When dawn broke upon the little
camp of Frenchmen in the heart
of the jungle it found a sad
and disheartened group.
As soon as it was light enough
to see their surroundings Lieutenant
Charpentier sent men in groups
of three in several directions
to locate the trail, and in ten
minutes it was found and the
expedition was hurrying back
toward the beach.
It was slow work, for they
bore the bodies of six dead men,
two more having succumbed during
the night, and several of those
who were wounded required support
to move even very slowly.
Charpentier had decided to
return to camp for reinforcements,
and then make an attempt to track
down the natives and rescue D'Arnot.
It was late in the afternoon
when the exhausted men reached
the clearing by the beach, but
for two of them the return brought
so great a happiness that all
their suffering and heartbreaking
grief was forgotten on the instant.
As the little party emerged
from the jungle the first person
that Professor Porter and Cecil
Clayton saw was Jane, standing
by the cabin door.
With a little cry of joy and
relief she ran forward to greet
them, throwing her arms about
her father's neck and bursting
into tears for the first time
since they had been cast upon
this hideous and adventurous
Professor Porter strove manfully
to suppress his own emotions,
but the strain upon his nerves
and weakened vitality were too
much for him, and at length,
burying his old face in the girl's
shoulder, he sobbed quietly like
a tired child.
Jane led him toward the cabin,
and the Frenchmen turned toward
the beach from which several
of their fellows were advancing
to meet them.
Clayton, wishing to leave father
and daughter alone, joined the
sailors and remained talking
with the officers until their
boat pulled away toward the cruiser
whither Lieutenant Charpentier
was bound to report the unhappy
outcome of his adventure.
Then Clayton turned back slowly
toward the cabin. His heart was
filled with happiness. The woman
he loved was safe.
He wondered by what manner
of miracle she had been spared.
To see her alive seemed almost
As he approached the cabin
he saw Jane coming out. When
she saw him she hurried forward
to meet him.
"Jane!" he cried, "God
has been good to us, indeed.
me how you escaped--what form
Providence took to save you for--us."
He had never before called
her by her given name. Forty-eight
hours before it would have suffused
Jane with a soft glow of pleasure
to have heard that name from
Clayton's lips--now it frightened
"Mr. Clayton," she said quietly,
extending her hand, "first let
me thank you for your chivalrous
loyalty to my dear father. He
has told me how noble and self-sacrificing
you have been. How can we repay
Clayton noticed that she did
not return his familiar salutation,
but he felt no misgivings on
that score. She had been through
so much. This was no time to
force his love upon her, he quickly
"I am already repaid," he said. "Just
to see you and Professor Porter
both safe, well, and together
again. I do not think that I
could much longer have endured
the pathos of his quiet and uncomplaining
"It was the
saddest experience of my life,
Miss Porter; and
then, added to it, there was
my own grief--the greatest I
have ever known. But his was
so hopeless--his was pitiful.
It taught me that no love, not
even that of a man for his wife
may be so deep and terrible and
self-sacrificing as the love
of a father for his daughter."
The girl bowed her head. There
was a question she wanted to
ask, but it seemed almost sacrilegious
in the face of the love of these
two men and the terrible suffering
they had endured while she sat
laughing and happy beside a godlike
creature of the forest, eating
delicious fruits and looking
with eyes of love into answering
But love is a strange master,
and human nature is still stranger,
so she asked her question.
"Where is the
forest man who went to rescue
you? Why did he
"I do not understand," said
Clayton. "Whom do you mean?"
"He who has
saved each of us--who saved
me from the gorilla."
"Oh," cried Clayton, in surprise. "It
was he who rescued you? You have
not told me anything of your
adventure, you know."
"But the wood man," she urged. "Have
you not seen him? When we heard
the shots in the jungle, very
faint and far away, he left me.
We had just reached the clearing,
and he hurried off in the direction
of the fighting. I know he went
to aid you."
Her tone was almost pleading--her
manner tense with suppressed
emotion. Clayton could not but
notice it, and he wondered, vaguely,
why she was so deeply moved--so
anxious to know the whereabouts
of this strange creature.
Yet a feeling of apprehension
of some impending sorrow haunted
him, and in his breast, unknown
to himself, was implanted the
first germ of jealousy and suspicion
of the ape-man, to whom he owed
"We did not see him," he replied
quietly. "He did not join us." And
then after a moment of thoughtful
pause: "Possibly he joined his
own tribe--the men who attacked
us." He did not know why he had
said it, for he did not believe
The girl looked at him wide
eyed for a moment.
"No!" she exclaimed vehemently,
much too vehemently he thought. "It
could not be. They were savages."
Clayton looked puzzled.
"He is a strange,
half-savage creature of the
Porter. We know nothing of him.
He neither speaks nor understands
any European tongue--and his
ornaments and weapons are those
of the West Coast savages."
Clayton was speaking rapidly.
no other human beings than
savages within hundreds
of miles, Miss Porter. He must
belong to the tribes which attacked
us, or to some other equally
savage--he may even be a cannibal."
"I will not believe it," she
half whispered. "It is not true.
You shall see," she said, addressing
Clayton, "that he will come back
and that he will prove that you
are wrong. You do not know him
as I do. I tell you that he is
Clayton was a generous and
chivalrous man, but something
in the girl's breathless defense
of the forest man stirred him
to unreasoning jealousy, so that
for the instant he forgot all
that they owed to this wild demi-god,
and he answered her with a half
sneer upon his lip.
"Possibly you are right, Miss
Porter," he said, "but I do not
think that any of us need worry
about our carrion-eating acquaintance.
The chances are that he is some
half-demented castaway who will
forget us more quickly, but no
more surely, than we shall forget
him. He is only a beast of the
jungle, Miss Porter."
The girl did not answer, but
she felt her heart shrivel within
She knew that Clayton spoke
merely what he thought, and for
the first time she began to analyze
the structure which supported
her newfound love, and to subject
its object to a critical examination.
Slowly she turned and walked
back to the cabin. She tried
to imagine her wood-god by her
side in the saloon of an ocean
liner. She saw him eating with
his hands, tearing his food like
a beast of prey, and wiping his
greasy fingers upon his thighs.
She saw him as she introduced
him to her friends--uncouth,
illiterate--a boor; and the girl
She had reached her room now,
and as she sat upon the edge
of her bed of ferns and grasses,
with one hand resting upon her
rising and falling bosom, she
felt the hard outlines of the
She drew it out, holding it
in the palm of her hand for a
moment with tear-blurred eyes
bent upon it. Then she raised
it to her lips, and crushing
it there buried her face in the
soft ferns, sobbing.
"Beast?" she murmured. "Then
God make me a beast; for, man
or beast, I am yours."
She did not see Clayton again
that day. Esmeralda brought her
supper to her, and she sent word
to her father that she was suffering
from the reaction following her
The next morning Clayton left
early with the relief expedition
in search of Lieutenant D'Arnot.
There were two hundred armed
men this time, with ten officers
and two surgeons, and provisions
for a week.
They carried bedding and hammocks,
the latter for transporting their
sick and wounded.
It was a determined and angry
company--a punitive expedition
as well as one of relief. They
reached the sight of the skirmish
of the previous expedition shortly
after noon, for they were now
traveling a known trail and no
time was lost in exploring.
From there on the elephant-track
led straight to Mbonga's village.
It was but two o'clock when the
head of the column halted upon
the edge of the clearing.
Lieutenant Charpentier, who
was in command, immediately sent
a portion of his force through
the jungle to the opposite side
of the village. Another detachment
was dispatched to a point before
the village gate, while he remained
with the balance upon the south
side of the clearing.
It was arranged that the party
which was to take its position
to the north, and which would
be the last to gain its station
should commence the assault,
and that their opening volley
should be the signal for a concerted
rush from all sides in an attempt
to carry the village by storm
at the first charge.
For half an hour the men with
Lieutenant Charpentier crouched
in the dense foliage of the jungle,
waiting the signal. To them it
seemed like hours. They could
see natives in the fields, and
others moving in and out of the
At length the signal came--a
sharp rattle of musketry, and
like one man, an answering volley
tore from the jungle to the west
and to the south.
The natives in the field dropped
their implements and broke madly
for the palisade. The French
bullets mowed them down, and
the French sailors bounded over
their prostrate bodies straight
for the village gate.
So sudden and unexpected the
assault had been that the whites
reached the gates before the
frightened natives could bar
them, and in another minute the
village street was filled with
armed men fighting hand to hand
in an inextricable tangle.
For a few moments the blacks
held their ground within the
entrance to the street, but the
revolvers, rifles and cutlasses
of the Frenchmen crumpled the
native spearmen and struck down
the black archers with their
Soon the battle turned to a
wild rout, and then to a grim
massacre; for the French sailors
had seen bits of D'Arnot's uniform
upon several of the black warriors
who opposed them.
They spared the children and
those of the women whom they
were not forced to kill in self-defense,
but when at length they stopped,
parting, blood covered and sweating,
it was because there lived to
oppose them no single warrior
of all the savage village of
Carefully they ransacked every
hut and corner of the village,
but no sign of D'Arnot could
they find. They questioned the
prisoners by signs, and finally
one of the sailors who had served
in the French Congo found that
he could make them understand
the bastard tongue that passes
for language between the whites
and the more degraded tribes
of the coast, but even then they
could learn nothing definite
regarding the fate of D'Arnot.
Only excited gestures and expressions
of fear could they obtain in
response to their inquiries concerning
their fellow; and at last they
became convinced that these were
but evidences of the guilt of
these demons who had slaughtered
and eaten their comrade two nights
At length all hope left them,
and they prepared to camp for
the night within the village.
The prisoners were herded into
three huts where they were heavily
guarded. Sentries were posted
at the barred gates, and finally
the village was wrapped in the
silence of slumber, except for
the wailing of the native women
for their dead.
The next morning they set out
upon the return march. Their
original intention had been to
burn the village, but this idea
was abandoned and the prisoners
were left behind, weeping and
moaning, but with roofs to cover
them and a palisade for refuge
from the beasts of the jungle.
Slowly the expedition retraced
its steps of the preceding day.
Ten loaded hammocks retarded
its pace. In eight of them lay
the more seriously wounded, while
two swung beneath the weight
of the dead.
Clayton and Lieutenant Charpentier
brought up the rear of the column;
the Englishman silent in respect
for the other's grief, for D'Arnot
and Charpentier had been inseparable
friends since boyhood.
Clayton could not but realize
that the Frenchman felt his grief
the more keenly because D'Arnot's
sacrifice had been so futile,
since Jane had been rescued before
D'Arnot had fallen into the hands
of the savages, and again because
the service in which he had lost
his life had been outside his
duty and for strangers and aliens;
but when he spoke of it to Lieutenant
Charpentier, the latter shook
"No, Monsieur," he said, "D'Arnot
would have chosen to die thus.
I only grieve that I could not
have died for him, or at least
with him. I wish that you could
have known him better, Monsieur.
He was indeed an officer and
a gentleman--a title conferred
on many, but deserved by so few.
"He did not
die futilely, for his death
in the cause of a strange
American girl will make us, his
comrades, face our ends the more
bravely, however they may come
Clayton did not reply, but
within him rose a new respect
for Frenchmen which remained
undimmed ever after.
It was quite late when they
reached the cabin by the beach.
A single shot before they emerged
from the jungle had announced
to those in camp as well as on
the ship that the expedition
had been too late--for it had
been prearranged that when they
came within a mile or two of
camp one shot was to be fired
to denote failure, or three for
success, while two would have
indicated that they had found
no sign of either D'Arnot or
his black captors.
So it was a solemn party that
awaited their coming, and few
words were spoken as the dead
and wounded men were tenderly
placed in boats and rowed silently
toward the cruiser.
Clayton, exhausted from his
five days of laborious marching
through the jungle and from the
effects of his two battles with
the blacks, turned toward the
cabin to seek a mouthful of food
and then the comparative ease
of his bed of grasses after two
nights in the jungle.
By the cabin door stood Jane.
"The poor lieutenant?" she
asked. "Did you find no trace
"We were too late, Miss Porter," he
"Tell me. What had happened?" she
Miss Porter, it is too horrible."
"You do not mean that they
had tortured him?" she whispered.
"We do not know what they did
to him BEFORE they killed him," he
answered, his face drawn with
fatigue and the sorrow he felt
for poor D'Arnot and he emphasized
the word before.
killed him! What do you mean?
They are not--?
They are not--?"
She was thinking of what Clayton
had said of the forest man's
probable relationship to this
tribe and she could not frame
the awful word.
"Yes, Miss Porter, they were--cannibals," he
said, almost bitterly, for to
him too had suddenly come the
thought of the forest man, and
the strange, unaccountable jealousy
he had felt two days before swept
over him once more.
And then in sudden brutality
that was as unlike Clayton as
courteous consideration is unlike
an ape, he blurted out:
forest god left you he was
to the feast."
He was sorry ere the words
were spoken though he did not
know how cruelly they had cut
the girl. His regret was for
his baseless disloyalty to one
who had saved the lives of every
member of his party, and offered
harm to none.
The girl's head went high.
"There could be but one suitable
reply to your assertion, Mr.
Clayton," she said icily, "and
I regret that I am not a man,
that I might make it." She turned
quickly and entered the cabin.
Clayton was an Englishman,
so the girl had passed quite
out of sight before he deduced
what reply a man would have made.
"Upon my word," he said ruefully, "she
called me a liar. And I fancy
I jolly well deserved it," he
added thoughtfully. "Clayton,
my boy, I know you are tired
out and unstrung, but that's
no reason why you should make
an ass of yourself. You'd better
go to bed."
But before he did so he called
gently to Jane upon the opposite
side of the sailcloth partition,
for he wished to apologize, but
he might as well have addressed
the Sphinx. Then he wrote upon
a piece of paper and shoved it
beneath the partition.
Jane saw the little note and
ignored it, for she was very
angry and hurt and mortified,
but--she was a woman, and so
eventually she picked it up and
MY DEAR MISS PORTER:
I had no reason to insinuate
what I did. My only excuse is
that my nerves must be unstrung--which
is no excuse at all.
Please try and think that I
did not say it. I am very sorry.
I would not have hurt YOU, above
all others in the world. Say
that you forgive me. WM. CECIL
"He did think it or he never
would have said it," reasoned
the girl, "but it cannot be true--oh,
I know it is not true!"
in the letter frightened her: "I
would not have hurt YOU above
in the world."
A week ago that sentence would
have filled her with delight,
now it depressed her.
She wished she had never met
Clayton. She was sorry that she
had ever seen the forest god.
No, she was glad. And there was
that other note she had found
in the grass before the cabin
the day after her return from
the jungle, the love note signed
by Tarzan of the Apes.
Who could be this new suitor?
If he were another of the wild
denizens of this terrible forest
what might he not do to claim
"Esmeralda! Wake up," she
"You make me
so irritable, sleeping there
you know perfectly well that
the world is filled with sorrow."
"Gaberelle!" screamed Esmeralda,
sitting up. "What is it now?
A hipponocerous? Where is he,
Esmeralda, there is nothing.
Go back to sleep.
You are bad enough asleep, but
you are infinitely worse awake."
but what's the matter with
you, precious? You
acts sort of disgranulated this
"Oh, Esmeralda, I'm just plain
ugly to-night," said the girl. "Don't
pay any attention to me--that's
now you go right to sleep.
Your nerves are all
on edge. What with all these
ripotamuses and man eating geniuses
that Mister Philander been telling
about--Lord, it ain't no wonder
we all get nervous prosecution."
Jane crossed the little room,
laughing, and kissing the faithful
woman, bid Esmeralda good night.