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|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|Page 1 of 6||
When D'Arnot regained consciousness, he found himself lying upon a bed of soft ferns and grasses beneath a little "A" shaped shelter of boughs.
At his feet an opening looked out upon a green sward, and at a little distance beyond was the dense wall of jungle and forest.
He was very lame and sore and weak, and as full consciousness returned he felt the sharp torture of many cruel wounds and the dull aching of every bone and muscle in his body as a result of the hideous beating he had received.
Even the turning of his head caused him such excruciating agony that he lay still with closed eyes for a long time.
He tried to piece out the details of his adventure prior to the time he lost consciousness to see if they would explain his present whereabouts--he wondered if he were among friends or foes.
At length he recollected the whole hideous scene at the stake, and finally recalled the strange white figure in whose arms he had sunk into oblivion.
D'Arnot wondered what fate lay in store for him now. He could neither see nor hear any signs of life about him.
The incessant hum of the jungle--the rustling of millions of leaves--the buzz of insects--the voices of the birds and monkeys seemed blended into a strangely soothing purr, as though he lay apart, far from the myriad life whose sounds came to him only as a blurred echo.
At length he fell into a quiet slumber, nor did he awake again until afternoon.
Once more he experienced the strange sense of utter bewilderment that had marked his earlier awakening, but soon he recalled the recent past, and looking through the opening at his feet he saw the figure of a man squatting on his haunches.
The broad, muscular back was turned toward him, but, tanned though it was, D'Arnot saw that it was the back of a white man, and he thanked God.
The Frenchman called faintly. The man turned, and rising, came toward the shelter. His face was very handsome--the handsomest, thought D'Arnot, that he had ever seen.
Stooping, he crawled into the shelter beside the wounded officer, and placed a cool hand upon his forehead.
D'Arnot spoke to him in French, but the man only shook his head--sadly, it seemed to the Frenchman.
Then D'Arnot tried English, but still the man shook his head. Italian, Spanish and German brought similar discouragement.
D'Arnot knew a few words of Norwegian, Russian, Greek, and also had a smattering of the language of one of the West Coast negro tribes--the man denied them all.
After examining D'Arnot's wounds the man left the shelter and disappeared. In half an hour he was back with fruit and a hollow gourd-like vegetable filled with water.
D'Arnot drank and ate a little. He was surprised that he had no fever. Again he tried to converse with his strange nurse, but the attempt was useless.
Suddenly the man hastened from the shelter only to return a few minutes later with several pieces of bark and--wonder of wonders--a lead pencil.
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|Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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