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THE CITY OF GOLD
 THE very night that Tarzan of the Apes became chief of the Waziri the woman he loved lay dying in a
tiny boat two hundred miles west of him upon the Atlantic. As he danced among his naked fellow
savages, the firelight gleaming against his great, rolling muscles, the personification of physical
perfection and strength, the woman who loved him lay thin and emaciated in the last coma that
precedes death by thirst and starvation.
The week following the induction of Tarzan into the kingship of the Waziri was occupied in escorting
the Manyuema of the Arab raiders to the northern boundary of Waziri in accordance with the promise
which Tarzan had made them. Before he left them he exacted a pledge from them that they would not
lead any expeditions against the Waziri in the future, nor was it a difficult promise to obtain.
They had had sufficient experience with the fighting tactics of the new Waziri chief not to have the
slightest desire to accompany another predatory force within the boundaries of his domain.
Almost immediately upon his return to the village Tarzan commenced making preparations for leading
an expedition in search of the ruined city of gold which old Waziri had described to him. He
selected fifty of the sturdiest warriors of his tribe, choosing only men who
 seemed anxious to accompany him on the arduous march, and share the dangers of a new and hostile
The fabulous wealth of the fabled city had been almost constantly in his mind since Waziri had
recounted the strange adventures of the former expedition which had stumbled upon the vast ruins by
chance. The lure of adventure may have been quite as powerful a factor in urging Tarzan of the Apes
to undertake the journey as the lure of gold, but the lure of gold was there, too, for he had
learned among civilized men something of the miracles that may be wrought by the possessor of the
magic yellow metal. What he would do with a golden fortune in the heart of savage Africa it had not
occurred to him to consider—it would be enough to possess the power to work wonders, even
though he never had an opportunity to employ it.
So one glorious tropical morning Waziri, chief of the Waziri, set out at the head of fifty
clean-limbed ebon warriors in quest of adventure and of riches. They followed the course which old
Waziri had described to Tarzan. For days they marched—up one river, across a low divide; down
another river; up a third, until at the end of the twenty-fifth day they camped upon a mountainside,
from the summit of which they hoped to catch their first view of the marvelous city of treasure.
Early the next morning they were climbing the almost perpendicular crags which formed the last, but
greatest, natural barrier between them and their destination. It was nearly noon before Tarzan, who
headed the thin line of climbing warriors, scrambled over the top of the last cliff and stood upon
the little flat table-land of the mountaintop.
 On either hand towered mighty peaks thousands of feet higher than the pass through which they were
entering the forbidden valley. Behind him stretched the wooded valley across which they had marched
for many days, and at the opposite side the low range which marked the boundary of their own
But before him was the view that centered his attention. Here lay a desolate valley—a shallow,
narrow valley dotted with stunted trees and covered with many great bowlders. And on the far side of
the valley lay what appeared to be a mighty city, its great walls, its lofty spires, its turrets,
minarets, and domes showing red and yellow in the sunlight. Tarzan was yet too far away to note the
marks of ruin—to him it appeared a wonderful city of magnificent beauty, and in imagination he
peopled its broad avenues and its huge temples with a throng of happy, active people.
For an hour the little expedition rested upon the mountain-top, and then Tarzan led them down into
the valley below. There was no trail, but the way was less arduous than the ascent of the opposite
face of the mountain had been. Once in the valley their progress was rapid, so that it was still
light when they halted before the towering walls of the ancient city.
The outer wall was fifty feet in height where it had not fallen into ruin, but nowhere as far as
they could see had more than ten or twenty feet of the upper courses fallen away. It was still a
formidable defense. On several occasions Tarzan had thought that he discerned things moving behind
the ruined portions of the wall near to them, as though creatures were watching them from behind the
bulwarks of the ancient pile. And
 often he felt the sensation of unseen eyes upon him, but not once could he be sure that it was more
That night they camped outside the city. Once, at midnight, they were awakened by a shrill scream
from beyond the great wall. It was very high at first, descending gradually until it ended in a
series of dismal moans. It had a strange effect upon the blacks, almost paralyzing them with terror
while it lasted, and it was an hour before the camp settled down to sleep once more. In the morning
the effects of it were still visible in the fearful, sidelong glances that the Waziri continually
cast at the massive and forbidding structure which loomed above them.
It required considerable encouragement and urging on Tarzan's part to prevent the blacks from
abandoning the venture on the spot and hastening back across the valley toward the cliffs they had
scaled the day before. But at length, by dint of commands, and threats that he would enter the city
alone, they agreed to accompany him.
For fifteen minutes they marched along the face of the wall before they discovered a means of
ingress. Then they came to a narrow cleft about twenty inches wide. Within, a flight of concrete
steps, worn hollow by centuries of use, rose before them, to disappear at a sharp turning of the
passage a few yards ahead.
Into this narrow alley Tarzan made his way, turning his giant shoulders sideways that they might
enter at all. Behind him trailed his black warriors. At the turn in the cleft the stairs ended, and
the path was level; but it wound and twisted in a serpentine fashion, until suddenly at a sharp
angle it debouched upon a narrow court,
 across which loomed an inner wall equally as high as the outer. This inner wall was set with little
round towers alternating along its entire summit with pointed monoliths. In places these had fallen,
and the wall was ruined, but it was in a much better state of preservation than the outer wall.
Another narrow passage led through this wall, and at its end Tarzan and his warriors found
themselves in a broad avenue, on the opposite side of which crumbling edifices of hewn granite
loomed dark and forbidding. Upon the crumbling debris along the face of the buildings trees had
grown, and vines wound in and out of the hollow, staring windows; but the building directly opposite
them seemed less overgrown than the others, and in a much better state of preservation. It was a
massive pile, surmounted by an enormous dome. At either side of its great entrance stood rows of
tall pillars, each capped by a huge, grotesque bird carved from the solid rock of the monoliths.
As the ape-man and his companions stood gazing in varying degrees of wonderment at this ancient city
in the midst of savage Africa, several of them became aware of movement within the structure at
which they were looking. Dim, shadowy shapes appeared to be moving about in the semi-darkness of the
interior. There was nothing tangible that the eye could grasp—only an uncanny suggestion of
life where it seemed that there should be no life, for living things seemed out of place in this
weird, dead city of the long-dead past.
Tarzan recalled something that he had read in the library at Paris of a lost race of white men that
native legend described as living in the heart of Africa. He wondered if he were not looking upon
the ruins of the
 civilization that this strange people had wrought amid the savage surroundings of their strange and
savage home. Could it be possible that even now a remnant of that lost race inhabited the ruined
grandeur that had once been their progenitor? Again he became conscious of a stealthy movement
within the great temple before him. "Come!" he said, to his Waziri. "Let us have a look at what lies
behind those ruined walls."
His men were loath to follow him, but when they saw that he was bravely entering the frowning portal
they trailed a few paces behind in a huddled group that seemed the personification of nervous
terror. A single shriek such as they had heard the night before would have been sufficient to have
sent them all racing madly for the narrow cleft that led through the great walls to the outer world.
As Tarzan entered the building he was distinctly aware of many eyes upon him. There was a rustling
in the shadows of a near-by corridor, and he could have sworn that he saw a human hand withdrawn
from an embrasure that opened above him into the domelike rotunda in which he found himself.
The floor of the chamber was of concrete, the walls of smooth granite, upon which strange figures of
men and beasts were carved. In places tablets of yellow metal had been set in the solid masonry of
When he approached closer to one of these tablets he saw that it was of gold, and bore many
hieroglyphics. Beyond this first chamber there were others, and back of them the building branched
out into enormous wings. Tarzan passed through several of these chambers, finding many evidences of
the fabulous wealth of the original
 builders. In one room were seven pillars of solid gold, and in another the floor itself was of
the precious metal. And all the while that he explored, his blacks huddled close together at his
back, and strange shapes hovered upon either hand and before them and behind, yet never close enough
that any might say that they were not alone.
The strain, however, was telling upon the nerves of the Waziri. They begged Tarzan to return to the
sunlight. They said that no good could come of such an expedition, for the ruins were haunted by the
spirits of the dead who had once inhabited them.
"They are watching us, O king," whispered Busuli. "They are waiting until they have led us into the
innermost recesses of their stronghold, and then they will fall upon us and tear us to pieces with
their teeth. That is the way with spirits. My mother's uncle, who is a great witch doctor, has told
me all about it many times."
Tarzan laughed. "Run back into the sunlight, my children," he said. "I will join you when I have
searched this old ruin from top to bottom, and found the gold, or found that there is none. At least
we may take the tablets from the walls, though the pillars are too heavy for us to handle; but there
should be great storerooms filled with gold—gold that we can carry away upon our backs with
ease. Run on now, out into the fresh air where you may breathe easier."
Some of the warriors started to obey their chief with alacrity, but Busuli and several others
hesitated to leave him—hesitated between love and loyalty for their king, and superstitious
fear of the unknown. And then, quite unexpectedly, that occurred which decided the question without
the necessity for further discussion. Out of the
 silence of the ruined temple there rang, close to their ears, the same hideous shriek they had
heard the previous night, and with horrified cries the black warriors turned and fled through the
empty halls of the age-old edifice.
Behind them stood Tarzan of the Apes where they had left him, a grim smile upon his
lips—waiting for the enemy he fully expected was about to pounce upon him. But again silence
reigned, except for the faint suggestion of the sound of naked feet moving stealthily in near-by
Then Tarzan wheeled and passed on into the depths of the temple. From room to room he went, until he
came to one at which a rude, barred door still stood, and as he put his shoulder against it to push
it in, again the shriek of warning rang out almost beside him. It was evident that he was being
warned to refrain from desecrating this particular room. Or could it be that within lay the secret
to the treasure stores?
At any rate, the very fact that the strange, invisible guardians of this weird place had some reason
for wishing him not to enter this particular chamber was sufficient to treble Tarzan's desire to do
so, and though the shrieking was repeated continuously, he kept his shoulder to the door until it
gave before his giant strength to swing open upon creaking wooden hinges.
Within all was black as the tomb. There was no window to let in the faintest ray of light, and as
the corridor upon which it opened was itself in semi-darkness, even the open door shed no relieving
rays within. Feeling before him upon the floor with the butt of his spear, Tarzan entered the
Stygian gloom. Suddenly the door
 behind him closed, and at the same time hands clutched him from every direction out of the darkness.
The ape-man fought with all the savage fury of self-preservation backed by the herculean strength
that was his. But though he felt his blows land, and his teeth sink into soft flesh, there seemed
always two new hands to take the place of those that he fought off. At last they dragged him down,
and slowly, very slowly, they overcame him by the mere weight of their numbers. And then they bound
him—his hands behind his back and his feet trussed up to meet them. He had heard no sound
except the heavy breathing of his antagonists, and the noise of the battle. He knew not what manner
of creatures had captured him, but that they were human seemed evident from the fact that they had
Presently they lifted him from the floor, and half dragging, half pushing him, they brought him out
of the black chamber through another doorway into an inner courtyard of the temple. Here he saw his
captors. There must have been a hundred of them—short, stocky men, with great beards that
covered their faces and fell upon their hairy breasts.
The thick, matted hair upon their heads grew low over their receding brows, and hung about their
shoulders and their backs. Their crooked legs were short and heavy, their arms long and muscular.
About their loins they wore the skins of leopards and lions, and great necklaces of the claws of
these same animals depended upon their breasts. Massive circlets of virgin gold adorned their arms
and legs. For weapons they carried heavy, knotted bludgeons, and in the belts that confined
 their single garments each had a long, wicked-looking knife.
But the feature of them that made the most startling impression upon their prisoner was their white
skins—neither in color nor feature was there a trace of the negroid about them. Yet, with
their receding foreheads, wicked little close-set eyes, and yellow fangs, they were far from
prepossessing in appearance.
During the fight within the dark chamber, and while they had been dragging Tarzan to the inner
court, no word had been spoken, but now several of them exchanged grunting, monosyllabic
conversation in a language unfamiliar to the ape-man, and presently they left him lying upon the
concrete floor while they trooped off on their short legs into another part of the temple beyond the
As Tarzan lay there upon his back he saw that the temple entirely surrounded the little inclosure,
and that on all sides its lofty walls rose high above him. At the top a little patch of blue sky was
visible, and, in one direction, through an embrasure, he could see foliage, but whether it was
beyond or within the temple he did not know.
About the court, from the ground to the top of the temple, were series of open galleries, and now
and then the captive caught glimpses of bright eyes gleaming from beneath masses of tumbling hair,
peering down upon him from above.
The ape-man gently tested the strength of the bonds that held him, and while he could not be sure it
seemed that they were of insufficient strength to withstand the strain of his mighty muscles when
the time came to make a break for freedom; but he did not dare to put them to
 the crucial test until darkness had fallen, or he felt that no spying eyes were upon him.
He had lain within the court for several hours before the first rays of sunlight penetrated the
vertical shaft; almost simultaneously he heard the pattering of bare feet in the corridors about
him, and a moment later saw the galleries above fill with crafty faces as a score or more entered
For a moment every eye was bent upon the noonday sun, and then in unison the people in the galleries
and those in the court below took up the refrain of a low, weird chant. Presently those about Tarzan
began to dance to the cadence of their solemn song. They circled him slowly, resembling in their
manner of dancing a number of clumsy, shuffling bears; but as yet they did not look at him, keeping
their little eyes fixed upon the sun.
For ten minutes or more they kept up their monotonous chant and steps, and then suddenly, and in
perfect unison, they turned toward their victim with upraised bludgeons and emitting fearful howls,
the while they contorted their features into the most diabolical expressions, they rushed upon him.
At the same instant a female figure dashed into the midst of the bloodthirsty horde, and, with a
bludgeon similar to their own, except that it was wrought from gold, beat back the advancing men.