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|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
The Jungle Toll
|Page 4 of 7||
Then we have another weird neighbor, who printed a beautiful sign in English and tacked it on the door of his cabin, which we have preempted, warning us to destroy none of his belongings, and signing himself "Tarzan of the Apes."
We have never seen him, though we think he is about, for one of the sailors, who was going to shoot Mr. Clayton in the back, received a spear in his shoulder from some unseen hand in the jungle.
The sailors left us but a meager supply of food, so, as we have only a single revolver with but three cartridges left in it, we do not know how we can procure meat, though Mr. Philander says that we can exist indefinitely on the wild fruit and nuts which abound in the jungle.
I am very tired now, so I shall go to my funny bed of grasses which Mr. Clayton gathered for me, but will add to this from day to day as things happen. Lovingly, JANE PORTER.
TO HAZEL STRONG, BALTIMORE, MD.
Tarzan sat in a brown study for a long time after he finished reading the letter. It was filled with so many new and wonderful things that his brain was in a whirl as he attempted to digest them all.
So they did not know that he was Tarzan of the Apes. He would tell them.
In his tree he had constructed a rude shelter of leaves and boughs, beneath which, protected from the rain, he had placed the few treasures brought from the cabin. Among these were some pencils.
He took one, and beneath Jane Porter's signature he wrote:
I am Tarzan of the Apes
He thought that would be sufficient. Later he would return the letter to the cabin.
In the matter of food, thought Tarzan, they had no need to worry--he would provide, and he did.
The next morning Jane found her missing letter in the exact spot from which it had disappeared two nights before. She was mystified; but when she saw the printed words beneath her signature, she felt a cold, clammy chill run up her spine. She showed the letter, or rather the last sheet with the signature, to Clayton.
"And to think," she said, "that uncanny thing was probably watching me all the time that I was writing--oo! It makes me shudder just to think of it."
"But he must be friendly," reassured Clayton, "for he has returned your letter, nor did he offer to harm you, and unless I am mistaken he left a very substantial memento of his friendship outside the cabin door last night, for I just found the carcass of a wild boar there as I came out."
From then on scarcely a day passed that did not bring its offering of game or other food. Sometimes it was a young deer, again a quantity of strange, cooked food--cassava cakes pilfered from the village of Mbonga--or a boar, or leopard, and once a lion.
Tarzan derived the greatest pleasure of his life in hunting meat for these strangers. It seemed to him that no pleasure on earth could compare with laboring for the welfare and protection of the beautiful white girl.
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|Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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