Another month brought them to
a little group of buildings at
the mouth of a wide river, and
there Tarzan saw many boats,
and was filled with the timidity
of the wild thing by the sight
of many men.
Gradually he became accustomed
to the strange noises and the
odd ways of civilization, so
that presently none might know
that two short months before,
this handsome Frenchman in immaculate
white ducks, who laughed and
chatted with the gayest of them,
had been swinging naked through
primeval forests to pounce upon
some unwary victim, which, raw,
was to fill his savage belly.
The knife and fork, so contemptuously
flung aside a month before, Tarzan
now manipulated as exquisitely
as did the polished D'Arnot.
So apt a pupil had he been
that the young Frenchman had
labored assiduously to make of
Tarzan of the Apes a polished
gentleman in so far as nicety
of manners and speech were concerned.
"God made you a gentleman at
heart, my friend," D'Arnot had
said; "but we want His works
to show upon the exterior also."
As soon as they had reached
the little port, D'Arnot had
cabled his government of his
safety, and requested a three-
months' leave, which had been
He had also cabled his bankers
for funds, and the enforced wait
of a month, under which both
chafed, was due to their inability
to charter a vessel for the return
to Tarzan's jungle after the
stay at the coast town "Monsieur Tarzan" became
the wonder of both whites and
blacks because of several occurrences
which to Tarzan seemed the merest
Once a huge black, crazed by
drink, had run amuck and terrorized
the town, until his evil star
had led him to where the black-haired
French giant lolled upon the
veranda of the hotel.
Mounting the broad steps, with
brandished knife, the Negro made
straight for a party of four
men sitting at a table sipping
the inevitable absinthe.
Shouting in alarm, the four
took to their heels, and then
the black spied Tarzan.
With a roar he charged the
ape-man, while half a hundred
heads peered from sheltering
windows and doorways to witness
the butchering of the poor Frenchman
by the giant black.
Tarzan met the rush with the
fighting smile that the joy of
battle always brought to his
As the Negro closed upon him,
steel muscles gripped the black
wrist of the uplifted knife-hand,
and a single swift wrench left
the hand dangling below a broken
With the pain and surprise,
the madness left the black man,
and as Tarzan dropped back into
his chair the fellow turned,
crying with agony, and dashed
wildly toward the native village.
On another occasion as Tarzan
and D'Arnot sat at dinner with
a number of other whites, the
talk fell upon lions and lion
Opinion was divided as to the
bravery of the king of beasts
--some maintaining that he was
an arrant coward, but all agreeing
that it was with a feeling of
greater security that they gripped
their express rifles when the
monarch of the jungle roared
about a camp at night.
D'Arnot and Tarzan had agreed
that his past be kept secret,
and so none other than the French
officer knew of the ape-man's
familiarity with the beasts of
"Monsieur Tarzan has not expressed
himself," said one of the party. "A
man of his prowess who has spent
some time in Africa, as I understand
Monsieur Tarzan has, must have
had experiences with lions--yes?"
"Some," replied Tarzan, dryly. "Enough
to know that each of you are
right in your judgment of the
characteristics of the lions--you
have met. But one might as well
judge all blacks by the fellow
who ran amuck last week, or decide
that all whites are cowards because
one has met a cowardly white.
"There is as
much individuality among the
lower orders, gentlemen,
as there is among ourselves.
Today we may go out and stumble
upon a lion which is over-timid--he
runs away from us. To-morrow
we may meet his uncle or his
twin brother, and our friends
wonder why we do not return from
the jungle. For myself, I always
assume that a lion is ferocious,
and so I am never caught off
"There would be little pleasure
in hunting," retorted the first
speaker, "if one is afraid of
the thing he hunts."
D'Arnot smiled. Tarzan afraid!
"I do not exactly understand
what you mean by fear," said
Tarzan. "Like lions, fear is
a different thing in different
men, but to me the only pleasure
in the hunt is the knowledge
that the hunted thing has power
to harm me as much as I have
to harm him. If I went out with
a couple of rifles and a gun
bearer, and twenty or thirty
beaters, to hunt a lion, I should
not feel that the lion had much
chance, and so the pleasure of
the hunt would be lessened in
proportion to the increased safety
which I felt."
"Then I am to take it that
Monsieur Tarzan would prefer
to go naked into the jungle,
armed only with a jackknife,
to kill the king of beasts," laughed
the other, good naturedly, but
with the merest touch of sarcasm
in his tone.
"And a piece of rope," added
Just then the deep roar of
a lion sounded from the distant
jungle, as though to challenge
whoever dared enter the lists
"There is your opportunity,
Monsieur Tarzan," bantered the
"I am not hungry," said
The men laughed, all but D'Arnot.
He alone knew that a savage beast
had spoken its simple reason
through the lips of the ape-man.
"But you are afraid, just as
any of us would be, to go out
there naked, armed only with
a knife and a piece of rope," said
the banterer. "Is it not so?"
"No," replied Tarzan. "Only
a fool performs any act without
"Five thousand francs is a
reason," said the other. "I wager
you that amount you cannot bring
back a lion from the jungle under
the conditions we have named--naked
and armed only with a knife and
a piece of rope."
Tarzan glanced toward D'Arnot
and nodded his head.
"Make it ten thousand," said
"I shall have
to leave my clothes at the
edge of the settlement,
so that if I do not return before
daylight I shall have something
to wear through the streets."
"You are not going now," exclaimed
the wagerer--"at night?"
"Why not?" asked Tarzan. "Numa
walks abroad at night --it will
be easier to find him."
"No," said the other, "I
do not want your blood upon
It will be foolhardy enough if
you go forth by day."
"I shall go now," replied
Tarzan, and went to his room
knife and rope.
The men accompanied him to
the edge of the jungle, where
he left his clothes in a small
But when he would have entered
the blackness of the undergrowth
they tried to dissuade him; and
the wagerer was most insistent
of all that he abandon his foolhardy
"I will accede that you have
won," he said, "and the ten thousand
francs are yours if you will
but give up this foolish attempt,
which can only end in your death."
Tarzan laughed, and in another
moment the jungle had swallowed
The men stood silent for some
moments and then slowly turned
and walked back to the hotel
Tarzan had no sooner entered
the jungle than he took to the
trees, and it was with a feeling
of exultant freedom that he swung
once more through the forest
This was life! Ah, how he loved
it! Civilization held nothing
like this in its narrow and circumscribed
sphere, hemmed in by restrictions
and conventionalities. Even clothes
were a hindrance and a nuisance.
At last he was free. He had
not realized what a prisoner
he had been.
How easy it would be to circle
back to the coast, and then make
toward the south and his own
jungle and cabin.
Now he caught the scent of
Numa, for he was traveling up
wind. Presently his quick ears
detected the familiar sound of
padded feet and the brushing
of a huge, fur-clad body through
Tarzan came quietly above the
unsuspecting beast and silently
stalked him until he came into
a little patch of moonlight.
Then the quick noose settled
and tightened about the tawny
throat, and, as he had done it
a hundred times in the past,
Tarzan made fast the end to a
strong branch and, while the
beast fought and clawed for freedom,
dropped to the ground behind
him, and leaping upon the great
back, plunged his long thin blade
a dozen times into the fierce
Then with his foot upon the
carcass of Numa, he raised his
voice in the awesome victory
cry of his savage tribe.
For a moment Tarzan stood irresolute,
swayed by conflicting emotions
of loyalty to D'Arnot and a mighty
lust for the freedom of his own
jungle. At last the vision of
a beautiful face, and the memory
of warm lips crushed to his dissolved
the fascinating picture he had
been drawing of his old life.
The ape-man threw the warm
carcass of Numa across his shoulders
and took to the trees once more.
The men upon the veranda had
sat for an hour, almost in silence.
They had tried ineffectually
to converse on various subjects,
and always the thing uppermost
in the mind of each had caused
the conversation to lapse.
"MON DIEU," said the wagerer
at length, "I can endure it no
longer. I am going into the jungle
with my express and bring back
that mad man."
"I will go with you," said
"And I"--"And I"--"And I," chorused
As though the suggestion had
broken the spell of some horrid
nightmare they hastened to their
various quarters, and presently
were headed toward the jungle--each
one heavily armed.
"God! What was that?" suddenly
cried one of the party, an Englishman,
as Tarzan's savage cry came faintly
to their ears.
"I heard the same thing once
before," said a Belgian, "when
I was in the gorilla country.
My carriers said it was the cry
of a great bull ape who has made
D'Arnot remembered Clayton's
description of the awful roar
with which Tarzan had announced
his kills, and he half smiled
in spite of the horror which
filled him to think that the
uncanny sound could have issued
from a human throat --from the
lips of his friend.
As the party stood finally
near the edge of the jungle,
debating as to the best distribution
of their forces, they were startled
by a low laugh near them, and
turning, beheld advancing toward
them a giant figure bearing a
dead lion upon its broad shoulders.
Even D'Arnot was thunderstruck,
for it seemed impossible that
the man could have so quickly
dispatched a lion with the pitiful
weapons he had taken, or that
alone he could have borne the
huge carcass through the tangled
The men crowded about Tarzan
with many questions, but his
only answer was a laughing depreciation
of his feat.
To Tarzan it was as though
one should eulogize a butcher
for his heroism in killing a
cow, for Tarzan had killed so
often for food and for self-preservation
that the act seemed anything
but remarkable to him. But he
was indeed a hero in the eyes
of these men--men accustomed
to hunting big game.
Incidentally, he had won ten
thousand francs, for D'Arnot
insisted that he keep it all.
This was a very important item
to Tarzan, who was just commencing
to realize the power which lay
beyond the little pieces of metal
and paper which always changed
hands when human beings rode,
or ate, or slept, or clothed
themselves, or drank, or worked,
or played, or sheltered themselves
from the rain or cold or sun.
It had become evident to Tarzan
that without money one must die.
D'Arnot had told him not to worry,
since he had more than enough
for both, but the ape-man was
learning many things and one
of them was that people looked
down upon one who accepted money
from another without giving something
of equal value in exchange.
Shortly after the episode of
the lion hunt, D'Arnot succeeded
in chartering an ancient tub
for the coastwise trip to Tarzan's
It was a happy morning for
them both when the little vessel
weighed anchor and made for the
The trip to the beach was uneventful,
and the morning after they dropped
anchor before the cabin, Tarzan,
garbed once more in his jungle
regalia and carrying a spade,
set out alone for the amphitheater
of the apes where lay the treasure.
Late the next day he returned,
bearing the great chest upon
his shoulder, and at sunrise
the little vessel worked through
the harbor's mouth and took up
her northward journey.
Three weeks later Tarzan and
D'Arnot were passengers on board
a French steamer bound for Lyons,
and after a few days in that
city D'Arnot took Tarzan to Paris.
The ape-man was anxious to
proceed to America, but D'Arnot
insisted that he must accompany
him to Paris first, nor would
he divulge the nature of the
urgent necessity upon which he
based his demand.
One of the first things which
D'Arnot accomplished after their
arrival was to arrange to visit
a high official of the police
department, an old friend; and
to take Tarzan with him.
Adroitly D'Arnot led the conversation
from point to point until the
policeman had explained to the
interested Tarzan many of the
methods in vogue for apprehending
and identifying criminals.
Not the least interesting to
Tarzan was the part played by
finger prints in this fascinating
"But of what value are these
imprints," asked Tarzan, "when,
after a few years the lines upon
the fingers are entirely changed
by the wearing out of the old
tissue and the growth of new?"
"The lines never change," replied
the official. "From infancy to
senility the fingerprints of
an individual change only in
size, except as injuries alter
the loops and whorls. But if
imprints have been taken of the
thumb and four fingers of both
hands one must needs lose all
entirely to escape identification."
"It is marvelous," exclaimed
D'Arnot. "I wonder what the lines
upon my own fingers may resemble."
"We can soon see," replied
the police officer, and ringing
a bell he summoned an assistant
to whom he issued a few directions.
The man left the room, but
presently returned with a little
hardwood box which he placed
on his superior's desk.
"Now," said the officer, "you
shall have your fingerprints
in a second."
He drew from the little case
a square of plate glass, a little
tube of thick ink, a rubber roller,
and a few snowy white cards.
Squeezing a drop of ink onto
the glass, he spread it back
and forth with the rubber roller
until the entire surface of the
glass was covered to his satisfaction
with a very thin and uniform
layer of ink.
"Place the four fingers of
your right hand upon the glass,
thus," he said to D'Arnot. "Now
the thumb. That is right. Now
place them in just the same position
upon this card, here, no--a little
to the right. We must leave room
for the thumb and the fingers
of the left hand. There, that's
it. Now the same with the left."
"Come, Tarzan," cried D'Arnot, "let's
see what your whorls look like."
Tarzan complied readily, asking
many questions of the officer
during the operation.
"Do fingerprints show racial
characteristics?" he asked. "Could
you determine, for example, solely
from fingerprints whether the
subject was Negro or Caucasian?"
"I think not," replied
finger prints of an ape be
detected from those
of a man?"
because the ape's would be
far simpler than those
of the higher organism."
"But a cross between an ape
and a man might show the characteristics
of either progenitor?" continued
"Yes, I should think likely," responded
the official; "but the science
has not progressed sufficiently
to render it exact enough in
such matters. I should hate to
trust its findings further than
to differentiate between individuals.
There it is absolute. No two
people born into the world probably
have ever had identical lines
upon all their digits. It is
very doubtful if any single fingerprint
will ever be exactly duplicated
by any finger other than the
one which originally made it."
"Does the comparison require
much time or labor?" asked D'Arnot.
but a few moments, if the impressions
D'Arnot drew a little black
book from his pocket and commenced
turning the pages.
Tarzan looked at the book in
surprise. How did D'Arnot come
to have his book?
Presently D'Arnot stopped at
a page on which were five tiny
He handed the open book to
"Are these imprints similar
to mine or Monsieur Tarzan's
or can you say that they are
identical with either?" The officer
drew a powerful glass from his
desk and examined all three specimens
carefully, making notations meanwhile
upon a pad of paper.
Tarzan realized now what was
the meaning of their visit to
the police officer.
The answer to his life's riddle
lay in these tiny marks.
With tense nerves he sat leaning
forward in his chair, but suddenly
he relaxed and dropped back,
D'Arnot looked at him in surprise.
"You forget that for twenty
years the dead body of the child
who made those fingerprints lay
in the cabin of his father, and
that all my life I have seen
it lying there," said Tarzan
The policeman looked up in
"Go ahead, captain, with your
examination," said D'Arnot, "we
will tell you the story later--provided
Monsieur Tarzan is agreeable."
Tarzan nodded his head.
"But you are mad, my dear D'Arnot," he
insisted. "Those little fingers
are buried on the west coast
"I do not know as to that,
Tarzan," replied D'Arnot. "It
is possible, but if you are not
the son of John Clayton then
how in heaven's name did you
come into that God forsaken jungle
where no white man other than
John Clayton had ever set foot?"
"You forget--Kala," said
"I do not even consider her," replied
The friends had walked to the
broad window overlooking the
boulevard as they talked. For
some time they stood there gazing
out upon the busy throng beneath,
each wrapped in his own thoughts.
"It takes some time to compare
finger prints," thought D'Arnot,
turning to look at the police
To his astonishment he saw
the official leaning back in
his chair hastily scanning the
contents of the little black
D'Arnot coughed. The policeman
looked up, and, catching his
eye, raised his finger to admonish
silence. D'Arnot turned back
to the window, and presently
the police officer spoke.
Both turned toward him.
"There is evidently
a great deal at stake which
to a greater or lesser extent
upon the absolute correctness
of this comparison. I therefore
ask that you leave the entire
matter in my hands until Monsieur
Desquerc, our expert returns.
It will be but a matter of a
"I had hoped to know at once," said
D'Arnot. "Monsieur Tarzan sails
for America tomorrow."
"I will promise that you can
cable him a report within two
weeks," replied the officer; "but
what it will be I dare not say.
There are resemblances, yet--well,
we had better leave it for Monsieur
Desquerc to solve."