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|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
The Giant Again
|Page 5 of 9||
Suddenly, out of the northeast, a great black car came careening down the road.
With a jolt it stopped before the cottage, and a black-haired giant leaped out to run up onto the porch. Without a pause he rushed into the house. On the couch lay Clayton. The man started in surprise, but with a bound was at the side of the sleeping man.
Shaking him roughly by the shoulder, he cried:
"My God, Clayton, are you all mad here? Don't you know you are nearly surrounded by fire? Where is Miss Porter?"
Clayton sprang to his feet. He did not recognize the man, but he understood the words and was upon the veranda in a bound.
"Scott!" he cried, and then, dashing back into the house, "Jane! Jane! where are you?"
In an instant Esmeralda, Professor Porter and Mr. Philander had joined the two men.
"Where is Miss Jane?" cried Clayton, seizing Esmeralda by the shoulders and shaking her roughly.
"Oh, Gaberelle, Mister Clayton, she done gone for a walk."
"Hasn't she come back yet?" and, without waiting for a reply, Clayton dashed out into the yard, followed by the others. "Which way did she go?" cried the black-haired giant of Esmeralda.
"Down that road," cried the frightened woman, pointing toward the south where a mighty wall of roaring flames shut out the view.
"Put these people in the other car," shouted the stranger to Clayton. "I saw one as I drove up--and get them out of here by the north road.
"Leave my car here. If I find Miss Porter we shall need it. If I don't, no one will need it. Do as I say," as Clayton hesitated, and then they saw the lithe figure bound away cross the clearing toward the northwest where the forest still stood, untouched by flame.
In each rose the unaccountable feeling that a great responsibility had been raised from their shoulders; a kind of implicit confidence in the power of the stranger to save Jane if she could be saved.
"Who was that?" asked Professor Porter.
"I do not know," replied Clayton. "He called me by name and he knew Jane, for he asked for her. And he called Esmeralda by name."
"There was something most startlingly familiar about him," exclaimed Mr. Philander, "And yet, bless me, I know I never saw him before."
"Tut, tut!" cried Professor Porter. "Most remarkable! Who could it have been, and why do I feel that Jane is safe, now that he has set out in search of her?"
"I can't tell you, Professor," said Clayton soberly, "but I know I have the same uncanny feeling."
"But come," he cried, "we must get out of here ourselves, or we shall be shut off," and the party hastened toward Clayton's car.
When Jane turned to retrace her steps homeward, she was alarmed to note how near the smoke of the forest fire seemed, and as she hastened onward her alarm became almost a panic when she perceived that the rushing flames were rapidly forcing their way between herself and the cottage.
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|Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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