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Chapter 19 Tarzan and the Castaways by Edgar Rice Burroughs

When two days had passed and Chuldrup had not returned, Schmidt drove another Lascar into the forest with orders to go to Tarzan's camp and get information about the guns and ammunition.

The Lascars had made a separate camp, a short distance from that occupied by Schmidt, Krause, Oubanovitch, and the Arab. They had been very busy, but none of the four men in the smaller camp had paid any attention to them, merely summoning one of them when they wanted to give any orders.

The second man whom Schmidt had sent in the forest never returned. Schmidt was furious, and on the third day he ordered two men to go. They stood sullenly before him, listening. When he had finished they turned and walked back to their own camp. Schmidt watched them; he saw them sit down with their fellows. He waited a moment to see if they would start, but they did not. Then he started toward their camp, white with rage.

"I'll teach them," he muttered; "I'll show them who's boss here—the brown devils;" but when he approached them, fifteen Lascars stood up to face him, and he saw that they were armed with bows and arrows and wooden spears. This was the work that had kept them so busy for several days.

Schmidt and the Lascars stood facing one another for several moments; then one of the latter said, "What do you want here?"

There were fifteen of them, fifteen sullen, scowling men, all well armed.

"Aren't you two men going to find out about the guns and ammunition so that we can get them?" he asked.

"No," said one of the two. "You want to know, you go. We no take orders any more. Get out. Go back to your own camp."

"This is mutiny," blustered Schmidt.

"Get out," said a big Lascar, and fitted an arrow to his bow.

Schmidt turned and slunk away.

"What's the matter?" asked Krause, when Schmidt reached his own camp.

"The devils have mutinied," replied Schmidt, "and they are all armed—made bows and arrows and spears for themselves."

"The uprising of the proletariat!" exclaimed Oubanovitch. "I shall join them and lead them. It is glorious, glorious; the world revolution has reached even here!"

"Shut up!" said Schmidt; "you give me a pain."

"Wait until I organize my glorious revolutionaries," cried Oubanovitch; "then you will sing a different song; then it will be 'Comrade Oubanovitch, this,' and 'Comrade Oubanovitch, that.' Now I go to my comrades who have risen in their might and cast the yoke of Capitalism from their necks."

He crossed jubilantly to the camp of the Lascars. "Comrades!" he cried. "Congratulations on your glorious achievement. I have come to lead you on to greater victories. We will march on the camp of the Capitalists who threw us out. We will liquidate them, and we will take all their guns and ammunition and all their supplies."

Fifteen scowling men looked at him in silence for a moment; then one of them said, "Get out."

"But!" exclaimed Oubanovitch, "I have come to join you; together we will go on to glorious—"

"Get out," repeated the Lascar.

Oubanovitch hesitated until several of them started toward him; then he turned and went back to the other camp. "Well, Comrade," said Schmidt, with a sneer, "is the revolution over?"

"They are stupid fools," said Oubanovitch.

That night the four men had to attend to their own fire, which the Lascars had kept burning for them in the past as a safeguard against wild beasts; and they had had to gather the wood for it, too. Now it devolved upon them to take turns standing guard.

"Well, Comrade," said Schmidt to Oubanovitch, "how do you like revolutions now that you are on the other side of one?"

The Lascars, having no white man to command them, all went to sleep and let their fire die out. Abdullah Abu Nejm was on guard in the smaller camp when he heard a series of ferocious growls from the direction of the Lascar's camp, and then a scream of pain and terror. The other three men awoke and sprang to their feet.

"What is it?" demanded Schmidt

"El adrea, Lord of the Broad Head," replied the Arab.

"What's that?" asked Oubanovitch.

"A lion," said Krause; "he got one of them."

The screams of the unfortunate victim were still blasting the silence of the night, but they were farther from the camp of the Lascars now, as the lion dragged his prey farther away from the presence of the other men. Presently the screams ceased, and then came an even more grisly and horrifying sound—the tearing and rending of flesh and bones mingled with the growls of the carnivore.

Krause piled more wood upon the fire. "That damn wildman," he said—"turning those beasts loose here."

"Serves you right," said Schmidt; "you had no business catching a white man and putting him in a cage."

"It was Abdullah's idea," whined Krause; "I never would have thought of it if he hadn't put it into my head."

There was no more sleep in the camp that night. They could hear the lion feeding until daylight, and then in the lesser darkness of dawn, they saw him rise from his kill and go to the river to drink; then he disappeared into the jungle.

"He will lie up for the day," said Abdullah, "but he will come out again and feed."

As Abdullah ceased speaking, a foul sound came from the edge of the jungle, and two forms slunk out; the hyenas had scented the lion's kill, and presently they were tearing at what was left of the Lascar.

The next night, the Lascars built no fire at all; and another was taken. "The fools!" exclaimed Krause; "that lion has got the habit by now, and none of us will ever be safe again here."

"They are fatalists." said Schmidt; "they believe that whatever is foreordained to happen must happen, and that nothing they can do about it can prevent it."

"Well, I'm no fatalist," said Krause. "I'm going to sleep in a tree after this," and he spent the next day building a platform in a tree at the edge of the forest, setting an example which the other three men were quick to follow. Even the Lascars were impressed, and that night the lion came and roared through empty camps.

"I've stood all of this that I can," said Krause; "I'm going back and see that fellow, Tarzan. I'll promise anything if he'll let us stay in his camp."

"How are you going to get there?" asked Schmidt. "I wouldn't walk through that jungle again for twenty million marks."

"I don't intend to walk through the jungle," said Krause. "I'm going to follow the beach. I could always run out into the ocean if I met anything."

"I think El adrea would be kinder to us than Tarzan of the Apes," said the Arab.

"I never did anything to him," said Oubanovitch; "he ought to let me come back."

"He's probably afraid you'd start a revolution," said Schmidt. But they finally decided to try it; and early the next morning, they set out along the beach toward the other camp.

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