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Volume 7007

Part I: Chapters 1-6
Summary and Commentary
of All 26 Chapters
by John Martin


This story is about what came of Tarzan’s “noble act of self-renunciation,” the promise we are given at the end of “Tarzan of the Apes.”

There is probably not an ERB fan alive who cannot quote the word that opens this epic novel, which begins with one continent left behind and sprawls across two others.
That word is “Magnifique!," which we soon learn is the verbal reaction that Countess Olga de Coude has upon seeing the majestic figure of Monsieur Jean C. Tarzan striding about the deck of an ocean liner which is steaming from the United States to Europe.

Tarzan, raised in the jungle in a band of great apes, has had his knowledge expanded immensely in the space of several months, and had also fallen in love with Jane Porter, the beautiful young lady whom he rescued from the clutches of the crazed ape Terkoz in the depths of the jungle.

“Tarzan of the Apes” closes with Jane’s unfortunately-timed pledge to wed William Cecil Clayton, the holder of the title of Lord Greystoke. Shortly thereafter, Tarzan receives a telegram informing him that he, in fact, is the legitimate title holder. Yet, to avoid devastating the life of the woman he loves, he keeps the news secret, and heads back to Europe alone.

- - - - -
Sad and lonely is Tarzan, but also, free. And in “The Return of Tarzan” he will meet three more alluring women – Olga de Coude; the dancing girl of Sidi Aissa; and La, high priestess of Opar – any of which could have stolen his heart away and, but for varying circumstances, might actually have done it. However, the fourth woman, Jane herself, is also an ever-present factor in this story, and her path and the ape-man’s are, inevitably, destined to cross again.

With nothing to hold him to civilization, Tarzan, in the opening chapter, is contemplating a return to Africa . Yet, he wonders if that will really bring fulfillment in his life: “He tried to look forward with pleasurable sensations to his return to the jungle of his birth, and boyhood: the cruel, fierce jungle in which he had spent twenty of his twenty-two years.”

Yet, Tarzan has also learned to like some things about civilization and, above all, has a desire to have real friends, such as D’Arnot. And so, heading back to a world where all men and animals would be his enemies is not quite the pleasing prospect it might seem. “And so it was that Tarzan looked with little relish upon the future he had mapped out for himself.”

And indeed, it is the desire for friends that swings Tarzan in the direction of staying in civilization, at least for awhile. Because, by Chapter III, he does not appear to be in a hurry to go back to Africa but, instead, seeks D’Arnot’s aid in helping him to find a job.

Friendship itself is another theme of “Return.” Having learned the value of friendship, Tarzan makes friends with the desert people of the Sahara and, later, with the mighty Waziri tribe in Africa . It is also a book of enemies. Tarzan makes two enemies in this book, and one of them will continue to dog him and his family for one more book, and the other will stick around for two!! And, for the first time, Tarzan encounters Arab raiders, who will reappear time and again in the Tarzan series, as adversaries of the ape-man and his family.

- - - - -
When ERB says that Tarzan spent “twenty of his twenty two years” in the jungle, it raises a question. Has Tarzan really been in civilization for two whole years?

It took two months for he and D’Arnot to hike to a civilized outpost in “Apes,” and another month before they could charter an adequate ship to go back for the buried treasure. After retrieving the treasure, they sailed for three weeks before reaching Lyons, France. Figure another week for the initial journey to get the treasure, and you’ve got another month, for four months total so far.

After only a few days in Lyons, they went to Paris , and there is no indication how long they were there. But one can figure, not long, since Tarzan was anxious to find his way to America to locate Jane.

They were in Paris long enough, however, for Tarzan to sample some of the culture. Because, in Chapter I of “Return,” Tarzan for the first time notices the two men who will become his bitter enemies, and, in appearance, “They reminded Tarzan of melodramatic villains he had seen at the theaters in Paris.”

One could guess the initial stay in Paris lasted no more than one week. Because, in chapter 26 of “Apes,” we are told that “one of the first things which D’Arnot accomplished after their arrival” was to introduce Tarzan to a high official of the police department so that Tarzan’s finger prints could be checked to see if he was really the Greystoke heir. At the end of their visit with the police official, D’Arnot said, “Monsieur Tarzan sails for America to-morrow.”

So, perhaps Tarzan spent two weeks in all in France , counting time at Lyons and Paris, and time enough to eat at a few French restaurants and enjoy a melodrama or two.

Then Tarzan spent time sailing to America . How long was the voyage? Tarzan probably made this voyage in about 1910. Just two years later, the Titanic sank trying while trying to cross the Atlantic in a record six days. So, answer: Not very long!

How long did it take Tarzan to get to Baltimore from wherever his ship landed and then, finding out Jane was in Wisconsin , travel there? Although we see him driving a car, he may not have driven to Wisconsin , but may have taken the train (there was a railway station near the Porter’s Wisconsin home) and picked up the car when he got there.

How long did it take Tarzan to get back to New York to book a ship to Europe, and how much time did he spend in the U.S. before he boarded that ship?

We don’t know the answer to these question, but it would appear that Tarzan could not have spent more than a few months – less than one year – doing all these things.

Therefore, ERB’s statement that Tarzan spent 20 of his 22 years in the jungle is a bit of a mystery, as far as the two years goes, although "literary license" would allow us to count Tarzan's indefinite string of months as a "year."

One could “gain” another year by imagining that the 20 years in the “fierce” jungle did not include Tarzan’s first year of life in the “friendlier jungle,” when he had the protection of his parents and the little cabin by the harbor. That would make Tarzan 21 when he came out of the jungle, instead of 20.

Perhaps an ERB scholar somewhere has a better answer!

- - - - -
Though Olga admired Tarzan in Chapter I, it was from afar, and he had no idea who she was and no idea who her husband was. Thus, when Tarzan stepped into the ship’s lounge to smoke a cigarette and contemplate the future, he did not yet know the identify of a certain man playing cards at a table. Yet, in a few moments, he would rise to the defense of that man who was, in fact, the Count de Coude, Olga’s husband.

Nikolas Rokoff and Alexis Paulvitch, the two melodramatic-looking villains from a few pages before, hatched a plot to accuse the count of cheating at cards, but a watchful Tarzan had witnessed the set-up and stepped in to set things right, thus earning the gratitude of Count de Coude.

At this point in the story, it is a bit of a mystery as to why Rokoff should want to destroy the count’s reputation, and why Olga begs her husband not to report Rokoff to the authorities. But that mystery will be cleared up in subsequent chapters.

One thing that serves Tarzan well in civilization is that he is an excellent judge of character. In the previous book, he instantly sized up Robert Canler. In this chapter, he forms an initial, accurate impression of the two villains and also deems that the card-playing stranger is someone worthy of defending against the two plotters.

- - - - -
"If civilization had done nothing else for Tarzan of the Apes, it had to some extent taught him to crave the society of his own kind, and to feel with genuine pleasure the congenial warmth of companionship. And to the same ratio had it made any other life distasteful to him. It was difficult to imagine a world without a friend – without a living thing who spoke the new tongues which Tarzan had learned to love so well."

1. The June 1913 issue of New Story Magazine carried the first of seven installments of
Edgar Rice Burroughs's second Tarzan novel, "The Return of Tarzan."
The cover is a scene of Tarzan's adventures in the Sahara.
2. The July 1913 issue of New Story Magazine carried the second of seven installments.
The cover had a patriotic red-white-blue background with the Tarzan story heralded in bold letters.
3. The August 1913 issue of New Story Magazine carried the third of seven installments.
The cover is a scene of Tarzan's return to his jungle. The well-known painting, by N.C. Wyeth,
hangs on the wall at Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and was used on the dust jacket of the first edition,
published by A.C. McClurg & Co., as well as on many later printings by other publishers.
4. The September 1913 issue of New Story Magazine carried the fourth of seven installments .
The cover tied in with a story by Robert J. Pearsall, "The Breaking Point."
The Tarzan serial was bannered across the top of the magazine.
5. The October 1913 issue of New Story Magazine carried the fifth of seven installments.
The cover illustrated a detective story with the Tarzan story listed above the magazine's logo.
6. The November 1913 issue of New Story Magazine carried the sixth of seven installments.
Once again, the Tarzan story was listed atop the magazine and
Edgar Rice Burroughs's name was first in a list of that issue's authors.
The story highlighted by the cover illustration is "The Million Dollar Hour" by John Fleming Wilson,
but it's likely that more have heard of the Tarzan story over the years than they have of the Wilson tale.
7. The December 1913 issue of New Story Magazine carried the last of seven installments.
The cover proclaims the start of a new novel by H. Rider Haggard but, inside, one could find Tarzan.


The reader who embarks on a journey through "The Return of Tarzan" will soon become aware of one thing that is sure to get under the ape man's skin: A scalawag grabbing part of a woman's anatomy with the intent of forcing her in a direction she does not wish to go.

In the previous book, "Tarzan of the Apes," it was Terkoz the ape who paid the ultimate price for such behavior and, later, Robert Canler was soon dangling in mid-air in the iron grip of Tarzan, after he dared such a thing with the woman Tarzan loves. We read:
  "taking Jane Porter by the arm, he started to lead her toward the waiting minister. But scarcely had he taken a single step ere a heavy hand closed upon his arm with a grip of steel."

  In "Return," it is a woman whom Tarzan does not yet know, the Countess Olga de Coude. Her brutish handling by Nikolas Rokoff evokes a similar response in the ape man: "...the man seized the woman roughly by the wrist, twisting it as though to wring a promise from her through torture. What would have happened next had Rokoff had his way we may only conjecture, since he did not have his way at all. Instead, steel fingers gripped his shoulder, and he was swung unceremoniously around, to meet the cold gray eyes of the stranger who had thwarted him on the previous day."

In addition to manhandling the villain, Tarzan takes the opportunity to reply to a note he had received from Rokoff. After spoiling Rokoff's plan to brand Count de Coude (her husband) as a card cheater, Rokoff writes Tarzan a note, offering to forget the whole matter if Tarzan would apologize to him.

Here, Tarzan says: "This is my answer to your note, monsieur," and then hurls Rokoff against the ship's rail.

It's probably just as well. It was uncharacteristic of Rokoff to write such a conciliatory note in the first place, and he probably was not even sincere about it. So, Tarzan's response was perfectly fitting.

Later, Tarzan hears Rokoff and Paulvitch plotting some more mischief and, following them, sees Rokoff trick the woman into opening her cabin door, so that Paulvitch can enter and assault her. The plan is to spread a rumor aboard the ship that the countess has been entertaining a man in her room, thus causing a scandal for the high-born pair.

Tarzan breaks down the door to the room. Paulvitch, enraged by something Olga said, is attempting to strangle her. Paulvitch backs off when Tarzan bursts in. Olga begs Tarzan not to call the ship's authorities and so the ape-man dispenses justice, jungle style, by shoving the two cads down the passageway, "giving each an added impetus down the corridor with the toe of his boot."

At this point, Tarzan still does not know Olga's name, but begins to wonder that both she and the Count de Coude (Chapter 1) should be harassed by these men and both should be desirous that the matters not be reported to the authorities.

A couple of days later, though, Tarzan has a chance encounter with Olga on board ship, and she thanks him again and also introduces herself. So, finally, Tarzan realizes he has aided both her and her husband.

The ship docks in Paris. Will he ever see the Count and Countess again; is he done with Rokoff and Paulvitch?

- - - - -
"Mon Dieu!" he soliloquized, "but they are all alike. Cheating, murdering, lying, fighting, and all for things that the beasts of the jungle would not deign to possess—money to purchase the effeminate pleasures of weaklings. And yet withal bound down by silly customs that make them slaves to their unhappy lot while firm in the belief that they be the lords of creation enjoying the only real pleasures of existence. In the jungle one would scarcely stand supinely aside while another took his mate. It is a silly world, an idiotic world, and Tarzan of the Apes was a fool to renounce the freedom and the happiness of his jungle to come into it."

1. A first edition of "The Return of Tarzan" is most likely to be the state of this book in the library of most ERB fans:
The jacket for this book is extremely rare, and high-priced if and when one in any condition is found for sale.
2. While the jacket with the N.C. Wyeth art is rarely found on surviving first editions, there are more reprint editions,
published by the A.L. Burt Co. and Grosset & Dunlap with the same jacket art, so fans can at least have one of these in their collections
and enjoy the "look" of the first edition jacket if not the actual jacket itself.

Tarzan’s ship docks and the ape-man goes to visit his friend, Paul D’Arnot, in Paris . D’Arnot remonstrates with Tarzan over his spur-of-the-moment decision to renounce his title, but Tarzan shrugs it off, saying that “As for my birthright – it is in good hands. Clayton is not guilty of robbing me of it.”

At the same time, Tarzan seeks D’Arnot’s assistance in finding suitable employment for him, as Tarzan’s starting bankroll of 10,000 francs (earned by winning a bet near the end of “Apes") is no doubt running low. D’Arnot reminds the ape-man that he has plenty of money and will be happy to share with Tarzan, but the ape-man insists: “I must live, and so I must have it; but I shall be more contented with something to do.”

Tarzan embarks on a crash course in civilization, visiting the cultural spots in Paris during the day, and sampling the night life with D’Arnot each evening.

One evening, however, when alone, Tarzan strolls through the Rue Maule, a dangerous section of Paris . But Rokoff skulks in the background and has arranged an ambush to wreak vengeance on Tarzan. A woman’s scream draws the ape-man into a building with rescue in mind, but it is a trap, and 10 thugs, called apaches, surround and beset the lone gentleman of the evening.

What ensues is Tarzan action as we like it. “He was in a dozen places at once…Now a wrist-bone snapped in his iron grip, now a shoulder was wrenched from its socket…With shrieks of pain the men escaped….”

When the police arrive on the scene, the woman Tarzan thought needed rescuing turns into his accuser, claiming the men were trying to save her from Tarzan’s evil advances. Tarzan is dumbfounded! But he is not off-guard: As the police surround him, we read: “With the smell of blood the last vestige of civilization had deserted Tarzan, and now he stood at bay, like a lion surrounded by hunters, awaiting the next overt act, and crouching to charge its author.”

In previous instances in the first two Tarzan books, we have seen that Tarzan reacts with primal force when some scoundrel dares to lay a hand upon a helpless woman. Here, we see that Tarzan is also rather put off (shall we say, old chap?) by someone grabbing his own body!! As an officer advances “to lay his hand upon Tarzan’s shoulder,” we read: “An instant later he lay crumpled in a corner of the room.” Following a brief fight with the rest of the officers, Tarzan springs to the sill of an open window and leaps, panther-like, onto the pole across the wall. He avoids the police by leaping from rooftop to rooftop, as he used to leap from tree to tree in the jungle.

Eventually able to take to the street again, Tarzan happens to see the Countess Olga de Coude go by in a limousine, and she gives him a friendly wave.

"Rokoff and the Countess de Coude both in the same evening," he soliloquized. "Paris is not so large, after all."

- - - - -

We expect Tarzan to put up a great fight, and even win, against overwhelming odds. Here, against 10 men, he is the victor. Later, when he ventures into Opar, he also does a lot of damage to the beast men but is eventually overwhelmed by the sheer force of numbers. And "force of numbers" is the only way that Tarzan should ever be overhwhelmed. That's why we get so aggravated when a movie like "The Legend of Tarzan" has the ape man quickly hog-tied by just two, or at the most three, regular-size guys when they raid the Waziri village.
- - - - -
“You know that I am but half civilized even now. Let me see red in anger but for a moment, and all the instincts of the savage beast that I really am, submerge what little I possess of the milder ways of culture and refinement.”

1. Grosset & Dunlap's edition of "The Return of Tarzan" was first published in 1927
and followed by later editions which had pretty much the same look.
This is an earlier edition. During World War II, G&D published thinner editions on cheaper paper and binding.
The jackets on the wartimes were distinguished by a blue diamond on the spine
as well as by other differences on the back of the jacket and end flaps of the jacket.
The binding on the earlier G&D books was a standard red
whereas the wartimes were colored a much darker red and had a notice on the title page,
that they was produced in wartime.


The Countess Olga de Coude isn't the only one who proffers an explanation in this chapter. After the incident in the Rue Maule, Tarzan of the Apes also has some explaining to the police.

Tarzan tells D'Arnot of his adventures in the Rue Maule, when the scream of a woman lured him into a tenement, where he was beset upon by Parisian ruffians, known as apaches. It was all a trick, cooked up by Rokoff to avenge himself on the ape man. And when the police were summoned, the enraged ape man had turned upon them, as well.

D'Arnot realizes that Tarzan must face the police and make an explanation. So, he arranges for Tarzan to see a police official, and tells the man Tarzan's incredible story. The officer summons the policemen who were bested by Tarzan, and they are told the story as well. The tension is finally ended when Tarzan himself walks toward the officers with outstretched hand and says, "I am sorry for the mistake I made. Let us be friends."

And so, Tarzan learns something more of civilization, and of the role of policemen. Though he had earlier said, "They will never lock Tarzan of the Apes behind iron bars," he now understands that, though he could lick a dozen of them, he must follow the rules made by men, for men, and, as D'Arnot impressed upon him: "...hereafter you must obey the law. If its represenatives say 'Come,' you must come; if they say 'Go,' you must go."

The incident over, D'Arnot receives a letter from William Cecil Clayton, letting him know that he and the lovely Jane Porter are to be wed in two months.

A night at the opera wasn't enough to distract Tarzan from thoughts of Jane. Ah, but there was something that could distract the ape man. Countess Olga was also in attendance at the performance that evening and, in a brief aside, she invited the ape man to visit the following evening so she could explain some of the events of the past few days.

Unfortunately, Nikolas Rokoff seemed to skulk behind every curtain, and he is privy to their brief conversation. He shows up at the De Coude home early, bribes a servant, and finds a hiding place in Olga's room.

When Tarzan arrives, Olga explains to him that her husband is a government official privy to official secrets and that Rokoff and Paulvitch are Russian agents, seeking to obtain information from him through blackmail or some other means.

She further reveals that Rokoff is actually her brother, and that he has information about an indiscretion in her past which, though, minor, could cause embarrassment for her husband.

At Tarzan's encouragement, she vows to tell her husband all. But, when the ape man departs, Rokoff emerges and, with glee, informs his sister that he now has something new to use against her -- the visit of Tarzan. Says Rokoff, "I have this affair now, and with the help of one of your servants whom I may trust it will lack nothing in the telling when the time comes...."

Tarzan, in his simplicity, did not seem to realize that Olga may have been interested in more than just giving him an explanation, but Rokoff charged: "Had he one-tenth the knowledge of women that I have you would be in his arms this minute. He is a stupid fool, Olga. Why, your every word and act was an open invitation to him, and he had not the sense to see it."

Rokoff, though a cad, probably knew his sister well enough to speak accurately. As she pondered the events of the evening, her vague fear was transferred to a very tangible one. "It may be, too, that conscience helped to enlarge it out of all proportion."


Tarzan ponders the mysterious ways of women in this chapter.

First, there is the woman whose false cries of alarm lured Tarzan into the tenement. And, the ape man was dumbounded when the police arrived and she accused Tarzan of being the one who attacked her. To the relatively innocent ape man, unwise in the ways of the world, this was totally incomprehensible: "I did not realize, I could not realize for a long time afterward, that any woman could sink to such moral depravity as that one must have to call a would-be rescuer to death."

Then there was the hard-to-figure Jane. "...he saw only the lovely vision of a beautiful American girl, and heard naught but a sad, sweet voice acknowledging that his love was returned. And she was to marry another!"

Then there was Olga, who had been brought up to fear all men, especially husbands! "I learned early to fear men. First my father, then Nikolas, then the fathers in the convent. Nearly all my friends fear their husbands—why should I not fear mine?"

But Tarzan has another philosophy: "...I cannot understand why civilized women should fear men, the beings that are created to protect them. I should hate to think that any woman feared me."

- - - - -
"Well," said D'Arnot, "among other things, it has taught you what I have been unable to impress upon you—that the Rue Maule is a good place to avoid after dark."

"On the contrary," replied Tarzan, with a smile, "it has convinced me that it is the one worth-while street in all Paris. Never again shall I miss an opportunity to traverse it, for it has given me the first real entertainment I have had since I left Africa."

Pictured: Front and back covers and spine of "the Return of Tarzan" Big Little Book, 1936.


"The Plot That Failed" could have been the title for Chapter I, when Tarzan foiled Rokoff's plot to brand Count de Coude as a card cheat.
It could have been the title for Chapter II, when Tarzan foiled Rokoff's plot to put the Countess in a compromising position with Paulvitch.
It could have been the title for Chapter III, in which Tarzan spoils Rokoff's plot to have the ape man murdered.
In fact, it could have been the title for several chapters in "Return" and "Beasts" as, again and again, Rokoff's education and cunning is no match for Tarzan's jungle-honed senses, skills and strengths.

One might compare Rokoff to Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman in "Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein." Again and again, these demonic creatures, who wreaked havoc and mayhem in other movies, are thwarted by the simplest moves of the comedy pair. Tarzan, of course, is much more competent than Bud and Lou, but Rokoff, for all his presumed smarts, is the poster child for incompetent villainy.

This time, the intricately engineered plot is to have Tarzan lured into the boudoir of the countess at a moment when she is negligee-clad, and to arrange for her husband to burst on the scene just a few minutes later. Instant scandal! And, a tool Rokoff can use, at once, for revenge on Tarzan and, potentially, enough blackmail material to force the Count into giving up sensitive government secrets.

The plot seems to work pretty well, to a certain point, with Tarzan and Olga, indeed, ending up in a spontaneous embrace just before the suspicion-primed count charges in. But, from there, Tarzan does what Rokoff, with all his wiles, did not anticipate. Tarzan goes to Rokoff's apartments and, in his simple, ape man way, threatens to kill him if he dares to speak of the matter to the French newspapers, as he had planned.

Yes, when diplomacy falls short, resort to simple brute force -- a skill well suited to and expertly employed by Tarzan, and another reason we all enjoy his adventures so much.

In fact, when Tarzan says "neither of you will be alive when I pass through that doorway," unless Rokoff does his bidding, it isn't really a "pardon" for Rokoff, but rather a "stay of execution." For, in the last sentence of the chapter, the ape-man predicts: "...sooner or later I shall find an excuse to kill you...."

- - - - -
Fans can't seem to stop speculating about where ERB got his ideas. But how many have gotten their ideas from ERB? I wonder if the creator of the character, The Incredible Hulk, had ever read this passage:

"...the ape man turned just in time to ward with his arm a terrific blow that De Coude had aimed at his head. Once, twice, three times the heavy stick fell with lightning rapidity, and each blow aided in the transition of the ape man back to the primordial....

"With the low, guttural snarl of the bull ape he sprang for the Frenchman. The great stick was torn from his grasp and broken in two as though it hada been matchwood, to be flung aside as the now infuriated beast charged for his adversary's throat...choking the life from him -- shaking him as a terrier might shake a rat...Tarzan was deaf with rage."

Then, after the fight:

"Slowly the red mist faded from before Tarzan's eyes. Things began to take form -- he was regaining the perspective of civilized man."

- - - - -
ERB used a writing technique more often found in the movies. When Rokoff was setting up the plot, he telephoned D'Arnot's apartment to give Tarzan the false message that would send him hurrying to Olga's quarters. The phone call dialogue appears to have been written for a movie scene. In a movie, when only one side of a telephone call is shown, we hear the caller speaking, then listening, then speaking again, and so forth. We figure out what the other person has said by listening to the one side of the conversation we can hear.

But, in a book, most authors report both sides of the conversation. Yet, here, Burroughs reports only Rokoff's words. It's an unusual enough writing style that it stands out to the reader (as it did to me).

- - - - -
"In startled guilt they looked suddenly into each other's eyes, and where Olga de Coude should have been strong, she was weak, for she crept closer into the man's arms, and clasped her own about his neck. And Tarzan of the Apes? He took the panting figure into his mighty arms, and covered the hot lips with kisses."
1. George Newnes Ltd. of London published this edition of "The Return of Tarzan"
in soft covers in 1929, with an A. Gelli cover.
Information from "Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology, Vol. 2: The Books," by Michael Tierney
2. C.A. Ransom & Co., London, published "The Return of Tarzan" with a paperback cover by Harry Woolley in 1930.
Information from "Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology, Vol. 2: The Books," by Michael Tierney


After Tarzan smothers Olga de Coude with kisses and then beats up her interfering husband (Gee...that sounds bad, doesn't it?) he tells all to D'Arnot.

"What a fool I have been," he concluded. "De Coude and his wife were both my friends. How have I returned their friendship? Barely did I escape murdering the count. I have cast a stigma on the name of a good woman. It is very probable that I have broken up a happy home."

Tarzan feels the best thing is just to leave Paris and go back to live out his life in the jungle he knows and loves. But before he can take steps to do so, a messenger is sent on behalf of the count to arrange a settlement of this matter of honor. In other words, Tarzan has been challenged to a duel.

"Now to my sins I must add murder, or else myself be killed," said Tarzan. "I am progressing rapidly in the ways of my civilized brothers."

Tarzan muses about fighting the duel with poisoned arrows or spears, but his practical choices are swords or pistols. Despite the fact that De Coude is an expert marksman, Tarzan chooses pistols. He does not seem concerned about the prospect of death. "I must die some day," he said.

Tarzan gets a good night's sleep before the duel at dawn. When the moment itself arrives, and the two men, back to back, march 10 paces and then turn, Tarzan surprises all by refusing to raise his weapon, instead allowing De Coude to fire all three of his rounds at him. Two of the bullets give Tarzan flesh wounds and the third misses, as the count is somewhat shaken by Tarzan's passive stance. When De Coude's gun is empty, Tarzan walks toward him and attempts to hand De Coude his own pistol, butt first, so that the count can continue firing.

"...I deserve to die. It is the only way in which I may atone for the wrong I have done a very good woman," Tarzan explained.

Tarzan then takes all responsibility for the brief encounter, and produces the note that Rokoff wrote, luring him to the countess's quarters in the first place.

Suddenly, it all becomes clear to De Coude and, instantly, all is forgiven and, friends once again, they ride back in the same car together.

Tarzan's wounds are treated although he dismisses them as minor, recalling his much more serious wounds at the claws of Bolgani and his far more primitive care at the loving hands of Kala.

When De Coude learns that Tarzan is seeking gainful employment, he secures for the ape-man a position which will make him a government agent, traveling to various parts of the world, with first stops in Marseilles and Oran. (And, one might add, far away from Paris and Olga!)

- - - - -
After the duel, when all are friends again, ERB writes: "He threw his arms about Tarzan and embraced him. Monsier Flaubert embraced D'Arnot. There was no one to embrace the doctor. So possibly it was pique which prompted him to interfere, and demand that he be permitted to dress Tarzan's wounds."
- - - - -
Under what circumstances may one be excused for a lie? After Tarzan takes all responsibility for the brief passionate encounter with Olga, ERB writes:

"It is true that the latter had assumed much more of the fault than was rightly his, but if he lied a little he may be excused, for he lied in the service of a woman, and he lied like a gentleman."

- - - - -
In Chapter 4, Tarzan had said, "They will never lock Tarzan of the Apes behind iron bars."

But he found Paris itself to be somewhat confining, with the freedom of his jungle days seriously limited: "Paris is no place for me. I will but continue to stumble into more and more serious pitfalls. The manmade restrictions are irksome. I feel always that I am a prisoner."

The friendship sub-theme of "The Return of Tarzan" is referenced again in this chapter. First, he laments the loss of his friendship with Raoul and Olga De Coude. Then, ERB comments on the relationship between Tarzan and D'Arnot: "The great friendship which had sprung up between these two men whose lives and training had been widely different had but been strengthened by association, for they were both men to whom the same high ideals of manhood, of personal courage, and of honor appealed with equal force. They could understand one another, and each could be proud of the friendship of the other."

Tarzan receives two bullet wounds in this chapter. In Tarzan of the Apes, he received one. How many more bullet wounds will Tarzan receive in the rest of the canon? Some, or none?

In the movie Greystoke, D'Arnot hums a tune in the jungle and is astonished to hear Tarzan mimic him. This makes him realize that he may be able to teach Tarzan to speak. In the books, this chapter contains a reference to Tarzan making music. Before he heads to bed, D'Arnot "...heard him humming a music-hall ditty."

The night before the duel, Tarzan writes "several letters" before bed. "After sealing and addressing them he placed them all in an envelope address (sic) to D'Arnot." Who do you think these "several" letters were addressed to, and what would their content have been?

" civilization is not even skin deep -- it does not go deeper than my clothes." -- Tarzan of the Apes

. .
1. French edition of "The Return of Tarzan"
2 and 3. Hachette published several French editions of "The Return of Tarzan"

ERBzine References:
The Return of Tarzan in C.H.A.S.E.R. Bibliography
Read the Entire Text of The Return of Tarzan
The Pulp Magazine Covers for The Return of Tarzan Featured in
The Pulp Bibliography
Bill Hillman Returns to Tarzan 1955
Return of Tarzan: 60 Strips from 1929 by Rex Maxon ~ Reprinted in ERBzine
The Return of Tarzan in the Gold Key Comic in ERBzine 2556
The Return of Tarzan in DC Comics: 5 Issues starting at ERBzine 5719

Summary and Comments by John Martin

PART I: ERBzine 7007
Chapters 1-6
PART II: ERBzine 7008
Chapters 7-12
PART III: ERBzine 7009
Chapters 13-18
PART IV: ERBzine 7010
Chapters 19-26


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