come with me to Tarzan's hut and find him. He will prove to you that he is the real Earl of Greystoke."
"I dare say," agreed Lord Greystoke with more than the usual enthusiasm of an Englishman, "There is a great deal in what you tell me. I shall certainly investigate this Tarzan myself."
The boy was leading the nobleman through the jungle when suddenly they came face to face with Black John seeking them.
"Ah, there you are, uncle, greeted Black John, Judas-like, as he produced the photographs and other papers he had just taken from the hut of Tarzan. "Now you must be convinced that I am your real nephew, the true Earl of Greystoke. These photographs are of my father and mother, your own brother and his wife."
Lord Greystoke took them, scanned them with interest. They were indeed the pictures of his brother and his wife. The mystery was thickening instead of clearing up. He must temporize.
"I have promised this small boy to see Tarzan before I make my decision," he insisted. "He will lead me to the man's hut and I expect to talk with him. After that I can tell you more." Greystoke took a few steps on his way.
To his utter astonishment he found Black John blocking his way with the rifle threateningly. "This man-beast, Tarzan is dead, understand?" insisted Black John. "I killed him with this very rifle. And now I am the lost Earl of Greystoke and you've got to believe it!"
"I say," Greystoke was amazed at the effrontery of the man. Yet he did not dare go too far for he had come on his way with Bobby unarmed and alone and Black John had one of his own rifles.
"Come, up with your hands!" Black John had cast, the die and was going to play the game through now. Besides, he smiled at the luck that seemed always to be his. "Back in there!"
He had noticed that directly back of the man and boy was a cave and above the mouth of the cave was poised a rocking boulder left there at some prehistoric geologic age.
At the point of the rifle he backed them into the cave and rocked the heavy boulder until it fell over it. There was just a small space left over the top of it, not large enough to get an arm through, much less even the body of a boy. Through this space now Black John hissed his parting shot at them.
"So, my fine lordling! There's nothing to prevent my telling your secretary and the servants when they return from the hunt for you that you have been killed. Then I shall take your yacht and return to merry old England and take my station as Earl of Greystoke."
With a laugh and sneer he hastened along the trail which Bobby and Greystoke had already travelled. He came to Greystoke's tent with all its paraphernalia strewn about. He had decided to make a thorough job of it and at once. Here as he rummaged the tent and the boxes he quickly got out breeches, shirt, pith helmet, everything just as Lord Greystoke had, especially the cartridge belt with an automatic. In a jiffy he was changed form his rags and skins to the snappiest hunter ever outfitted by those in London who know how to do it. He would waste time in getting away with the yacht and on it.
In her grief and terror as Tarzan lay there motionless Mary gradually began to realize that his body was not cold. She was happily alarmed when she saw a flutter of his eyes, then a tremor of his strong limbs, and finally an effort to raise himself as his eyes opened and he saw her and smiled while she rained kisses on his face.
Little did Mary realize the recuperative powers of Tarzan after the life next to nature that he had led. Tarzan with her aid was himself before she could fairly realize the joy that had come to her after the depth of grief.
Tarzan was ready to go on just where he had left off. She tried to restrain him but he smiled. Nothing matters," he said in his broken English, "until we find your brother Bobby."
Mary was overwhelmed at this thoughtfulness and again she kissed him. That kiss was like new life to Tarzan's veins. He picked her up in one arm as if she had been some small, soft pet and away they swung through the jungle as Tarzan examined the ground for any signs of a trail.
Nor was it long before he found the footprints of Bobby, and others. On they went faster than Mary had ever believed it possible for a human being to penetrate the jungle fastness.
It was this unexpected sight that greeted Black John as he emerged finally from Lord Greystoke's tent. There in the distance he saw Tarzan whom he believed as dead as a skeleton -- and Mary! He was dumfounded and turned back into the tent to grab a gun.
Anxiously now Mary led Tarzan on, for here was a camp of white men, of their own kind. They approached the tent and in it Mary could discern a stranger with his back to them.
"Have you seen anything of a small boy about here, sire?"
Black John tried to disguise his voice as he answered, "No." But there was no disguising that voice to the trained jungle ears of Tarzan. In an instant he had torn the pith helmet off Black John, revealing his evil face to Mary, now thoroughly terrified.
Instantly Black John aimed Lord Greystoke's automatic full at Tarzan's breast. Mary screamed again, but in his fury, knowing nothing of Th. danger, Tarzan lunged himself full at Black John as that worthy pulled the trigger.
TREACHERY HIGHER UP
Tarzan gives his battle cry and leaps upon Black John. They fight. The secretary takes flight. Tantor comes in response to Tarzan's cry and scatters the blacks. Tarzan overpowers Black John and throws him out. Lord Greystoke is satisfied that Tarzan is the man he is seeking and they leave for the sea coast. Black John finds the secretary in the jungle. He forces him to return to Lord Greystoke, present an alibi, and regain his confidence.
TARZAN THE MIGHTY
FILM SERIAL SUMMARY
From Universal Weekly 1928
Chapter Eleven: A Thief in the Night
During the night the secretary is to stab Greystoke, steal Tarzan's documents and bring them to Black John. The secretary agrees and rejoins the party. That night, at the jungle camp, the secretary carries out Black John's plan and steals the papers, leaving Greystoke badly wounded. Tarzan, sleeping in a nearby tree senses danger. He rouses Mary, who goes to Greystoke's assistant, while he follows the secretary into the wilds. The secretary turns the papers over to Black John, who promptly deserts him, leaving him at the mercy of the wild beasts. At the camp Mary looks up at a sound and sees Black John advancing on her with leering face and clutching hands.
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