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|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
The Savage Home
|Page 2 of 6||
Presently one of the crew spied the approaching Claytons, and with a cry of: "Here's two more for the fishes," rushed toward them with uplifted ax.
But Black Michael was even quicker, so that the fellow went down with a bullet in his back before he had taken a half dozen steps.
With a loud roar, Black Michael attracted the attention of the others, and, pointing to Lord and Lady Greystoke, cried:
"These here are my friends, and they are to be left alone. D'ye understand?
"I'm captain of this ship now, an' what I says goes," he added, turning to Clayton. "Just keep to yourselves, and nobody'll harm ye," and he looked threateningly on his fellows.
The Claytons heeded Black Michael's instructions so well that they saw but little of the crew and knew nothing of the plans the men were making.
Occasionally they heard faint echoes of brawls and quarreling among the mutineers, and on two occasions the vicious bark of firearms rang out on the still air. But Black Michael was a fit leader for this band of cutthroats, and, withal held them in fair subjection to his rule.
On the fifth day following the murder of the ship's officers, land was sighted by the lookout. Whether island or mainland, Black Michael did not know, but he announced to Clayton that if investigation showed that the place was habitable he and Lady Greystoke were to be put ashore with their belongings.
"You'll be all right there for a few months," he explained, "and by that time we'll have been able to make an inhabited coast somewhere and scatter a bit. Then I'll see that yer gover'ment's notified where you be an' they'll soon send a man-o'war to fetch ye off.
"It would be a hard matter to land you in civilization without a lot o' questions being asked, an' none o' us here has any very convincin' answers up our sleeves."
Clayton remonstrated against the inhumanity of landing them upon an unknown shore to be left to the mercies of savage beasts, and, possibly, still more savage men.
But his words were of no avail, and only tended to anger Black Michael, so he was forced to desist and make the best he could of a bad situation.
About three o'clock in the afternoon they came about off a beautiful wooded shore opposite the mouth of what appeared to be a land-locked harbor.
Black Michael sent a small boat filled with men to sound the entrance in an effort to determine if the Fuwalda could be safely worked through the entrance.
In about an hour they returned and reported deep water through the passage as well as far into the little basin.
Before dark the barkentine lay peacefully at anchor upon the bosom of the still, mirror-like surface of the harbor.
The surrounding shores were beautiful with semitropical verdure, while in the distance the country rose from the ocean in hill and tableland, almost uniformly clothed by primeval forest.
No signs of habitation were visible, but that the land might easily support human life was evidenced by the abundant bird and animal life of which the watchers on the Fuwalda's deck caught occasional glimpses, as well as by the shimmer of a little river which emptied into the harbor, insuring fresh water in plenitude.
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|Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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