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|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
The Outpost of the World
|Page 5 of 7||
"I remember that she used to think it very silly of me to burden myself with extra food upon the march, though she was quite glad to eat it with me, if the way chanced to be barren of sustenance."
"Then you knew your mother, Tarzan?" asked D'Arnot, in surprise.
"Yes. She was a great, fine ape, larger than I, and weighing twice as much."
"And your father?" asked D'Arnot.
"I did not know him. Kala told me he was a white ape, and hairless like myself. I know now that he must have been a white man."
D'Arnot looked long and earnestly at his companion.
"Tarzan," he said at length, "it is impossible that the ape, Kala, was your mother. If such a thing can be, which I doubt, you would have inherited some of the characteristics of the ape, but you have not--you are pure man, and, I should say, the offspring of highly bred and intelligent parents. Have you not the slightest clue to your past?"
"Not the slightest," replied Tarzan.
"No writings in the cabin that might have told something of the lives of its original inmates?"
"I have read everything that was in the cabin with the exception of one book which I know now to be written in a language other than English. Possibly you can read it."
Tarzan fished the little black diary from the bottom of his quiver, and handed it to his companion.
D'Arnot glanced at the title page.
"It is the diary of John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, an English nobleman, and it is written in French," he said.
Then he proceeded to read the diary that had been written over twenty years before, and which recorded the details of the story which we already know--the story of adventure, hardships and sorrow of John Clayton and his wife Alice, from the day they left England until an hour before he was struck down by Kerchak.
D'Arnot read aloud. At times his voice broke, and he was forced to stop reading for the pitiful hopelessness that spoke between the lines.
Occasionally he glanced at Tarzan; but the ape-man sat upon his haunches, like a carven image, his eyes fixed upon the ground.
Only when the little babe was mentioned did the tone of the diary alter from the habitual note of despair which had crept into it by degrees after the first two months upon the shore.
Then the passages were tinged with a subdued happiness that was even sadder than the rest.
One entry showed an almost hopeful spirit.
To-day our little boy is six months old. He is sitting in Alice's lap beside the table where I am writing--a happy, healthy, perfect child.
Somehow, even against all reason, I seem to see him a grown man, taking his father's place in the world--the second John Clayton--and bringing added honors to the house of Greystoke.
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|Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
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