Mr. Harold Moore was a bilious-countenanced, studious young man. He too_imself very seriously, and life, and his work, which latter was the tutorin_f the young son of a British nobleman. He felt that his charge was not makin_he progress that his parents had a right to expect, and he was no_onscientiously explaining this fact to the boy's mother. "It's not that h_sn't bright," he was saying; "if that were true I should have hopes o_ucceeding, for then I might bring to bear all my energies in overcoming hi_btuseness; but the trouble is that he is exceptionally intelligent, an_earns so quickly that I can find no fault in the matter of the preparation o_is lessons. What concerns me, however, is that fact that he evidently take_o interest whatever in the subjects we are studying. He merely accomplishe_ach lesson as a task to be rid of as quickly as possible and I am sure tha_o lesson ever again enters his mind until the hours of study and recitatio_nce more arrive. His sole interests seem to be feats of physical prowess an_he reading of everything that he can get hold of relative to savage beast_nd the lives and customs of uncivilized peoples; but particularly do storie_f animals appeal to him. He will sit for hours together poring over the wor_f some African explorer, and upon two occasions I have found him setting u_n bed at night reading Carl Hagenbeck's book on men and beasts."
The boy's mother tapped her foot nervously upon the hearth rug.
"You discourage this, of course?" she ventured.
Mr. Moore shuffled embarrassedly.
"I—ah—essayed to take the book from him," he replied, a slight flush mountin_is sallow cheek; "but—ah—your son is quite muscular for one so young."
"He wouldn't let you take it?" asked the mother.
"He would not," confessed the tutor. "He was perfectly good natured about it; but he insisted upon pretending that he was a gorilla and that I was _himpanzee attempting to steal food from him. He leaped upon me with the mos_avage growls I ever heard, lifted me completely above his head, hurled m_pon his bed, and after going through a pantomime indicative of choking me t_eath he stood upon my prostrate form and gave voice to a most fearsom_hriek, which he explained was the victory cry of a bull ape. Then he carrie_e to the door, shoved me out into the hall and locked me from his room."
For several minutes neither spoke again. It was the boy's mother who finall_roke the silence.
"It is very necessary, Mr. Moore," she said, "that you do everything in you_ower to discourage this tendency in Jack, he—"; but she got no further. _oud "Whoop!" from the direction of the window brought them both to thei_eet. The room was upon the second floor of the house, and opposite the windo_o which their attention had been attracted was a large tree, a branch o_hich spread to within a few feet of the sill. Upon this branch now they bot_iscovered the subject of their recent conversation, a tall, well-built boy, balancing with ease upon the bending limb and uttering loud shouts of glee a_e noted the terrified expressions upon the faces of his audience.
The mother and tutor both rushed toward the window but before they had crosse_alf the room the boy had leaped nimbly to the sill and entered the apartmen_ith them.
"`The wild man from Borneo has just come to town,'" he sang, dancing a specie_f war dance about his terrified mother and scandalized tutor, and ending u_y throwing his arms about the former's neck and kissing her upon eithe_heek.
"Oh, Mother," he cried, "there's a wonderful, educated ape being shown at on_f the music halls. Willie Grimsby saw it last night. He says it can d_verything but talk. It rides a bicycle, eats with knife and fork, counts u_o ten, and ever so many other wonderful things, and can I go and see it too?
Oh, please, Mother—please let me."
Patting the boy's cheek affectionately, the mother shook her head negatively.
"No, Jack," she said; "you know I do not approve of such exhibitions."
"I don't see why not, Mother," replied the boy. "All the other fellows go an_hey go to the Zoo, too, and you'll never let me do even that. Anybody'd thin_ was a girl—or a mollycoddle. Oh, Father," he exclaimed, as the door opene_o admit a tall gray-eyed man. "Oh, Father, can't I go?"
"Go where, my son?" asked the newcomer.
"He wants to go to a music hall to see a trained ape," said the mother, looking warningly at her husband.
"Who, Ajax?" questioned the man.
The boy nodded.
"Well, I don't know that I blame you, my son," said the father, "I wouldn'_ind seeing him myself. They say he is very wonderful, and that for a_nthropoid he is unusually large. Let's all go, Jane—what do you say?" And h_urned toward his wife, but that lady only shook her head in a most positiv_anner, and turning to Mr. Moore asked him if it was not time that he and Jac_ere in the study for the morning recitations. When the two had left sh_urned toward her husband.
"John," she said, "something must be done to discourage Jack's tendency towar_nything that may excite the cravings for the savage life which I fear he ha_nherited from you. You know from your own experience how strong is the cal_f the wild at times. You know that often it has necessitated a stern struggl_n your part to resist the almost insane desire which occasionally overwhelm_ou to plunge once again into the jungle life that claimed you for so man_ears, and at the same time you know, better than any other, how frightful _ate it would be for Jack, were the trail to the savage jungle made eithe_lluring or easy to him."
"I doubt if there is any danger of his inheriting a taste for jungle life fro_e," replied the man, "for I cannot conceive that such a thing may b_ransmitted from father to son. And sometimes, Jane, I think that in you_olicitude for his future you go a bit too far in your restrictive measures.
His love for animals—his desire, for example, to see this trained ape—is onl_atural in a healthy, normal boy of his age. Just because he wants to see Aja_s no indication that he would wish to marry an ape, and even should he, fa_e it from you Jane to have the right to cry `shame!'" and John Clayton, Lor_reystoke, put an arm about his wife, laughing good-naturedly down into he_pturned face before he bent his head and kissed her. Then, more seriously, h_ontinued: "You have never told Jack anything concerning my early life, no_ave you permitted me to, and in this I think that you have made a mistake.
Had I been able to tell him of the experiences of Tarzan of the Apes I coul_oubtless have taken much of the glamour and romance from jungle life tha_aturally surrounds it in the minds of those who have had no experience of it.
He might then have profited by my experience, but now, should the jungle lus_ver claim him, he will have nothing to guide him but his own impulses, and _now how powerful these may be in the wrong direction at times."
But Lady Greystoke only shook her head as she had a hundred other times whe_he subject had claimed her attention in the past.
"No, John," she insisted, "I shall never give my consent to the implanting i_ack's mind of any suggestion of the savage life which we both wish t_reserve him from."
It was evening before the subject was again referred to and then it was raise_y Jack himself. He had been sitting, curled in a large chair, reading, whe_e suddenly looked up and addressed his father.
"Why," he asked, coming directly to the point, "can't I go and see Ajax?"
"Your mother does not approve," replied his father.
"That is not the question," evaded Lord Greystoke. "It is enough that you_other objects."
"I am going to see him," announced the boy, after a few moments of thoughtfu_ilence. "I am not different from Willie Grimsby, or any other of the fellow_ho have been to see him. It did not harm them and it will not harm me. _ould go without telling you; but I would not do that. So I tell you now, beforehand, that I am going to see Ajax."
There was nothing disrespectful or defiant in the boy's tone or manner. Hi_as merely a dispassionate statement of facts. His father could scarce repres_ither a smile or a show of the admiration he felt for the manly course hi_on had pursued.
"I admire your candor, Jack," he said. "Permit me to be candid, as well. I_ou go to see Ajax without permission, I shall punish you. I have neve_nflicted corporal punishment upon you, but I warn you that should you disobe_our mother's wishes in this instance, I shall."
"Yes, sir," replied the boy; and then: "I shall tell you, sir, when I hav_een to see Ajax."
Mr. Moore's room was next to that of his youthful charge, and it was th_utor's custom to have a look into the boy's each evening as the former wa_bout to retire. This evening he was particularly careful not to neglect hi_uty, for he had just come from a conference with the boy's father and mothe_n which it had been impressed upon him that he must exercise the greates_are to prevent Jack visiting the music hall where Ajax was being shown. So, when he opened the boy's door at about half after nine, he was greatl_xcited, though not entirely surprised to find the future Lord Greystoke full_ressed for the street and about to crawl from his open bed room window.
Mr. Moore made a rapid spring across the apartment; but the waste of energ_as unnecessary, for when the boy heard him within the chamber and realize_hat he had been discovered he turned back as though to relinquish his planne_dventure.
"Where were you going?" panted the excited Mr. Moore.
"I am going to see Ajax," replied the boy, quietly.
"I am astonished," cried Mr. Moore; but a moment later he was infinitely mor_stonished, for the boy, approaching close to him, suddenly seized him abou_he waist, lifted him from his feet and threw him face downward upon the bed, shoving his face deep into a soft pillow.
"Be quiet," admonished the victor, "or I'll choke you."
Mr. Moore struggled; but his efforts were in vain. Whatever else Tarzan of th_pes may or may not have handed down to his son he had at least bequeathed hi_lmost as marvelous a physique as he himself had possessed at the same age.
The tutor was as putty in the boy's hands. Kneeling upon him, Jack tore strip_rom a sheet and bound the man's hands behind his back. Then he rolled hi_ver and stuffed a gag of the same material between his teeth, securing i_ith a strip wound about the back of his victim's head. All the while h_alked in a low, conversational tone.
"I am Waja, chief of the Waji," he explained, "and you are Mohammed Dubn, th_rab sheik, who would murder my people and steal my ivory," and he dexterousl_russed Mr. Moore's hobbled ankles up behind to meet his hobbled wrists.
"Ah—ha! Villain! I have you in me power at last. I go; but I shall return!"
And the son of Tarzan skipped across the room, slipped through the ope_indow, and slid to liberty by way of the down spout from an eaves trough.
Mr. Moore wriggled and struggled about the bed. He was sure that he shoul_uffocate unless aid came quickly. In his frenzy of terror he managed to rol_ff the bed. The pain and shock of the fall jolted him back to something lik_ane consideration of his plight. Where before he had been unable to thin_ntelligently because of the hysterical fear that had claimed him he now la_uietly searching for some means of escape from his dilemma. It finall_ccurred to him that the room in which Lord and Lady Greystoke had bee_itting when he left them was directly beneath that in which he lay upon th_loor. He knew that some time had elapsed since he had come up stairs and tha_hey might be gone by this time, for it seemed to him that he had struggle_bout the bed, in his efforts to free himself, for an eternity. But the bes_hat he could do was to attempt to attract attention from below, and so, afte_any failures, he managed to work himself into a position in which he coul_ap the toe of his boot against the floor. This he proceeded to do at shor_ntervals, until, after what seemed a very long time, he was rewarded b_earing footsteps ascending the stairs, and presently a knock upon the door.
Mr. Moore tapped vigorously with his toe—he could not reply in any other way.
The knock was repeated after a moment's silence. Again Mr. Moore tapped. Woul_hey never open the door! Laboriously he rolled in the direction of succor. I_e could get his back against the door he could then tap upon its base, whe_urely he must be heard. The knocking was repeated a little louder, an_inally a voice called: "Mr. Jack!"
It was one of the house men—Mr. Moore recognized the fellow's voice. He cam_ear to bursting a blood vessel in an endeavor to scream "come in" through th_tifling gag. After a moment the man knocked again, quite loudly and agai_alled the boy's name. Receiving no reply he turned the knob, and at the sam_nstant a sudden recollection filled the tutor anew with numbing terror—h_ad, himself, locked the door behind him when he had entered the room.
He heard the servant try the door several times and then depart. Upon whic_r. Moore swooned.
In the meantime Jack was enjoying to the full the stolen pleasures of th_usic hall. He had reached the temple of mirth just as Ajax's act wa_ommencing, and having purchased a box seat was now leaning breathlessly ove_he rail watching every move of the great ape, his eyes wide in wonder. Th_rainer was not slow to note the boy's handsome, eager face, and as one o_jax's biggest hits consisted in an entry to one or more boxes during hi_erformance, ostensibly in search of a long-lost relative, as the traine_xplained, the man realized the effectiveness of sending him into the box wit_he handsome boy, who, doubtless, would be terror stricken by proximity to th_haggy, powerful beast.
When the time came, therefore, for the ape to return from the wings in repl_o an encore the trainer directed its attention to the boy who chanced to b_he sole occupant of the box in which he sat. With a spring the hug_nthropoid leaped from the stage to the boy's side; but if the trainer ha_ooked for a laughable scene of fright he was mistaken. A broad smile lighte_he boy's features as he laid his hand upon the shaggy arm of his visitor. Th_pe, grasping the boy by either shoulder, peered long and earnestly into hi_ace, while the latter stroked his head and talked to him in a low voice.
Never had Ajax devoted so long a time to an examination of another as he di_n this instance. He seemed troubled and not a little excited, jabbering an_umbling to the boy, and now caressing him, as the trainer had never seen hi_aress a human being before. Presently he clambered over into the box with hi_nd snuggled down close to the boy's side. The audience was delighted; bu_hey were still more delighted when the trainer, the period of his act havin_lapsed, attempted to persuade Ajax to leave the box. The ape would not budge.
The manager, becoming excited at the delay, urged the trainer to greate_aste, but when the latter entered the box to drag away the reluctant Ajax h_as met by bared fangs and menacing growls.
The audience was delirious with joy. They cheered the ape. They cheered th_oy, and they hooted and jeered at the trainer and the manager, which luckles_ndividual had inadvertently shown himself and attempted to assist th_rainer.
Finally, reduced to desperation and realizing that this show of mutiny upo_he part of his valuable possession might render the animal worthless fo_xhibition purposes in the future if not immediately subdued, the trainer ha_astened to his dressing room and procured a heavy whip. With this he no_eturned to the box; but when he had threatened Ajax with it but once he foun_imself facing two infuriated enemies instead of one, for the boy had leape_o his feet, and seizing a chair was standing ready at the ape's side t_efend his new found friend. There was no longer a smile upon his handsom_ace. In his gray eyes was an expression which gave the trainer pause, an_eside him stood the giant anthropoid growling and ready.
What might have happened, but for a timely interruption, may only be surmised; but that the trainer would have received a severe mauling, if nothing more, was clearly indicated by the attitudes of the two who faced him.
* * *
It was a pale-faced man who rushed into the Greystoke library to announce tha_e had found Jack's door locked and had been able to obtain no response to hi_epeated knocking and calling other than a strange tapping and the sound o_hat might have been a body moving about upon the floor. Four steps at a tim_ohn Clayton took the stairs that led to the floor above. His wife and th_ervant hurried after him. Once he called his son's name in a loud voice; bu_eceiving no reply he launched his great weight, backed by all th_ndiminished power of his giant muscles, against the heavy door. With _napping of iron butts and a splintering of wood the obstacle burst inward.
At its foot lay the body of the unconscious Mr. Moore, across whom it fel_ith a resounding thud. Through the opening leaped Tarzan, and a moment late_he room was flooded with light from a dozen electric bulbs.
It was several minutes before the tutor was discovered, so completely had th_oor covered him; but finally he was dragged forth, his gag and bonds cu_way, and a liberal application of cold water had hastened returnin_onsciousness.
"Where is Jack?" was John Clayton's first question, and then; "Who did this?"
as the memory of Rokoff and the fear of a second abduction seized him.
Slowly Mr. Moore staggered to his feet. His gaze wandered about the room.
Gradually he collected his scattered wits. The details of his recent harrowin_xperience returned to him.
"I tender my resignation, sir, to take effect at once," were his first words.
"You do not need a tutor for your son—what he needs is a wild animal trainer."
"But where is he?" cried Lady Greystoke.
"He has gone to see Ajax."
It was with difficulty that Tarzan restrained a smile, and after satisfyin_imself that the tutor was more scared than injured, he ordered his closed ca_round and departed in the direction of a certain well-known music hall.