THE FOREST GOD
 WHEN Clayton heard the report of the firearm he fell into an agony of fear and apprehension. He knew that one of
the sailors might be the author of it; but the fact that he had left the revolver with Jane, together with the
overwrought condition of his nerves, made him morbidly positive that she was threatened with some great
danger. Perhaps even now she was attempting to defend herself against some savage man or beast.
What were the thoughts of his strange captor or guide Clayton could only vaguely conjecture; but that he had
heard the shot, and was in some manner affected by it was quite evident, for he quickened his pace so
appreciably that Clayton, stumbling blindly in his wake, was down a dozen times in as many minutes in a vain
effort to keep pace with him, and soon was left hopelessly behind.
Fearing that he would again be irretrievably lost, he called aloud to the wild man ahead of him, and in a
moment had the satisfaction of seeing him drop lightly to his side from the branches above.
 For a moment Tarzan looked at the young man closely, as though undecided as to just what was best to do; then,
stooping down before Clayton, he motioned him to grasp him about the neck, and, with the white man upon his
back, Tarzan took to the trees.
The next few minutes the young Englishman never forgot. High into bending and swaying branches he was borne
with what seemed to him incredible swiftness, while Tarzan chafed at the slowness of his progress.
From one lofty branch the agile creature swung with Clayton through a dizzy arc to a neighboring tree; then
for a hundred yards maybe the sure feet threaded a maze of interwoven limbs, balancing like a tightrope walker
high above the black depths of verdure beneath.
From the first sensation of chilling fear Clayton passed to one of keen admiration and envy of those giant
muscles and that wondrous instinct or knowledge which guided this forest god through the inky blackness of the
night as easily and safely as Clayton would have strolled a London street at high noon.
Occasionally they would enter a spot where the foliage above was less dense, and the bright rays of the moon
lit up before Clayton's wondering eyes the strange path they were traversing.
 At such times the man fairly caught his breath at sight of the horrid depths below them, for Tarzan took the
easiest way, which often led over a hundred feet above the earth.
And yet with all his seeming speed, Tarzan was in reality feeling his way with comparative slowness, searching
constantly for limbs of adequate strength for the maintenance of this double weight.
Presently they came to the clearing before the beach. Tarzan's quick ears had heard the strange sounds of
Sabor's efforts to force her way through the lattice, and it seemed to Clayton that they dropped a straight
hundred feet to earth, so quickly did Tarzan descend. Yet when they struck the ground it was with scarce a
jar; and as Clayton released his hold on the ape-man he saw him dart like a squirrel for the opposite side of
The Englishman sprang quickly after him just in time to see the hind quarters of some huge animal about to
disappear through the window of the cabin.
As Jane opened her eyes to a realization of the imminent peril which threatened her, her brave young heart
gave up at last its final vestige of hope, and she turned to grope for the fallen weapon that she might mete
to herself a merciful death ere the cruel fangs tore into her fair flesh.
The lioness was almost through the opening before Jane found the weapon, and she raised it
 quickly to her temple to shut out forever the hideous jaws gaping for their prey.
An instant she hesitated, to breathe a short and silent prayer to her Maker, and as she did
so her eyes fell upon her poor Esmeralda lying inert, but alive, beside the cupboard.
How could she leave the poor, faithful thing to those merciless, yellow fangs? No, she must
use one cartridge on the senseless woman ere she turned the cold muzzle toward herself again.
How she shrank from the ordeal! But it had been cruelty a thousand times less justified to
have left the loving black woman who had reared her from infancy with all a mother's care
and solicitude, to regain consciousness beneath the rending claws of the great cat.
Quickly Jane Porter sprang to her feet and ran to the side of the black. She pressed the
muzzle of the revolver tight against that devoted heart, closed her eyes, and—
Sabor emitted a frightful shriek.
The girl, startled, pulled the trigger and turned to face the beast, and with the same movement
raised the weapon against her own temple.
She did not fire a second time, for to her surprise she saw the huge animal being slowly drawn back through
the window, and in the moonlight beyond she saw the heads and shoulders of two men.
As Clayton rounded the corner of the cabin to behold the animal disappearing within, it was
 also to see the ape-man seize the long tail in both hands, and, bracing himself with his feet against the
side of the cabin, throw all his mighty strength into the effort to draw the beast out of the interior.
Clayton was quick to lend a hand, but the ape-man jabbered to him in a commanding and peremptory tone
something which Clayton knew to be orders, though he could not understand them.
At last, under their combined efforts, the great body was slowly dragged farther and farther outside the
window, and then there came to Clayton's mind a dawning conception of the rash bravery of his companion's act.
For a naked man to drag a shrieking, clawing man-eater forth from a window by the tail to save a strange white
girl, was indeed the last word in heroism.
Insofar as Clayton was concerned it was a very different matter, since the girl was not only of his own kind
and race, but was the one woman in all the world whom he loved.
Though he knew that the lioness would make short work of both of them, he pulled with a will to keep it from
Jane Porter. And then he recalled the battle between this man and the great, black-maned lion which he had
witnessed a short time before, and he commenced to feel more assurance.
Tarzan was still issuing orders which Clayton could not understand.
 He was trying to tell the stupid white man to plunge his poisoned arrows into Sabor's back and sides, and to
reach the savage heart with the long, thin hunting knife that hung at Tarzan's hip; but the man would not
understand, and Tarzan did not dare release his hold to do the things himself, for he knew that the puny white
man never could hold mighty Sabor alone, for an instant.
Slowly the lioness was emerging from the window. At last her shoulders were out.
And then Clayton saw an incredible thing. Tarzan, racking his brains for some means to cope single-handed
with the infuriated beast, had suddenly recalled his battle with Terkoz; and as the great shoulders came clear
of the window, so that the lioness hung upon the sill only by her forepaws, Tarzan suddenly released his hold
upon the brute.
With the quickness of a striking rattler he launched himself full upon Sabor's back, his strong young arms
seeking and gaining a full-Nelson upon the beast, as he had learned it that other day during his bloody,
wrestling victory over Terkoz.
With a roar the lioness turned completely over upon her back, falling full upon her enemy; but the
black-haired giant only closed tighter his hold.
Pawing and tearing at earth and air, Sabor
 rolled and threw herself this way and that in an effort to dislodge this strange antagonist; but ever tighter
and tighter drew the iron bands that were forcing her head lower and lower upon her tawny breast.
Higher crept the steel forearms of the ape-man about the back of Sabor's neck. Weaker and weaker became the
At last Clayton saw the immense muscles of Tarzan's shoulders and biceps leap into corded knots beneath the
silver moonlight. There was a long sustained and supreme effort on the ape-man's part—and the vertebrae
of Sabor's neck parted with a sharp snap.
In an instant Tarzan was upon his feet, and for the second time that day Clayton heard the bull ape's savage
roar of victory. Then he heard Jane's agonized cry:
"Cecil—Mr. Clayton! Oh, what is it? What is it?"
Running quickly to the cabin door, Clayton called out that all was right, and shouted to her to open the door.
As quickly as she could she raised the great bar and fairly dragged Clayton within.
"What was that awful noise?" she whispered, shrinking close to him.
"It was the cry of the kill from the throat of the man who has just saved your life, Miss Porter. Wait, I
will fetch him so you may thank him."
The frightened girl would not be left alone,
 so she accompanied Clayton to the side of the cabin where lay the dead body of the lioness.
Tarzan of the Apes was gone.
Clayton called several times, but there was no reply, and so the two returned to the greater safety of the
"What a frightful sound!" cried Jane, "I shudder at the mere thought of it. Do not tell me that a human
throat voiced that hideous and fearsome shriek."
"But it did, Miss Porter," replied Clayton; "or at least if not a human throat that of a forest god."
And then he told her of his experiences with this strange creature—of how twice the wild man had saved
his life—of the wondrous strength, and agility, and bravery—of the brown skin and the handsome
"I cannot make it out at all," he concluded. "At first I thought he might be Tarzan of the Apes; but he
neither speaks nor understands English, so that theory is untenable."
"Well, whatever he may be," cried the girl, "we owe him our lives, and may God bless him and keep him in
safety in his wild and savage jungle!"
"Amen," said Clayton, fervently.
"For the good Lord's sake, ain't I dead?"
The two turned to see Esmeralda sitting upright upon the floor, her great eyes rolling from
 side to side as though she could not believe their testimony as to her whereabouts.
The lioness's shriek as Jane Porter had been about to put a bullet into poor Esmeralda, had
saved the black's life, for the little start the girl gave had turned the muzzle of the
revolver to one side, and the bullet had passed harmlessly into the floor.
And now, for Jane Porter, the reaction came, and she threw herself upon the bench, sobbing with hysterical
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