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|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|Page 4 of 6||
D'Arnot realized now that he had made a mistake, but it seemed too late to go back and do it all over again and force Tarzan to unlearn all that he had learned, especially as they were rapidly approaching a point where they would be able to converse.
On the third day after the fever broke Tarzan wrote a message asking D'Arnot if he felt strong enough to be carried back to the cabin. Tarzan was as anxious to go as D'Arnot, for he longed to see Jane again.
It had been hard for him to remain with the Frenchman all these days for that very reason, and that he had unselfishly done so spoke more glowingly of his nobility of character than even did his rescuing the French officer from Mbonga's clutches.
D'Arnot, only too willing to attempt the journey, wrote:
But you cannot carry me all the distance through this tangled forest.
"MAIS OUI," he said, and D'Arnot laughed aloud to hear the phrase that he used so often glide from Tarzan's tongue.
So they set out, D'Arnot marveling as had Clayton and Jane at the wondrous strength and agility of the apeman.
Mid-afternoon brought them to the clearing, and as Tarzan dropped to earth from the branches of the last tree his heart leaped and bounded against his ribs in anticipation of seeing Jane so soon again.
No one was in sight outside the cabin, and D'Arnot was perplexed to note that neither the cruiser nor the Arrow was at anchor in the bay.
An atmosphere of loneliness pervaded the spot, which caught suddenly at both men as they strode toward the cabin.
Neither spoke, yet both knew before they opened the closed door what they would find beyond.
Tarzan lifted the latch and pushed the great door in upon its wooden hinges. It was as they had feared. The cabin was deserted.
The men turned and looked at one another. D'Arnot knew that his people thought him dead; but Tarzan thought only of the woman who had kissed him in love and now had fled from him while he was serving one of her people.
A great bitterness rose in his heart. He would go away, far into the jungle and join his tribe. Never would he see one of his own kind again, nor could he bear the thought of returning to the cabin. He would leave that forever behind him with the great hopes he had nursed there of finding his own race and becoming a man among men.
And the Frenchman? D'Arnot? What of him? He could get along as Tarzan had. Tarzan did not want to see him more. He wanted to get away from everything that might remind him of Jane.
As Tarzan stood upon the threshold brooding, D'Arnot had entered the cabin. Many comforts he saw that had been left behind. He recognized numerous articles from the cruiser --a camp oven, some kitchen utensils, a rifle and many rounds of ammunition, canned foods, blankets, two chairs and a cot--and several books and periodicals, mostly American.
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|Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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