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Volume 7009

Part III: Chapters 13-18
Summary and Commentary
of All 26 Chapters
by John Martin


Villain Nikolas Rokoff is bad enough when he is at odds with Tarzan, but he is absolutely intolerable when we must suffer his oily solicitation of the unwary and beautiful Hazel Strong.

Having disposed of Tarzan the chapter before, when he and henchman  Alexis Paulvitch sneaked up on the ape-man and upended him overboard, he  begins playing up to the young Miss Strong, filling the void in her  life that has been created by the sudden absence of "Mr. Caldwell."

"The girl could not help but feel grateful to him for his kind  and encouraging words. He was with her often--almost constantly for the  remainder of the voyage--and she grew to like him very much indeed.  Monsieur Thuran [as Rokoff called himself] had learned that the  beautiful Miss Strong, of Baltimore, was an American heiress--a very  wealthy girl in her own right, and with future prospects that quite took  his breath away when he contemplated them, and since he spent most of  his time in that delectable pastime it is a wonder that he breathed at  all."

When "Thuran" learns that Hazel and her mother plan to stay several  months in Cape Town, he suddenly finds a reason to stay there also. It  was important to Russia that he return there with the stolen government  secrets he lifted from Tarzan, but it is more important for Rokoff's  greed that he dog Hazel to Cape Town.

Hazel's mom, with a mother's instinct, is suspicious of Thuran, but  no one else is. "I do not know why I should distrust him," she said to  Hazel one day as they were discussing him. "He seems a perfect gentleman  in every respect, but sometimes there is something about his eyes--a  fleeting expression which I cannot describe, but which when I see it  gives me a very uncanny feeling."

He makes a mistake by proposing to Hazel too early in their  relationship, but it doesn't seem to do him that much harm. Hazel says  she hasn't thought of him "that way" and needs time to consider.

By chance, Hazel runs into Jane Porter in Cape Town . Obviously, half of her party's yacht voyage around Africa is over!

Rokoff gets the idea that Lord Tennington, owner of the Lady Alice,  might invite the Strongs to sail with him, and, to ensure himself a  place aboard the yacht, Rokoff lies to Tennington, telling him that he  and Hazel are engaged but that it is a secret until they reach England .

Aboard the yacht, Hazel shows Jane some photos, including one of the ill-fated Mr. Caldwell, whom Jane recognizes as Tarzan.

" 'And he is dead! Oh! Hazel, it is horrible! He died all alone  in this terrible ocean! It is unbelievable that that brave heart should  have ceased to beat--that those mighty muscles are quiet and cold  forever! That he who was the personification of life and health and  manly strength should be the prey of slimy, crawling things, that--' But  she could go no further, and with a little moan she buried her head in  her arms, and sank sobbing to the floor."

Jane becomes a forlorn figure aboard the yacht, but that is just  the start of troubles. An engine goes out, a squall tosses the tiny  craft, crewmen start fighting each other, and the first mate falls  overboard and drowns. Finally, the craft strikes a floating derelict and  is damaged so badly it starts sinking.

Those on the yacht load provisions and themselves into four  lifeboats. Jane ends up in a boat with her finace, William Cecil  Clayton, Thuran/Rokoff, and three crew members. After a night on the  ocean, she wakes to the startling realization that their boat has become  separated from the other three during the night.

- - - - -
An insult to Hazel: Times have changed. Aboard the passenger liner,  Rokoff attempts to console Hazel Strong for not realizing that the  object she saw fall from the ship was actually John Caldwell. In  consoling her, he actually insults her, but she doesn't seem to notice  the way a more modern woman would. What is the insult? Here is the  passage:

" 'You must not reproach yourself, my dear Miss Strong,' urged  Monsieur Thuran. 'It was in no way your fault. Another would have done  as you did. Who would think that because something fell into the sea  from a ship that it must necessarily be a man? Nor would the outcome  have been different had you given an alarm. For a while they would have  doubted your story, thinking it but the nervous hallucination of a  woman--had you insisted it would have been too late to have rescued him  by the time the ship could have been brought to a stop, and the boats  lowered and rowed back miles in search of the unknown spot where the  tragedy had occurred. No, you must not censure yourself. You have done  more than any other of us for poor Mr. Caldwell--you were the only one  to miss him. It was you who instituted the search.' "

The girl could not help but feel grateful to him for his kind and encouraging words.

What do St. Petersburg and the Black Sea have in common, as far as this chapter is concerned?
Who was Mr. Brentley?
Why didn't Thuran/Rokoff arrange to get himself in the same lifeboat with Hazel?

As of this chapter, there was, in existence, at least one  photograph of Tarzan of the Apes. What happened to it? Did Hazel keep it  with the items she took into the lifeboat, or was it lost forever with  the wreck of the Lady Alice?

Paulvitch was with Rokoff in the previous chapter. He is not mentioned at all in this chapter. What happened to him?

- - - - -
"By the time mutual explanations had been made Hazel knew that  Lord Tennington's yacht had put in at Cape Town for at least a week's  stay, and at the end of that time was to continue on her voyage--this  time up the West Coast--and so back to England . 'Where,' concluded  Jane, 'I am to be married.'

'Then you are not married yet?' asked Hazel.

'Not yet,' replied Jane, and then, quite irrelevantly, "I wish England were a million miles from here.' "

1. Before the modern Edgar Rice Burroughs paperback boom began in the U.S., it had already started in Great Britain in the late 50s.
According to Michael Tierney in Vol. 2 of "Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology,
" Four Square started by releasing an eight-book set in 1959 with a light blue title box at the top of the covers,
which their second printings moved to the bottom in a variety of colors." In the case of "Return," the bottom color box was a darker blue.
"The Return of Tarzan" was printed twice in 1959, again in 1960 and a fourth time in 1961, Tierney reported. Art is by Edward Mortelmans.
2. A dark blue color title box at the bottom of the Four Square edition of "The Return of Tarzan"
identifies it as a later printing, since their initial printing of the first eight Tarzan books
featured the titles in light-blue color boxes at the top of the cover.


This is one of the greatest chapters in the Tarzan saga so far. Here we have Tarzan at his best, Tarzan as he is supposed to be...on his own, self-sufficient, roaming his jungle at will, taking what he wants, doing what he wants, and all at his own pace, unhindered by man's artificial deadlines and civilization's constraints. "Back to the Primitive" -- a great title for such a chapter. It says it all.

And, it's the chapter we have been waiting for; the chapter we have been longing for.

It's time to get back to the Tarzan we know and love, the one who is Lord of the Jungle, King of the Apes, the Master of all he surveys!

And what a refreshing thing it is to come upon this chapter After just having endured a whole chapter of the machinations of Monsieur Thuran, it's time for a breath of fresh air. It's time for Tarzan!

We waited awhile for this. Tarzan was taken by surprise at the end of Chapter 12 and pitched headlong off the ocean liner and into the water by Nikolas Rokoff (aka Monsieur Thuran) and his co-thug Alexis Paulvitch.

Then, we had to wade through Chapter 13 while "Thuran" wormed his way into the lives of Hazel Strong and her mother and, later, into the party of Lord Tennington and Jane Porter herself!

Now, we go back slightly in time to see what happened to Tarzan once he was pitched from that ship's deck.

We find that, when Tarzan landed in the water, his first instinct was one of self-preservation, swimming clear of the ship's propellers and then treading water while contemplating his situation. This brings us to one of my favorite passages in the whole Tarzan series, one that I have thought of often over the years:

"He lay thus for some time, watching the receding and rapidly diminishing lights of the steamer without it ever once occurring to him to call for help. He never had called for help in his life, and so it is not strange that he did not think of it now. Always had he depended upon his own prowess and resourcefulness, nor had there ever been since the days of Kala any to answer an appeal for succor. When it did occur to him it was too late."

This is a passage that well describes the persona of Tarzan, and no doubt it is one of the reasons we enjoy reading about him so much: He's confident, leaning on no one else, dependent upon no other, accountable to no one other than himself. He is Tarzan, the Ape-Man, and that is enough.

Aided by some knowledge of the stars he gained during his time in civilization, Tarzan swims in what he believes to be the direction of shore, casting off his impeding garments as he goes.

He probably could have swam all the way to shore, but he has the good fortune of coming across a derelict and discovers a small boat among the wreckage. In that, with a makeshift paddle, he completes his journey to shore and discovers that fate has brought him to the very landlocked harbor and the cabin in which he was born.

Tarzan of the Apes had come into his own again, and that all the world might know it he threw back his young head, and gave voice to the fierce, wild challenge of his tribe. For a moment silence reigned upon the jungle, and then, low and weird, came an answering challenge--it was the deep roar of Numa, the lion; and from a great distance, faintly, the fearsome answering bellow of a bull ape.

Tarzan first quenched his thirst, then entered his old cabin. He knew he would need to eat soon. One of his old grass ropes hung on the wall and he grabbed it and headed off into the jungle. Tarzan wished he had a knife but he knew the rope was his first key to getting food, and later a blade and other weapons.

Tarzan lies in wait in a tree until Horta the Boar ventures by, and Tarzan lassoes and drags the startled animal into the tree just in time to win it from an attacking lion. Here is great jungle fun, as Tarzan strangles the boar and then sinks his teeth into the flesh while the enraged lion roars in anger and frustration below.

As Tarzan wipes his bloody hands on some leaves, we are told of the more genteel scene at dinner aboard the Lady Alice which, at this time, is in the Indian Ocean. And so, timewise, Chapter 14 is a flashback, or "catchup" chapter, as the events of Chapter 13 had not yet happened at this time.

The Ape-Man spends a peaceful night, sleeping on the mildewed grass of his bed in his parents' old cabin, and there was probably seldom as restful a night for the one who had come home to sleep in his own bed.

The next day, Tarzan seeks out the old cannibal village to steal a knife and weapons, but finds it long abandoned. So, he begins moving through the jungle to find another dwelling place of African man.

As he traveled he hunted as he had hunted with his ape people in the past, as Kala had taught him to hunt, turning over rotted logs to find some toothsome vermin, running high into the trees to rob a bird's nest, or pouncing upon a tiny rodent with the quickness of a cat. There were other things that he ate, too, but the less detailed the account of an ape's diet, the better--and Tarzan was again an ape, the same fierce, brutal anthropoid that Kala had taught him to be, and that he had been for the first twenty years of his life.

Tarzan eventually finds a native and follows him to kill him and get his weapons. But, he begins having second thoughts, borne of the refining influences of civilization. The more he thinks, the more that this type of killing becomes repugnant to him. Then, he notices that Numa the lion is also stalking the man, and jumps down to help the man as the lion attacks.

Tarzan teams up with the native and, when the beast is dead, Tarzan does not give the victory cry of the bull ape. Instead:

"...Tarzan arose, and the black man and the white looked into each other's eyes across the body of their kill--and the black made the sign of peace and friendship, and Tarzan of the Apes answered in kind."

What thrills the chapter has for us! We see the jungle superman survive certain death in the ocean, then see him return to his primitive roots and then...a new element. Yes, Tarzan has returned to the jungle, and he is at home there as ever, but something new has been added to the mix: Friendship with a native who might just as easily have become his enemy. What will this new friendship mean? What direction will the story take with this new relationship? The reader must keep turning pages to find the answers!

- - - - -
"Thus easily did Monsieur Jean C. Tarzan slough the thin skin of his artificial civilization, and sink happy and contented into the deep sleep of the wild beast that has fed to repletion. Yet a woman's "yes" would have bound him to that other life forever, and made the thought of this savage existence repulsive."


I labeled the previous chapter as "one of the greatest" so far because it is pure "Tarzan in the jungle," living the way we often think of him, when he isn't having specific adventures of one sort or another.

The title of Chapter 15 might evoke a question: Is the transition from "ape" to "savage" a step up, or a step back? It's both.

After saving Busuli's life, Tarzan is welcomed as a member of the Waziri tribe. Tarzan muses that, compared to his life in Paris, where D'Arnot made his best effort to civilize the ape man, it's a step back. But from the lowliness of being a mere ape, it's a step up. As he contrasted thoughts of Paris with those of his new membership in the tribe, we read: "'How quickly have I fallen!'....but in his heart he did not consider it a fall -- rather he pitied the poor creatures of Paris, penned up like prisoners in their silly clothes, and watched by policemen all their poor lives, that they might do nothing that was not entirely artificial and tiresome."

(This description of a policeman's duties are from an author who once served as a railroad policeman in Salt Lake City.)

Tarzan actually took his own road to being a law-abiding citizen, thanks in part to a lion in the previous chapter. The ape-man had been stalking Busuli with the plan of killing him for his weapons when he began questioning his intentions, due to his exposure to civilization. When a lion attacked Busuli, that settled the matter and Tarzan joined his intended victim in dispatching the beast.

This was Tarzan's ticket to a welcome among Busuli's tribe, and during the evening celebration, we read: "How much easier this was, thought Tarzan, than murder and robbery to supply his wants. How close he had been to killing this man whom he never had seen before, and who now was manifesting by every primitive means at his command friendship and affection for his would-be slayer. Tarzan of the Apes was ashamed. Hereafter he would at least wait until he knew men deserved it before he thought of killing them."

Some readers have wondered if Tarzan was, in fact, a murderer the time he stalked and killed the slayer of his mother, Kala. This passage shows that Tarzan, for one, applied the term to his own intentions on at least this particular occasion.

The ape-man is both at home, and not at home, with his Waziri friends. In what might be seen as a racist statement (another subject which genders debate among ERB fans), the author writes of Tarzan's favorable impression of the Waziri: "Tarzan was again impressed by the symmetry of their figures and the regularity of their features -- the flat noses and thick lips of the typical West Coast savages was entirely missing. In repose the faces of the men were intelligent and dignified, those of the women ofttimes prepossessing." And Tarzan feels a sense of belonging with these people: "Except for color he was one of them. His ornaments and weapons were the same as theirs -- he spoke their language -- he laughed and joked with them, and leaped and shouted in the brief wild dance that preceded their departure from the village, to all intent and purpose a savage among savages."

Though impressed with their looks and behavior and happy with his identification with them, Tarzan was not "at home" with the thought of spending a night in one of their huts, preferring the open air comfort of a swaying tree to the likelihood of rodent infestation near any sleeping mat upon which he might lie.

Tarzan learns the history of the Waziri: They were once more in number but their ranks were riddled by slave traders and they moved many miles into the jungle to avoid them. Tarzan also sees that some of the natives wear golden baubles, and he learns how these were obtained from the bodies of strange men who attacked the Waziri near a faraway lost city. This is the first mention of a place the reader will come to know as Opar, the most famous lost city in the canon and one which will receive repeat visits from the ape-man over the years.

This is also the chapter with the great elephant hunt, which has mystified some readers who know that Tarzan, otherwise, has been a great friend of Tantor. Tarzan indeed goes on the hunt with the Waziri and helps them find their prey, but his only reported elephant kill is to save Busuli's life.

The chapter ends with the sound of faraway rifle shots from the direction of the Waziri village, and the warriors know the slave traders have returned.

- - - - -
There were two words I looked up. ERB called the faces of the women "prepossessing." That's one of those words I've heard a few times over the years and knew it meant something fairly benign, but never had occasion to know the exact definition until now: It is an adjective that means "impresses favorably; engaging or attractive."

The other word was "temerarious," describing Tarzan's challenge to the charging bull elephant. It means "reckless, rash."

- - - - -
Who was Chowambi?
- - - - -
"Really Tarzan of the Apes was but a child, or a primeval man, which is the same thing in a way."

1. The cover for the May 1951 W.H. Allen edition of "The Return of Tarzan" depicts a scene
which might not remind anyone of events in that story, but that's because the book artist "
...borrowed from the hardcover of the Pellucidar tale, 'Land of Terror',"
according to Michael Tierney in Vol. 2 of "Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology."
The artist is unknown, Tierney wrote, but the same artist also did covers for Allen editions of
"Tarzan the Untamed" and "Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar."
2. Back cover of a W.H. Allen book shows the Brits used a slightly different numbering system!
3. The House of Greystoke, the publishing arm of The Burroughs Bibliophiles,
published the Rex Maxon daily newspaper strips for "The Return of Tarzan" in softcover book form,
the size of a trade paperback. It was also known as "Illustrated Tarzan Books No. 2."
"Return" had 68 pages and was published in 1968.
The BB went on to publish a couple dozen more collections of strips
and text from Tarzan stories as well as things such as other ERB works.
The Return of Tarzan: 60 Daily Strips from 1929 by Rex Maxon ~ Reprinted in ERBzine


While most of the Waziri men are off on an elephant hunt, Arabs and their Manyeuma cohorts attack the Waziri village and murder wantonly. They are after the Waziri ivory.

The elephant hunt is only five miles away, so Tarzan and the Waziri hear the gunshots and, as they head to the village, soon encounter fleeing escapees.

The Waziri are all for charging the village, but Tarzan asks them to wait while he reconnoiters. When he returns, Waziri, chief of the Waziri, has worked himself into a lather because he has learned -- from an escapee -- how his wife was tortured and killed. Recklessly, the chief leads an assault on the village and rifle fire kills him and some others.

Tarzan then points out they will all be slaughtered by the guns of the invaders. He tells them to scatter and re-gather later. Meanwhile, Tarzan doubles back through the upper terraces and, as the invaders leave the village virtually deserted in order to chase the scattering Waziri, Tarzan goes inside the palisade and rescues 50 tribe members who are chained together.

That evening, all are reunited and the Waziri agree to follow Tarzan's plan.

The best marksmen sneak into trees around the village and begin silently firing an arrow here and an arrow there into exposed raiders, stirring up the fear of an unseen enemy.

"It does not take a great deal of this manner of warfare to get upon the nerves of white men, and so it is little to be wondered at that the Manyueme were soon panic-stricken," ERB writes.

Bouyed by their success, the Waziri once again want to charge the village and finish the job, and Tarzan has to remind them again how much better his tactic has been working. "You are crazy!" he said. "I have shown you the only way to fight these people. Already you have killed twenty of them without the loss of a single warrior, whereas, yesterday, following your own tactics, which you would now renew, you lost at least a dozen, and killed not a single Arab or Manyuema. You will fight just as I tell you to fight, or I shall leave you and go back to my own country."

No one wants Tarzan to leave, and so they agree to follow his plan. That night, Tarzan goes back to the village alone for a little more psychological warfare. He drops into the village and sneaks up on a lone sentry, knife in hand. When but two paces from the sentry, a sixth sense warns the fellow and he turns and faces the ape-man.

- - - - -
"And when Tarzan of the Apes elected to adopt stealth, no creature in all the jungle could move so silently or so completely efface himself from the sight of an enemy."

1. If you live in Poland, this could be your copy of "The Return of Tarzan."
2. A copy of "The Return of Tarzan" likely to be found in the collection of a fan in Hungary.


If the opening of this chapter was a comic book during the code days, it might not have been approved. If it were a modern movie, it might be rated R for violence. Here, in grisly, gruesome detail, ERB describes what it's like for the victim to die at the bare hands of Tarzan.

At the end of the last chapter, Tarzan was sneaking up on the lone sentry to dispatch him with his knife. It would have been quick and relatively painless. Unfortunately, the sentry turned at the last moment and faced Tarzan. Unfortunately for the sentry, that is.

As this chapter opens, Tarzan takes the matter in hand. Both hands. And as Tarzan chokes the life out of his hapless enemy, we read every excruciating, gory detail: "His eyes bulged, his tongue protruded, his face turned to a ghastly purplish hue -- there was a convulsive tremor of the stiffening muscles, and the Manyuema sentry lay quite still."

Ah, blessed stillness. A welcome relief from the horrors of dying in the grip of the ape-man.

After reading of Tarzan's killing prowess, we are next treated to a display of his incredible skill in the arboreal heights. Tarzan carries the body to the top of a tree that overhangs the palisade, parks it temporarily, and -- carrying the sentry's rifle -- "...walked far out upon a limb, from the end of which he could obtain a better view of the huts."

When you think about it, this is an amazing feat. The end of any limb is bound to be flimsy, and yet there is Tarzan, not crouching, not wrapping his arms and legs around the limb for dear life, but actually walking on it!!

It gets better. Next, he takes the dead sentry's rifle and fires a bullet into one of the huts, and doesn't even seem to be phased, let alone knocked off his flimsy perch, by the recoil!

He does this twice.

He also, at one point, while still on the limb, "...stood swinging the dead body of the sentry gently to and fro, suddenly shot the corpse far out above their heads."

How could anyone hope to stand up against a fellow who can do all this?

The chapter starts with Tarzan's breathtaking feats of strength and balance, and then continues with his mastery of mental warfare.

The Arabs and the Manyuema, who have killed many of the Waziri tribe to steal their ivory, prepare to set out for home the next morning, with the Arab's Manyuema underlings carrying the ivory.

They decide to burn the village before they leave, but Tarzan calls out from the bushes, telling them not to. Naturally, one bold Arab decides to do it anyway, and Tarzan stands erect on a swaying branch 100 feet above the ground and fells the Arab with a rifle shot. The Arabs think better of burning the village, and depart with the ivory, ignoring another warning from Tarzan to leave it behind.

Then, the real fun begins as the party of about 250 starts a trek back to Arab country.

Tarzan directs the Waziri fighters to simply hide themselves along the trail and kill -- with arrow or spear -- any time they have a good, safe shot. The math works out to about 72 killed over a three-day stretch, at the average of about one per hour, taking a psychological as well as physical toll on the expedition members, who never know where the next missile will come from, when it will come, or whose body it will penetrate.

Finally, they're down to 30 Arabs and 150 blacks.

Tarzan speaks from the jungle, pointing out to the blacks that they outnumber the Arabs and suggesting they kill them before any more of the blacks die. The Manyeuma see the logic of this and turn on their Arab masters, shooting them to death.

Tarzan makes good on his promise to feed the Manyeuma and release them, in return for them packing the ivory back to the Waziri village.

That night, Busuli formally nominates Tarzan as the new chief of the Waziri tribe, and the men "vote" by joining, one by one, in a dance of victory.

"And so," ERB writes, "Tarzan of the Apes came into a real kingship among men -- slowly but surely was he following the evolution of his ancestors, for had he not started at the very bottom?"

- - - - -
Tarzan is nominated for chief with Busuli's chant of: "Waziri, king of the Waziri." Then ERB explains: "In the center of the circle sat Tarzan of the Apes -- Waziri, king of the Waziri, for, like his predecessor, he was to take the name of his tribe as his own." But we read a couple of chapters ago that a previous chief of the Waziri, before Tarzan's predecessor took over, was named Chowambi. Was the tribe, back then, known as the Chowambi Tribe? If it was, then why don't the Waziri change the name of their tribe to "Tarzan" when the ape-man becomes chief? If it wasn't, why is Chowambi called Chowambi instead of Waziri?
- - - - -
"as the excitement waxed, the ape-man sprang to his feet and joined in the wild ceremony. In the center of the circle of glittering black bodies he leaped and roared and shook his heavy spear in the same mad abandon that enthralled his fellow savages. The last remnant of his civilization was forgotten -- he was primitive man to the fullest now, reveling in the freedom of the fierce, wild life he loved, gloating in his kingship among these wild blacks."
1. Flamingo Books, a division of Brown Watson Ltd.,
published the first four Tarzan novels in 1972 with Burne Hogarth covers.
2. "The Return of Tarzan" with cover art by W.F. Phillips was published in July 1975 by New English Library
More information on Tarzan covers in "Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology" by Michael Tierney.


We left Jane, Clayton and Rokoff (alias Monsieur Thuran) in a lifeboat at the end of Chapter XIII, "The Wreck of the Lady Alice." It's been so enjoyable to have four straight chapters of Tarzan triumphing in his element that the life boaters would have been almost forgotten had not ERB made a couple of brief references to them along the way.

But now, it's back to their predicament, and a grim chapter it turns out to be.

When daylight comes, they find their lifeboat has been separated from the others.

Next, they start bickering and soon the six are divided into two camps -- the three sailors (Wilson, Spider and Tompkins) and Thuran, Clayton and Jane. They divide up the cans of provisions, which turn out to be coal oil and gunpowder.

Jane starts noticing the true colors of "Thuran," who she had thought was a "gentleman." First, he remarks that all sailors are stupid, and then has the gall to ask one of them to "Pass one of those tins aft, my good man." Later, of course, he shows himself capable of cannibalism.

The sailors are hungry enough to eat the leather from their clothes, but after a few days, Tompkins dies. Wilson makes the first suggestion of cannibalism, saying "We may need him before tomorrow." However, the three other men manage to shove the body overboard.

Wilson then starts going nuts and eventually tries to sneak up on a sleeping Clayton and bite his throat. Others stop him and he jumps overboard in a crazed frenzy.

Thuran then proposes a "lottery of death" which, unbeknownst to the other two remaining men, he will win, due to a bit of trickery.
Spider is the first loser but he, too, jumps overboard in fear.

In modern times, this scenario is known as the "Never beam down in a red shirt" syndrome. Just as, in the Tarzan movies, it is the blacks, bad guys and bit players who do most of the dying, so it is in the books as ERB eliminates the three bit-playing sailors.

Thuran proposes another lottery between he and Clayton and, through trickery, Thuran wins. Clayton asks him to wait until dark so Jane won't witness his death. When night falls, both men are so weak from hunger that Thuran can't readily get to Clayton to dispatch him with his pocket knife, but both men start crawling toward each other. The chapter ends: "Finally he knew that Thuran was quite close beside him. He heard a cackling laugh, something touched his face, and he lost consciousness."

- - - - -
This chapter probably relates the worst experience in Jane's life, even worse than being captured by Terkoz in "Apes" and probably worse than nearly being killed by the Oparians in a future chapter of RT. Here she must endure days of despair, hopelessness and hunger, witness in-fighting, see the degrading behavior of a man she thought was a gentleman and witness the pitiful performance of her fiance, who she thought would be a strong leader. Twice in this chapter she is said to be, literally, dying. The last picture we have of her is horrifying, as Clayton, awaiting his expected fate at nightfall, spends some time with Jane: "He took her hand and raised it to his cracked and swollen lips. For a long time he lay caressing the emaciated, clawlike thing that had once been the beautiful, shapely white hand of the young Baltimore belle."
- - - - -
Though showing himself to have no leadership skills, he does, at least, remain a gentleman. He still sticks up for Jane in his weakened condition and is willing to sacrifice himself to buy time for Jane, even to the point of deliberately attempting to crawl toward Thuran and death as the chapter closes.
- - - - -
As Thuran edged toward Clayton to kill him, his breathing is described as "stertorous." The definition is to breathe with a snoring sound.
- - - - -
"When the girl realized that they had become separated from the other boats she was filled with alarm. The sense of utter loneliness and helplessness which the vast expanse of deserted ocean aroused in her was so depressing that, from the first, contemplation of the future held not the slightest ray of promise for her. She was confident that they were lost -- lost beyond possibility of succor."
1. Robert Abbett provided the cover for the third version of Ballantine's "The Return of Tarzan."
The first version had the Richard M. Powers cover and the second had the Ron Ely photograph cover.
Abbett' s art went from edge to edge of the cover on the first 18 of the 24 Tarzan books starting in April, 1969.
2. Starting in 1973, Ballantine published the entire set of 24 Tarzan books in editions with white borders,
with most featuring the Robert Abbett art originally used on editions in the late 60s,
and a few with the Richard M. Powers art used on Ballantine's first run-through of the Tarzan series in the early 60s.
Abbett's art, which was originally spread over the entire book cover in the late 60s editions,
was cropped to fit into the smaller space available on the early 70s editions.

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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