TIP ToP LIBRARY. October 24, 18. Vol. r. No. 28. Price Five C ents Frank Merriwell in 6orilla Land; OR, The Search for the Missing Link. By the Author of 'lFRANK MERRIWELL." CHAPTER I. LOVE'S YOUNG DREA}I. The schooner Saucy Susan, Justin Bell wood, master, lay at anchor in the Fernand Vas River, near the west coast of Africa. The Saucy Susan was a trader, loaded with cloth, beads, powder, bullets, old muskets, brass and iron kettles and such other'articles as the natives Qf the country were most likely to prize. In exchange Captain Bellwood hoped to secure a cargo of ivory, mahogany, and a few skins of wild beasts. Frank Merriwell and Ephraim Gallup were passengers on the Saucy Susan, having been taken aboard from an island upon which they had been cast by the wrecking of another ':essel, the Sea Fox. Austin Ross, a self -appointed detective, who had been searching for Ethel Dris coll, a lost heiress, had also been cast upon this island, where he had found his heiress, through the instrumentality of Frank, who became king of the natives when the savage king was struck dead by lightning just as he was on the point of condemning his white captives to be slain and eaten. Ross and Miss Driscoll had been placed on board a vessel bound for New York. \Ethel Driscoll had admired Frank Merri well greatly, and she had told him over and over that, if it were true that she had been left a fortune by her uncle, she should give him some token of remembrance in re ward for his bravery in saving her from Bondalwe, a giant islander, who had tried to make her become his wife. Frank, with his usual gallantry, had assured Ethel that he had been a thousand times rewarded by his satisfaction in being of service to her. But that did not satisfy the girl, who was pretty and refined, for all that she had been some time among the natives of the island, the old king having adopted her as his daughter. She was greatly fascinated by Frank, and she was plainly determined to see him again when he should return to the United States. That was why she insisted on giving him something as a remembrance token. Elsie Bellwood was relieved wlren Ethel was placed on board the vessel bound for New York. Although the two girls had become warm friends in a very short time, as girls usually do, Elsie had secretly been very jealous of Ethel. Jn the past Elsie had been in love with Frank, but had tried to forget him, know-
2 FRA.NK M.ERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. ing he was loved by another girl, Inza Burrage, who had befriended Elsie when Captain Bellwood lost a vessel on Tiger Tooth Ledge, off Fardale village. Feeling that it would be a mean thing to attempt to "cut out" Inza, Elsie had struggled to tear Frank Meri-iwell's image from her heart-had even repulsed him when he betrayed more than friendly interest in her. But now Elsie began to believe it was us e less for her to fight against her
FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. 3 Swamp of Florida. Then I told you how often I had thought of yon-how often I had dreamed of you.'' "Have you forgotten--" She checked herself, unable to utter Inza's name. She was trembling a little, and the warm color was coming and go ing in her cheeks. Never had she looked prettier than at that moment. Frank felt his heart fluttering in his bosom, and one ann slipped about her waist. He drew her close to him, and held her there, as he hastily went on. "I have forgotten nothing, Elsie. Fate has not been kind to us in everything, but has persisted in flinging us together. It has convinced me that there is some thing that draws us one to the other. Fate was not kind to us when it brought us to gether so late the first time. And still we were but boy and girl-we are still. Per haps we regard these matters too seriously ''No, no, Frank-l am sure tjot." ''Elsie, little sweet!1eart!" Her head was bowed still lower, and her breath caused her lips to flutter. She did not speak. "Elsie, I tell you the truth when I say that I think of you oftener than of any other. You come to me oftener in my dreams. I see you near me, with your sky-blue eyes, your sunshiny hair, your lips like cupid's bow, and your smile like a summer's morning. I have dreamed that you came to me and whispered over and over, 'I love you, Frank, I sha11 al ways love you, and I shall love no other.' She was silent, enchanted; but her heart was. throbbing wild with pleasure that was painful. She had pictured this moment to herself, and 11ow it had come. Frank, quite unconsciously, was becom ing poetical. He did not pause to form his phrases, but they came from his lips de spite himself. Had he thought what he was saying, he would have hesitated and regarded the language as stilted and unnatural; but, as he did not pause to con sider, his words were the natural expres sion of the feelings withit1 his heart. "Sweetheart," he continued, "we are together now, so let's forget the pastlet's be happy for the present. The future will give us what is our due." "Oh, Frank! how can I be quite happy when I think of her-when I think that I may be doing such a mean thing?" "Elsie, we will write to her-we will" tell her everything. We are still very young. We may think now that we shall never, never care for anybody else; but I have read a hundred times that youth is changeable." "I care not what you have read, Frank, I know my heart will never change.'' He drew her still closer and kissed her, murmunng: "Dear little Elsie!" A gruff cough sounded behind them, causing them to part and turn in no little consternation. Captain Bellwood was standing near at hand, with his back toward them, survey ing the cloudless sky in a nautical fashion. "For all that it's so calm now, there may be a storm kicking up,"'' he said. "The air seems very close around here." CHAPTER II. THE MISSING LINK. The second day after the Saucy Susan dropped anchor in the Fernand Vas, a white man came on board, brought off in one of the native boats. He was a thin, long-necked, red-nosed man, wearing spectacles, and having_ an unmistakably scholarly air, despite the fact that he was dressed in coarse, stout clothing and heavy boots. He introduced himself as Professor Johnson Bonner, a famous naturalist. Frank had heard of Professer Bonner, and so was interested in the man at once.
4 FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND The professer explained that he had been left there eight days before by an English vessel, and had just completed preparations for an extensive trip into the interior. "To confess the truth," smiled the lanky professor, "my mission is a most remarkable one." "Then you are not going inland to trade?'' asked Captain Bell wood. "No, sir. I have quite a different ob ject in view." "If you were going to trade, the natives here might cause you trouble and delay." "I have found that out. They are very jealous of their privilege to trade with the white men who come to the coast, and they do not wish the white men to reach the interior tribes, from whom the finest ivory, and, in fact, nearly all things of value to the trader come. u Captain Bellwood knew this well enough, having made several trading voy ages along the African coast. "Their jealousy made it quite difficult for me to get away with my loads of goods,'' Professor Bonner went on. "Now I have it all arranged. They un derstand why I am carrying so many bundles." "And why are you, if you are not going to the interior to trade?" "My dear captain, I shall be forced to purchase my' passage inland, and so I must have a plentiful' supply of goods or presents. ' The old salt nodded. "Very good, profess or," he said. "I asked the question to see if you knew what you were doing. It is evident you do." The tall man drew himself up stiffly. "Youarenotthe first person to hint that I am on a crazy search," he said; "but I will show them-I will show the world a wonder that shall make me famous for all time." Frank Merriwell was listening atten-tively, and he was curious to know why Professor Bonner contemplated visiting the interior. It was evident the man was not going on an exploring expedition, and he had stated that he was not going for the purpose of trading. He did not appear like a hunter who was about to make the dangerous venture in search of big game, and his language had revealed that he was going in search for something. Captain Bellwood was not a little curious himself. "Professor," he said, "you make me inquisitive-! trust not impertinent. Would you mind telling us why you are going inland amid savage tribes of black men and ten thousand dangers of which you know nothing at all?'' "Ah-ahem coughed the professor. "Of course I do not mind. In fact, I came here to tell you, to see if you have not a man-a faithful and brave fellow-you can spare me as a companion. I need such a companion." The captain shook his head. "I fear I cannot spare a man of my crew," he said. "Wait," urged Bonner. "I may be able to make such a man famous. His name may be printed in newspapers all over the world as the companion of Professor Bon ner, who made the most wonderful dis covery ever known." "My curiosity increases," admitted the captain. "Go on. What is the object of your expedition?" The professor took a roll of parchment from a little case, and spread it out before the captain. "See this," he directed. "This is a chart of the course I mean to follow, and the upknown land I hope to reach. See this dotted line. It runs up the Rembo, crosses the Oviguli, Louvendji, Agouyai, and other rivers; it passes through the land of the Commi, Bakalai, Apono, Ashango, and other tribes; it continues through the lands of the Dwarfs; and
FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND 5 here it comes to a region that has never been explored by white men." ''All that is interesting; but why should you desire to make such a journey, 1f not for exploration? Only a fool would think of going so far inland to trade, and I do not take you for a fool, professor." "Some do," said the tall man, dryly. "As I have said, that region right there" -indicating point on chart with his fin ger-"has never been explored by white men. A white man once reached its bor der, and that not so very long ago. He had a photographic outfit with him, and he brought back some remarkable pictures. I have one here. Look at it, captain.'' He removed the photograph from a leather pocket, and placed it on the chart before Captain Bellwood. "Why, it's a gorilla!" exclaimed the master of the Saucy Susan. "And yetand yet--" ''And yet it is not a gorilla-exact! y so. You see, it much more resembles a hairy man, with a very short stump of a tail. Its arms are not so long as those of a gorilla, who walks on all fours, standing in a half upright position. Its head is far better formed than that of a gorilla. The nose is not so flat, the teeth less prominent, the ear better formed, and the fore head higher. It is a creature of mnch greater intelligence than the gorilla, and still it is not a man, as the stump of a tail plainly indicates.'' "Well, well!" exclaimed Captain Bell wood. ''I am growing strangely interested. lf this creature is not a gorilla and is not a man, what is it?" "The 11issing Link!" "What?" "This is the missing bond that unites man with the beasts!" cried Professor Bonner, excitedly and confidently. "There is no doubt of it, sir." '' Oh, say! I can't take stock in that theory, for I do not believe in evolution." "You may not believe in evolution now, but you will in a very few years, if yon live so long. My dear captain, I am on one of t!-te most momentous expeditions ever attempted by a human being." "You are going to penetrate this uti known land in search of this creature, which you call the Missing Link?" "Exactly. And I shall not return till I have captured or killed one of these crea tures. I do not wish to kill one, as it would seem very much like murder; but, if I cannot capture one, the advancement of scientific discovery and the broadening of human knowledge will nene my hand to slay one. Even though I felt myself a murderer, even though I might be re garded as a murderer, I should consider it my duty to mankind to establish, beyond the shadow of doubt, that there is such a creature as the Missing Link." Frank Merriwell was feverishly inter ested. He longed to ask some questions, but held himself silent in the presence of the captain and the professor. Captain Bellwood was incredulous, as was plainly evident. "How long ago was this picture taken, professor?" he asked. "Not more than two years ago. I do. not know the exact date when it was taken, but it was about two years ago." "By whom was it taken?" "By Professor William Riding, of the University of Healdsburgh, a gentleman, a scholar, a man of honor, and a man of veracity." "How did he happen to be where he could obtain such a picture?" ''He heard stories of this being-sailors' stories. He even found a sailor who pro fessed to have penetrated to the country where the creatures are and have seen one of them. That aroused his curiosity. He found a wealthy man who was willing to back him, and he organized an expedition to penetrate to this land and bring back absolute proof of the existence of the Missing Link. He carried out his project
6 FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. to a certain extent, for he reached the I "Eh ?" he grunted. ''A passenger, did country where the man monkeys are, and you say?" obtained this photograph. Then a t errible "I did, sir." misfortune befell him. He was wounded "What passenger?" by the poisoned arrow, and he never re"I will go m y self, if you will take me." covered, although he liven many months __ thereafter. His health failing, he was forced to give over his project and return to his home. From his own lips I learned enough to satisfy me that the Missing Link is no myth. When he died, I promised to complete the work he left unfin ished, and here I am. That is a full and complete explanation of how I happened to start out on this expedition." Frank saw the man was sincere and in earnest. Professor Bonner had not a single doubt concerning the existence of the Missing Link. "But this creature of which you have a picture may be no more than a wild man -an outcast from the natives near whe re he was discovered,'' said Captain Bell wood. "Look at that!" Bonner pointed triumphantly to the stubby tail exhibited in the photograph. CHAPTER III. PREPARING FOR THE START. Professor Bonner pursed up his lips looked very much surprised, and shook his head in a decidedly decisive manner. "You?" "Yes, sir." "Why, you are a mere stripling." Frank flu s hed a bit, but remained cool. "I know I am young in years, but I have traveled some, and I have had many experiences, passing through not a few dangers. I do not wish to boast, but I will say that you might take m ;my men who would not prove as valuable as myself." "Besides that," smiled Captain Bell wood, ''if you take Mr. Merriwell, you will be constantly in royal society. Mr. Merriwell was lately the king of the Wedolbas." "That proves the creature is not an "The Wedolbas?" repeated Professor ordinary wild man who has been cast out Bonner, questioningly. "Who are the from some of the savage tribes," declared Wedolbas ?" the professor. "Now, Captain Bellwood, The master of the Saucy Susan ex I have ntade every arrangement for this pl?.ined how the boy h a d been wrecked on expedition; but desire the companionship l d I b' d b b 1 d 1 d . an 1s an 10 1a 1te y canm a s an 1a and md of at' least one wlnte man, a n d I d 1 lf d 1 f h h save 11mse an us compamons rom ave come to se e 1f you a ve n t a sa 1lor b 1 d d d k' h em g s am an evoure rna m g t e who w1ll accompany me-a man y ou can 'b 1 b 1 h h d 1 canm as e 1eve e a supernatura spare. d 1 b k. I power, an tHIS e com1ng mg m p ace "I am sorry," said the m aster of the of the form e r m onarch who was kille d Saucy S:tsan; "but I do not feel that I can by a stroke o f spare a smgle man, professor. The crew Professor B onner g azed at the boy with increasing interes t, whi c h led him to ask "If there is none of the crew who can still further ques tions. In a short time he go, there is a passenger who will accompany you, Professor Bonner," said Frank Merriwell, quietly. The professor looked sharply at the boy, peering over his spectacles. had learned enoug h about Frank Merri well to convince him that the youth was no ordinary stripling." "But how is it yon are traveling round the world in such a manner?'' questioned
FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. 7 the professor. ''I should not think your you would take me along if you knew my parents would permit it." guardian would not make trouble about "My mother is dead," explained Frank, it." "and my father has not bothered himself "I might," was the confession. 1 about me for a number of years. My "Well, I can assure you that Professor uncle, who wa s very eccentric, left me Scotch--" his fortune, and provided, in his will, that "Professor who?" cried Bonner. "Not I shoul travel in company with m y Horace Scotch, of Fardale ?" guardian, in order to obtain a wider "Exactly Professor Horace Scotch is knowledge of the world.'' my guardian.'' "Hum!" grunted the profe s s o r. "But "Why w e were bo y s together-school-where is your g uardi an?" mates! cried the "I have not "On his way to Europe b y this time, I seen Roddy for years ; but I have not for expect, if my la s t letter, which was gotten him. And he is your guardian? mailed at Bu e nos Ayres, reached him. Well, well, well!" "And here you a re in Africa. When and where do you expect to meet him?'' "I do not know. I shall write him at the first opportunity and the. letter will be forwarded by my London bankers.'' Bonner purs ed up his lips and whistled, canting his head to one sid e and regarding the boy in a manner that made Frank think of the herons he had seen in Florida when they were watching something in the water near their feet. "A remarkable bo y!" mumbled the professor-" a most remarkable boy! He has the air and bearing of a man of the world. I should much enjoy having him for a companion.'' Frank's heart gave a thump of satisfaction. "Then take me along with you," he urged. "I'll guarantee that I will not prove an incumbrance." "My dear'boy, you know nothing of the dangers we must encounter, the perils of the forest and jungle, the wild beasts, the savage men, the venomous reptiles, the danger of fevers and strange diseases. No, my boy, I do not think I dare take you." Frank's heart sank in his bosom. "I think you are making a mistake, professor,'' be said, with an air of disap pointment. ''I know my age counts against me in your eyes; but still I think Frank fancied he saw an opportunity to gain t he o b ject he so much desired, and he worked for it with a will. He explained that Profes sor Scotch was more of a companion than a guardian, that the professor seldom or never objected to any thing Frank wished to do, that he had been traveling alone s ince his sudden ex pedition into South America, and that Scotch would be delighted to know that his prote g e was in such excellent com pany as his old comrade and schoolmate, Johnson Bonner. The boy played his cards skilfully, and Professor Bonner finally succumbed, after appealing to Captain Bellwood, who was forced to acknowledge that he the lad would be a most valuable and trustworthy companion. "All right," said the scientist, "I start to-morrow morning as early as pos sible, and you must be on hand. I am stopping at the upper village, which you have not yet visited, and it would be well for you to come up this afternoon and talk matters over with me. Will you come?'' Frank agreed to come, and the pro fessor finally took his leave, his last words being an expression of doubt as to the wisdom of taking a boy along. When Frank told Ephraim Gallup that
8 FHANK MERRIWELL IN GOitiLLA LAND. he was going with Professor Bonner, the I I am no great marksman. How about boy from Vermont quietly observed: yourself?" "Gol derned ef I ain't goin' too. Yeou Frank picked up one of the handsome can't lose me, Frank." Winchester rifles. Frank spoke of the dangers and hard"See the bright-colored bird on the ships; but Ephraim was not disturbed in very tip of yonder tree?" he asked. the least. "Yes, I see the bird. It is scarcely pos"What yeou s'pose I keer fer them sible you fancy you can touch it at such a things!" he cried. "I may kick up some, distance an' say I wish I was to hum; but yeou'd Frank made no reply, but brought the oughter know I kin fight when I hev to, rifle to his shoulder, took swift but accuran' I kin sta some knockin' araound. ate aim, and fired. I tell yeou I am goin' along." There was an exploding puff of bright'1' Perhaps Professor Bonner will not colored feathers, and the bird, shattered have you.'' by the bullet, fell from the tree. "He'll have to have me, by gum! I'll "Good gracious!" gasped Professor jest go along, anyway." Bonner, in a dazed way. "It is really So Ephraim accompanied Frank when marvelous-if it was not an accident." thelattervisitedtheprofessorattheupper "Wal, it wa'n't no accident," said village that afternoon. Ephraim Gallup. "An' thatain'tnorthin' Professor Bonner objected vigorously to side of the shootin' I've seen him do." taking two boys; but Frank told some Some of the natives had seen the shot, "large yarns" about Ephraim's ability and they uttered loud cries of astonish and bravery, and the man finally gave in. ment and admiration. Frank was regarded The professor had a large stock of as a great wizard, and the chief of the goods, all of which were made i11to village immediately sent to him to see his bundles for carrying, but were to be "fetich," or charm. transported in boats as far as possible. In Africa every native has a fetich He explained that he should take Some are to prevent sickness, some to twenty boatmen and porters from the protect from wizards, some to make the Commi people, among whom he was owners great hunters, or for hundreds of stopping. The Commi could be depended other things. upon, being brave and hardy, and com-The fetiches are made from all sorts of paratively honest. Some of the tribes in-things, such as birds' claws, monkey's land were noted for their treachery and teeth, hair, snake skins, human bones, dishonesty. and so forth. The had taken care to pro-Frank and Ephraim finally returned to vide himself with the most modern weap-the Saucy Susan and made ready for the ons, revolvers and magazine rifles. He expedition. was also able to supply Frank and Eph-When Frank next met Elsie he found raim with such weapons. the girl very sad and dejected. "It is very likely we may have to do "Cheer up, little sweetheart," stniled some fighting," he said. "Some of the the light-hearted lad. "You are looking inland tribes will not let us pass without as if you did not expect ever to see me trouble, that is pretty sure." again." "Can you shoo._t, professor?" asked "I fear I never shall," she said, Frank. gloomily. "You are going into a land of "Well, I know how to fire a rifle, but fevers and unknown diseases, to say noth-
: FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. 9 ing of other perils. Oh! Frank, why do you go? I was ::;o happy, thinking you would remain with us for some time!" ''You know I am determined to see all the world I can, Elsie; and I shall not find another opportunity like this. Besides that, just think what it means if it sliould be true that the Missing Link has been discovered in the wilds of Africa-if we should capture one of the creatures and bring it out alive. It would make us a ll famous the world over." ''What is fame, Frank! Life, health, and happiness are far preferable. For my sake, won't you give up this ex pedition, Frank?" Frank was placed in an unpleasant and embarrassing position. It took him some time to convince Elsie that she was asking too much of him, but he finally succeeded, and she gave up. -But they were together a long time, and Captain Bellwood did not interrupt their_ love makin?". CHAPTER IV. A CRY IN THE NIGHT. Frank and Ephraim were on hand early in the morning for the start, which Pro fesor Bonner had anticipated would be made at sunrise. But the professor was not yet familiar with the ways of the black people. Before the start could be made there were speech 'making, farewells, and strange cere monies. And when these things had been gone through and everything s eemed ready for the start, the twenty natives who were to accompany the professor had to rush back and go all through it again. All this took much time, and the sun was well up before the start was made. At last the boats were off. 'I'he throng of blacks on the shore fired a salute from their guns and yelled like maniacs; the blacks in the boats fired a salute m re sponse and yelled like fiends. "Gol dern my skin ef I ever. saw such a passel of yee-haw critters!" exclaimed Ephraim. "They kin make more n01se than a menagerie uv wildcats." "They certainly seem to have good lungs," laughed Frank. Up the Fernand Vas they paddled, and, at nightfall, they camped near where the Rembo into the larger river. Frank never forgot that first night camp. Several fires were built, and brush houses were hastily constructed. After supper the Cummi men sat about the, fires and smoked and jabbered, the firelight flaring on their black skins, their eyes rolling, their white teeth showing, and their arms being flung about in strange gestures. They were telling hunting yarns, and it seemed that each one was striving to tell a more improbable lie any of the others. Frank and Ephraim lay on some blankets and watched the singular scene while Professor Bonner sat near one of the fires, writing in his journal1 making a record of the first day's journey. "Well, Ephraim," said Frank, "here we are well started on the most remark: able search ever undertaken by human being::;.'' "That's so, Frank,'' nodded the Ver monter. "I be gol derned ef it don't seem like I was dream in' all .this." "It is no dream; but it is a strange reality.'' "Nobody'd ever thought that I'd be here. Folks up in aour taown never sus pected me nor Hiram, my brother'd, 'mount to much; but Hi he went to Chilly, where he's making money hand over fist, an' I'm travelin' araound the world.'' "You are traveling around the world, even though you sometimes wish you were back home on the farm." "Wal," said Ephraim, a bit sheepishly, "anybody'd kainder wish they was to hum ef they was captured by cannibals as
10 FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. was jest goin' to eat 'em up. Ef it hedn't bin for yeou, Frank, the cannibuls'd made a meal off me sure as hens lay aigs. '' "There are cannibals in Africa." "Git aout 1" ''Lots of them. The Fans are said to eatpeople who die of natural causes." "Oh, the gol dern critters! It can't be they know anything a tall." "On the contrary, they are said to be one of the finest and most inte11igent ap pearing races in Africa. They are splen didly built, both men and women, are ski11ed workers in iron, make. the finest spears, knives, axes, and other imple ments, and are brave and warlike." "Dinged ef that don't beat me! Any body'd think that critters what eat dead folks would be sickly an' scrawny an' good-for-northln '." "It .is probable that the Fans were not cannibals origina11y, but were driven to human flesh from necessity during some time of famine. In that way the habit came upon them. They do not eat their own people who die of diseases, but exchange them for others.'' "Haow in thunder is it that yeou alwus know so much abaout every place where yeou go?" asked the boy from Vermont, wonderingly. Frank smiled. "That is easy . I make,it a practice to obtain all the information possible about the countries I mean to visit, so that when I get back home I <;;hall really know something of the world." "That's a great idee." "In this way, I feel that I am carrying out the design of my Uncle Asher, who provided by his will that I should travel in order to broaden my knowledge of the world and humanity." "Haow'd yeou find aout so much about this part of Afriky? Yeou didn't know for sure that yeou was goin' to visit this coast till we was taken off Phantom Island by Cap'n Bellwood." "Captain Bellwood is a man who be lieves in knowing something of the people with whom he intends to do busi ness, and he has a number of authent ic books on Africa and its inhabitants." "An' yeou was readin' uv 'em ev'ry day, I remember that. Wal, Frank, you're baound to be a great man some time. Yeou 'll know a heap.'' "It is not absolutely necessary to travel in order to become well informed concerning the world and its inhabitants. Any boy who has the ambition may acquire a vast store of knowledge by reading books of travel, and well-written books of travel are as fascinating as novels." ''By gum! I'm goin' to read more uv that kind uv stuff arter this. I don't ex pect to travel all over the world, same as yeou will; but what I have traveled makes me want to know moare abaout the world than I do. At the same time, I don't care much abaout havin' anything to do with no more cann_ibjJ-ls. '' "Well, you are not likely to, for we pass to the south of the Fan country, so we shall not see the cannibals. But we are going through a country inhabited by people far more dangerous than canni bals.'' "Git aont !'' ''That is right." "Who be they?" ''The Bakalai." "What's the matter with them?" ''They are very treacherous and un-trustworthy." "Is that all?" "No. At the very moment when they appear the most friendly they may be plotting to murder one. And they use poisoned arrows.'' "Wal, dern their skins!" "The heads of their arrows are so at tached to the shaft that, if the arrow penetrates beyond the barhed head, an at tempt to pull it out will leave the poisoned head in the wound.''
.. FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. 11 "By what y eou say abaout them, I shore to welcome the white men. They should judge the Bakalai are real nice danced, shouted, sang, and fired guns. people! They'd oughter go to war with "Gol dern the critters!" muttered the cannibuls, an' both sides fight till Ephraim, clutching his rifle. "They act everybody was killed dead." like they was itch in' to chaw us up." The boys lay and talked till they be"That is their way of greeting us," ex-came drowsy, and they finally wrapped plained Professor Bonner. "They expect themselves in their blanke. ts and slept. me to stay with them some time and Some time in the night they were trade, and they will be greatly disap aroused by the frightful screech of a pointed when they learn that I mean to leopard; but the natives hastily stirred up go on in the morning.'' the fires and the creature did not approach As the boats approached the shore the camp. Frank stood up, pointed his Winchester The next morning they pushed on up into the air, and fired six shots in bewildthe Rem]?o, which was rather narrow and eringly rapid succession. swift where it emptied into the Fernand The natives were astounded and frightVas, but became broader and easier to ened. All their guns were old fashioned navigate as they progressed. muzzle loaders, and they had never seen On both sides of the river the foliage a r .epeating rifle. It seemed marvelous to I was like a dense green wall, dotted here them that a gun could shoot so many and there with bright flowers. Bright-, times without reloading, and some of plumed birds cut the air overhead, them ran away and concealed themselves, monkeys chattered in the trees, crocodiles fearing the "white wizards" too much to slipped into the water from muddy banks, face them. on which they had been sunning themI The king, although greatly agitated, I selves, and once some elephants that had greeted the and the boys, saying been near the river took to their heels he was glad they had come, and making and disappeared amid the trees, which them presents of goats and plantains. crashed and swayed as they went. I Professor Bonner made a brief speech, Frank caught up his rifle and fired 1 in which he assured the king that he had after the elephants, but 'the creatures were come to do him good, and ended by makout of sight before he could get a shot, so ing the old fellow a present of a brighthe had to fire by chance, and it seemed red jacket, which the king immediately that he did not wound one of the donned, grinning with delight and danecreatures. ing about like a jubilant schoolboy. Both boys were kept constantly in-A house was given the professor and terested and on the alert by what they the boys for their occupancy while they both saw about them. Everything seemed remained in the village. The professor novel and strange, and the day passed took care thdt his goods were stowed away swiftly. for the night and carefully guarded. Near night the boats approached 1 Later on the re was a great pow-wow, Goumbi, a large village. One of the: in which the villagers and the three white smaller boats was sent forward, so the in-visitors took part. habitants of the town might be notified ; The professor presented the king's ten that three white m e n wer e coming to visit wives each with a string of bright-colored them. j beads, and explained that be had not When Goumbi was approached all the' com e to trade, but was going inland t o inhabitants of the village were on the hunt.
l:.l FRANK MERIUWELL IN GORILLA LAND Thi s w as s om ething the n ati v es could not understand, and they a ppeared to doubt the white man's word. A t l as t the pro f es sor was forced to s h o w his photograph of the "Missing Link" to the chief, and explain that h e w as goin g in search of that creature, hoping to c apture one alive and take it to the white m a n's country where h e could m ake much money b y exhibiting it. The king was finall y forced to be sa tis fied with Bonner' s statements, but he prof e ssed great grief over the short stay the whites were to make with him. The inhabitants of Goumbi told frightful tales of the great perils to be encountered fartl1.er on, plainly striving to frighten the party from proceeding, but Bonner laughed at all these y arns, and ins isted that h e should go forward in the morning. That night Frank slept soundly, but, despite the heaviness of his slumber, he was aroused by a cry._ that seemed to come from the river. He started up and listened. All seem e d silent, save for the snoring of Ephraim and the professor, who slept on without a break. Somehow that cry had stirred the blood in Frank's body. He arose and went out where he could listen without hearing the snoring so plainly. As he reached the open air, another cry, broken and smothered, coming from a far distance, was indistinctly heard. It seemed like the call of a woman in distress, and it affected the boy strangely, even though he had heard of wild beasts that uttered such weird sounds. He crept back into the hut, a heavy chill upon him. Although he lay down a nd closed his eyes, his s1eep was no longer peaceful and refreshing. All through the rest of the night he dreamed of Elsie-dreamed she was in some frightful peril. CHAPTER V. RESULT OF THE HUNT. When morning c a m e the king still o b jected to the d e p arture o f the expedition, but finall y agreed to l e t the party go on if Professor Bonn e r w o uld pay a certain price in cloth and b eads The profes s o r wa s a n g r y He ordered his men t o make read y to start wi thou t dela y and, when the king ordered his fighting men and offered to prevent this, the profes sor threatened him w ith disaster and ruin. But Frank lVIerriwell took a far more effec tive way to induce the old monarch to let them depart. He promptly leveled his rifle at the king's head, threatening t o shoot if the warriors were not ordered off at once. The king h a d seen Frank fire six shots from the rifle without pausing to reload and he stood in great awe of the weapon. He showed fear and did as the boy directed. "You are wise," said the cool lad. If I should start this gun to shooting it might not stop till yourself and all your people were dead." Frank kept the king under surveillance till the expedition was ready to move. A s the boats were paddled up the river, the king cried out to the Commi men of the professor's party that the white boy's gun held a bad spirit that would kill them all. But the coast savages had seen a repeating rifle before, and they simply laughed. ::r'his day was much like the previous day, except that the party halted by midafternoon and prepared an encampment for the night. By this time the natives declared they were in a region where the gorilla might be found, and Frank was very anxious t o kill one of the creatures. Ever full of restles s energy Frank proposed a hunt, and Ephraim seconded the propos al.
FRANK MEl-tRIWELL IN GOlULLA LAND. 13 The profes s or tried to dissuade them ; They were crossi\lg this ()pen space but he had come to regard Frank with re-when all were startled by a blood-curds p e ct, and he did not say much. ling scre a m and a bellowing roar. Frank's coolne s s and prompt action in A moment late r a wild bull, with a d e aling with the old king who had tri e d leop a rd clinging to its back, came tear t o m ake them pay heavy tribute f o r the ing across the cle aring. p ri v ile g e of going onward from his vill age The leopard had fas tened its teeth in had con v inced Bonner that the bo y knew the hull's neck, and was clinging with its his bus iness and could be relied upon. cruel claws to the b ack of the agonized The professor h a d pra ised Frank for animal. this act, and had been not a little sur-The bull b o unded and reared, tossed p ri s ed when h e found the lad re g arded it and plung ed, but all in vain, for the leapas of small consequence. ard clung with the tenacity of death itself. Mpomo, a Commi hunte r, agreed to a c -The bull would dart forward a short company the boys and they select e d two di stance, stop abruptly wheel and whirl, other natives but all to no avail. The forest back from the river was There was a wild light of despair in the thick1and dark, with v ery large trees, the buffalo's ey e s and a wild light of savage branches of which were intertwined. triumph in the ey s of the Jeopard. Mpomo d e clared it was a fine place for It w a s a thrilling spectacle, and the boys gorillas, who shun light, open places at watched it with breathless interest, for day, and hover in dark, secluded no6ks. getting their rifles were in their hands. The boy s had heard many stories -af the The bull was so blinded by pain and gorilla's strength and ferocity since leav-terror that it saw nothing of the hunters. ing the Saucy Susan. With the exception Of a s udden it dashed straight at Ephof the hunters, the natives stood greatly in raim, and the leopard seemed to become awe of the beast. aware that human b eings were present. It was plain, also, that some of the In wild excitement, Ephraim :flung up hunters were not nearly so eager to face his rifle and fired. a gorilla as they professed to be. It was a cha11ce shot, but a deadly one, Mpomo, however, seemed a rather brave for the bull dropped in a second, the buland nervy fellow, and Frank was favorJet having reached its brain. abl y impressed by his appearance. At the very moment that the bull fell, The young Commi hupter led the way, the Jeopard seemed to launch itself into Frank and Ephraim following, with the the air, leaping straight at the boy from other Commi men bringing up the rear. Vermont. In this manner they pushed forward for Ephraim could not have escaped by a t least a mile without seeing anything an y e ffort of his own. He stood with his worth shooting. smoking rifle half lowered, utterly incapa-Frank was surprised and disappointed, ble of making a move to defend himself. for he had expected to find the forest In watching the struggle between the a bounding with game, there being so bull and the leopard, Frank had stepped much life along the river. several feet to one side. His rifle was at At length they came to a little strip of his shoulder when Ephraim fired. prairie right in the heart of the great Frank saw the buffalo fall, saw the forest. The grass was green and the nat-leopard spring, and comprehended the ural clearing looked very pretty in the deadly danger of his friend. midst of the dark woods. Never was Frank M e rriwell s hand
FRANK MER.RIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. steadier than at that moment, never was his aim truer and more deadly. Spang !-the rifle spat forth its deadly pellet. The leaping leopard seemed to double into a ball in the air, and it dropped in a heap at Ephraim's feet, feebly clawing at the ground, a bullet through its body. Ephraim jumped back, gasping: "Wal, by gum!" A great shout went up from the throats of the natives. They were filled with astonishment and admiration. Mpomo screamed: "Whit<;; boy big quick kill! Sure he have wizard spirit in him gun! Him very big hunter! Hoolray! hoolray !" Both lads were regarded with unutterable admiration by the amazed savages, who danced with glee about the slain animals. "Go! dern my skin!" gurgled Ephraim. "But that was a thunderin' close call! My gun kainder went off by acci dent, but it killed the kaow. I don't reckon yeour gun went off by accident, Frank. That was great shootin '." "Well, I didn't have any time to spare,'' laughed Frank. "Nqt a jiffy. Ef yeou'd stopped to think it over, that air leopard would hev hed a square meal off me, sure's shoo tin'." The natives fell tp skinning the leopard. "I shall keep this skin among my trophies," smiled Frank. "Whenever I see it I shall think of you, Ephraim." The black fellows were very skilful. in their work, and it took them but a few minutes to strip the hide fro!D the leop ard. Then they set about skinning and cutting up the buffalo. One of them started out at a run to the cam!? to notify the Commi men to come and bring in the meat. "I rather fancy this ends our hunting for this afternoon," said Frank. "We did not find a gorilla, but we found s ome game.'' "That's right, an' it's purty big game, too.'' "I am satisfied with the result of the hunt." "An' I'm satisfied so long's I escaped from bein' chawed up. I don't keer ef we don't see no gorilla, fer--" Ephraim was interrupted by a sound like distant thunder. It rumbled and rolled through the forest, almost seeming to make the ground quiver. Then followed the distant report of a gun. CHAPTER VI. FOOTPRINTS IN THE FOREST. The boys looked at each other in astonishment and alarm. "Great goshfry !" gurgled Ephraim Gallup, his hair seeming to lift his hat, "what in thutteration was that?" "It sounded like thunder," said Frank; l'but I do not think it was." "No t'under !" cried Mpomo, excitedly. '' Dat gorilla!'' "What? That a gorilla? Is it possible they can make such terrible sounds." "Poggerble ?" said the Commi hunter, in a puzzled way. ''Dey make urn. Dunno what poggerble mean." Mpomo sometimes mixed his English in a ludicrous manner, and he was much inclined to catch at every long word be heard the white men use. "Ef that was a gorilla, it must be the old king pin u v all gorillas," declared the boy from Vermont. ''Him big man gorilla,'' explained Mpomo. "Him berry much mad when him make dat poggerble sound." "Mad?" ''Yes.'' ''How do you know?'' ''By de sound him make.'' "Somebody fired a gun," fluttered the Yankee lad. "I k:nder guess some feller took a shot at him."
FRANK IN GORILLA LAND. 15 "Perhaps the shot killed him, for he tain he had come too far when he sud has not roared since that--' denly halted, whispering: Once more the terrible booming roar I "Now go claucious. Him berry near sounded through the gloomy forest, ap-here when him holler." parently causing the leaves to quiver on "How do you know?" asked Frank. the trees. "Know by sound." "Gun no kil1 dat gorilla," cried "It does not seem possible he could Mpomo, with still greater excitement. have been so far away apd we could l.!_ear "Gorilla ba, d man to fool wid. Feller wid his roar so plainly." gun him in scrape." "By gosh!" gasped Ephraim. "I'd hate "Then it is time we took a hand!" to have him holler in my ear! It'd bu'st e claimed Frank. "Lead the way, a feller's head wide open." Mpomo. We'll look after Mr . Gorilla." "Must be sti11," warned the native "Be yeou goin' there?" gasped Eph-hunter. "Him may be near. Mebbe him raim, in agitation. "I don't seem to care run away if him hear little stick break. so gol dern much fer gorillas as I did a Look out berry close where feet step." while ago." Then they crert onward through the "Come on, Ephraim, "came sternly woods. from Merriwell. "If you have any nerve All at once, with a low, clucking noise, now is the sime to show it. A human beMpomo stopped. ing may be in deadly peril." The boys half lifted their rifles, ready "All right," groaned the boy from Ver-for action; .but the hunter bent over the mont. "Go ahead an' I'll foller. I'd ground, a murmur of satisfaction coming kainder like to be hoein' 'tatnrs naow on from his lips. the old farm!" "Look dat," he said, triumphantly. "Mos be much claucious," warned "What white boys t'ink 'bout Mpomo Mpomo. "Gorilla mad, him berry bad. know how fur off dat gcrilla be?" We find him mebby; mebby he be two They stepped forward and looked at the hundred mile away when we git dere." soft, moist ground where he was point" By gum!" cried Ephraim. "I hope ing, and there they saw a huge footprint he has felt like walkin' a few hundred that set the blood to leaping in their veins, mile fer exercise.'' for it was the, track of a gorilla beyond a Mpomo took the lead, quickly plung-doubt. ing into the forest wliich surrounded the There was the broad foot plainly imglade. Frank and Ephraim followed him pressed, with the thumb-like big toes closely, leaving the other hunter to look standing, out from the others. It was an after the buffalo and leopard until they imprint to fill the beholder with awe, for returned or the people from the camp it showed that the beast must be a mon-came. Mpomo moved forward )Vith great swiftness and silence, taxing the energies of the boys to follow him. It was not long before Ephraim began to breathe heavil y, but Frank, being a perfect athlete, kept his "wind" splendidly. For at least a mile the black guide led them forward through the dismal forest, and the boys were beginning to feel cer-ster of his kind. Ephraim Gallup's teeth cilattered. ''Gug-gug-gug-great gosh!'' he stammered. "He must be the old he-daddy uv all gug-gug-gng-gorillas !" "Him pretty big," nodded M porno. "Bad feller to fool with." ''I ain't feel in' very well," declared the lad from Vermont. "I guess we'd bet ter go right back to the river."
16 FRANK .M:ElUUWELL IN GORILLA LAND Frank paid no attention to this, but said to Mpomo: "Follow the trail; we will follow you." "Be still," warned the hunter. "Reddy to fire. Corne." Crouching, his eyes rolling, his figure reminding Frank of a creeping panther, the black hunter moved onward. The white boys followed, although Ephraim's teeth still chattered. They had not proceeded far before they carne to a place where the underbrush was thick, and where, in order to clear a road for his progress, the gorilla ..lJ ad torn up the bushes, snapped great limbs as thick as a man's arm, and even pulled up young trees by the roots. "Gosh! but he must have some rnus cle !" whispered Ephraim, admiration mingling with his fear. "He'd be a holy terror to rassle with." They followed the g?rilla 's trail through the underbrusp, and then, 1n a little clearing, they carne upon a startling horrible spectacle. A dead man lay on the ground, his body ripped open from his breastbone downward. Beside him was a gun, the barrel of which was bent and twisted, showing what enormous strength the en raged gorilla possessed. It was plain that the man had come suddenly ang unexpectedly upon the gorilla, had fired ,hastily, had failed to mortally wound the beast, and the creature had closed in instantly, killing the man with one blow, after which he seized and twisted the gun. A shout of the utmost wonder and dis may escaped Frank Merriwell's lips as he saw the dead man on the ground. "Look!" he crieci, pointing a shaking \ finger at the body "It is a white l]lan !" "Great gosh!" fluttered Ephraim, his eyes popping from his head. ''It is a white man, sure as punkins make good pies!" "Him got kickcited," said Mporno. "N ebber touch gorilla when him shoot. Got to kill gorilla first pop. '' "But a white man-here-alone!" carne from Frank. ''I can't understand that. There's somethiug strange about it.'' "Yeou bet!" nodded the other boy. "He must have bin lost." Frank advanced a few steps, scanning the face of the dead man, which was con vulsed with agony and terror. "A sailor, I should say," muttered Frank. "And there seems something familiar about him, as if I had seen him before.'' The next moment he fell back, hoarse ly crying: "Merciful goodness! I have seen him before I know the man "What's that? what's that?" spluttered Ephraim. "Know him!" ''-Yes! Look-look at that face! You have seen him before-you know him. There can be no mistake.'' "By gum! I believe I do!" "Of course you do. The man's name is Ostergoth, and he is a Swede. He was a sailor on the--" "On the Saucy Susan!" "Sure as fate!" The boys looked into each other's eyes in growing amazement, utterly unable to understand this wonder "Haow in thunger kin that be?" asked Ephraim. "We left Ostergoth on the Saucy Susan when we came away frum her.'' "That's what we did," nodded Frank; "but the man is here at our feet, dead as a door-nail." "There must be some kind uv a mJs take. This feller must look like the Swede, but it can't be him. "There is no mistake," declared Frank, bending over the man and lifting his arm, from which he thrust the sleeve back. "Ostergoth had a vessel tattooed on his left arm right here, and here it is! This is the man!"
FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. 17 "But haow did he come here, when we left him on the schooner?" "Ask me something easy." "He must have deserted." "That's plain; but I do not understand how he got so far inland in such a short time. It is a marvel." The wonder of the boys increased as they thought the matter over. The Swede had been left behind them on the schooner, and now here he was, far from the coast, dead in the gloomy wilds of the African forest. "If he deserted the vessel, he did not desert alone," declared Frank. "No man would leave a vessel on this coast and hurry inland amid the savages." "Perhaps he was sent ar er us," suggested Ephraim. Frank shook his head. "That is not at all Iikelv. If he had been sent after us, he would have found us. Instead of that, he must have made special effort to avoid us and get ahead of us.,, "Mebbe he was makin' a rush to find the Missin' Link afore we did." Frank thought of the strange cry he had heard in the night-the cry that had brought him from the hut in the of Goumbi to listen in the street. Of a sudden, Mpomo gave a cry, pointing excitedly to the ground. "Look dat !" he exclaimed. They looked, and what they beheld was more astonishing than anything they had yet seen. It was another footprint. It was small and shapely, being the footpnnt of a female. And that female wore a shoe! Frank was no less astonished. At first he refused to believe the evidence of his eyes; but he looked again and f1e saw yet another footprint in the soft ground. l\1pomo was on his knees searching the ground. Those footprints were like print to him ; he read them as his companions would have read an open book. "A female!" cried Frank Merriwell. "And it was not one of the native women They do not wear shoes.'' "Not by a go! dern sight!" spluttered the boy from Vermont. "White gal make track," declared l\1pomo excitedly. "vVhite gal be here with white man. She run away fast." "Ran away?" "vVhen white man shoot at gorilla. Den she run." ''How can you tell?'' "Look at wide step-look at where toes stick in deep. No heel mark at all. Dat show gal be scat an' run away." "That's right," came hoarsely from Frank Merriwell lips. "She ran deeper into the forest when the man shot at the gorilla.'' "But who kin she be?" Frank looKed at Ephraim, but made no immediate reply. His eyes, however, told a great dread-an appalling fear-that was filling his heart. "Look cried M pomo, still pointing to the ground. "Gal run away, but gorilla him faller after him kill white mans. See him track go off dat way." Frank saw the tracks plainly enough, and the fear in his heart deepened to horror. It was plain that the monster of the forest had pursued the fleeing female. what'd he faller her for?" asked CHAPTER VII. Ephraim, in a dazed way. ELSIE BEL WOOD'S PERIL. "Gorilla sometime carry off womens," "Gosh all thutteration !" declared Mpomo. "They steal black wo-Ephraim could not express his amaze-mans. White womans mebby carried off." ment. His t:yes bulged, and his jaw "Come on!" cried Frank, hoarsely; dropped, while he actually staggered. "we must follow these tracks! Lead the
1 8 FRANK MERRIWELL IS GORILLA LAND way, Mpomo l We must know what fate "What's that? What do you mean?" befell her." "Him no like odder gorilla. Can't kill Mpomo hesitated, and then said: him. White man nebber touch him wid "Boys be reddy all time to shoot. No bullet, and gorilla be close to white man. tell when gorilla come at us. White boys Dat gorilla berry bad spirit. Can't kill great to shoot. Make sure to kill gorilla him." quick." "That is nonsense. Don't be foolish, "We'll kill him quick enough, if we Mpomo. We must find that gorilla, and see him," assured Frank. "Lead on, save the white woman who is in peril. Mpomo, and do not waste time in useless Lead on." talk." Mpomo protested, growing still more They started. Ephraim slipped to frightened. Frank became angry after a Frank's side, whispering the question: time, and he suddenly drew a revolver and "Do yeou think it kin be her?" thrust it againSt the hunter's head, sternly "Who else?" Frank flung over his saymg: shoulder. "Ostergoth was a sailor on the "You must follow that gorilla, or we'll Saucy Susan, and :>he--" leave you here on the ground, a dead "By gum, it must bel" grated Eph-Commi man. Start l" raim. "We'll never stop till we find her, "An' be gol dern lively abaout Frankl We'll kill that gol dern gorilla startin'," growled Ephraim. deader'n hay l" Through fear of the revolver Mpomo Frank Merriwell's lips were moving; went forward, but it was plain that he lle was muttering a prayer for the safety could not be depended on in case they of the girl he had last seen far away on came suddenly upon the gorilla. the Saucy Susan. They had not proceeded far before a Mpomo was fleet of foot, and his eyes moaning cry of fear sounded through the were keen. Still he seemed to dread com-forest-the cry of a girl in dire distres s. ing suddenly on the gorilla, for he would That sent the blood like molten lava pause at times and listen, his whole as-through Frank Merriwell 's veins. pect betokening fear. Following the moaning cry came shriek Frank was impatient at every delay; after shriek, terrible, intense, despairing. he was burning with a desire to overtake And then sounded that rumbling roar, the monster of the forest. He saw that a sound that was horrible beyond descrip Mpomo had been affected by the sight of tion. It was like rolling thnnder, and yet the dead man-had lost his nerve. it had the mingled note of a human being Frank ground his strong white teeth and a beast in fury. It seemed to fill all together, and now and then urged the the forest and to make the leaves on the to hurry along. He could barely tree s quiver. keep his hands off the fellow when Mpomo fell flat on his face, utterly Mpomo halted for the twentieth time. overcome with terror. Frank and Ephraim "Why do you stop again?" he grated, were rooted to the ground for a moment, hotly. "Keep on-keep on l" but, as socn as the sounds ceased, Frank "Gorilla him be near," declared the whirled and clutched his companion, givhunter, his eyes rolling with fear. ing the boy from Vermont a savage shake. 11Mpomo know something 'bout dat "It's the gorilla l" he panted. "He has gorilla." pursued her-he has found her l We must "Well, what do you know?" save her-or die!" "Him berry bad spirit." Ephraim's teeth had been rattling to-
,. FRANK l\IERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND 19 gether, but he braced up wonderfully, returning: "Go ahead, Frank, I'll foller ye, ef it's a hundred roarin' devils we're goin' to meet! I'm purty gol dern scart, but I ain't even goin' ter think abaout bein' at hum on the farm. Go ahead!" Forward they went at a run, paying no heed to. Mpomo, who still lay face downward on the ground, as if he had been d eath stricken. In a few minutes they broke through into an open space amid the trees, and were just in timt!"to see a huge, hairy creature disappear into the shadows at the farther side. "Did you see him?" panted Frank. "Yep," answered Ephraim, staring about. "But where's the gal?" ''He had her-had her in his arms! Come on! Be ready to shoot, but take care not to shoot her.'' After the gorilla they rushed, heedless, reckless, desperate. The shadows were deep beneath the trees, but they did not mind. The chivalry of their natures was aroused, and they would have dared anything just then. They looked around, expecting to see the monster near at hand; but the brute had vanished in a most singular manner. They were about to push onward when they were startled by a cry: "Frank-save me!" It came from above. Looking upward, Frank Merriwell beheld a spectacle that seemed to turn his seething blood to icewater. A monster gorilla, nearly six feet in height, with immense body, huge chest, long, muscular arms, fiercely glaring large deep-gray eyes, and a fiendish expression of face, like some frightful nightmare vision, was clinging amid the stout branches of a large tree. With one arm this monster of the African forest held to its hairy breast a girl-a white girlElsie Bell wood Frank's worst fears were confirmed. He h a d hoped and prayed that it might not be Elsie; bur now he knew the girl who was so dear to him was in this frightful peril. How she came there, so far from her father's vessel, he could not conceive, and there was no time for speculation on that point. She must be rescued without delay. The crest of short hair which stood on the gorilla's forehead began to twitch up and down, while the monster showed his powerful fangs, making Frank think of the dreadful creatures, half human and half beast, which he had seen in pictures of the infernal region. Although the gorilla did not seem to fear the boys, it held the girl between itself and them, glaring over her shoulder, thus seeming to protect itself from their bullets. Ephraim Gallup had been with terror, but now, of a sudden, he fonnd himself wonderfully cool and delib erate. His hand fell on Frank's arm, and he asked: '' Haow be we goin' to save her?'' ''If we could shoot the beast-if we could kill it-if--" "That gol derned 'if' is a nasty word. Ef we shoot, we may hit her. Ef we don't hit her, we may not kill the gorilla, an' he may take a noshun ter serve her ther way he did Ostergoth." Frank knew this was true. The first bullet must be deadly, or the imperiled girl might be rent limb from limb by the wounded monster. The situation was one to rob the strongest man of his nerve, but Frank Merriwell did not lose his head. "Get under the tree, Ephraim," he directed. ''Prepare to catch her when I fire. Move lively now!" "But you'renotgoin' to shoot? Yeou'll hit her!" "Do as I tell you," came sternly from
2 0 FRANK t.lElUtl\VELL IN GORILLA LAND. Frank. "It is the only way to save her. Her eyes were clo sed and her face was Get under that limb." deathly white. A chill struck through Ephraim lost no more time in putting Frank's heart like the keen blade of a d ow n his rifle and doing as he wa s knife. directed. He placed himself directly be"Sp. ea.k, Elsie," he hoarsely whispered. n eath the huge limb on which the gorilla "Open your eyes!" was standing, bra:cing himself to catch Then he kissed her unresponding lips, the girl if she dropped. lowering her gently to the ground, an ex-Then the other lad lifted hi s rifle and pression of unutterable anguish on his took careful aim at the right eye of the handsome face. gorilla, which was seen over the girl's "I have killed her!" he groaned. shoulder. "Git aout !" snorted Ephraim Gallup. Never was Frank's hand steadier than "Hev yeou gone crazy, Frank! Never at that moment. The rifle seemed held in saw yeou make a fool uv yourself before." I a vise. "But look, how ghastly The gorilla see med to wonder what she is!" 1 was about to take place. "Wal, I don't see no blood on her. "Be still, Elsie," warned Frank, in a Yeou never touched her at all. But yeo u calm voice. "I will shoot the brute did shute the derned gorilla clean throug h through the head." ther coco. Ther gal's fainted." Then he fired. "Fainted?" --"That's all." CHAPTER VIII. THE DEATH SHOT. Frank was on his knees-at her side, chafing her hands and gazing earnestly into her face. For all that she was so A scream broke from the lips of the pale, for all that her clothes were torn unfortunate girl, and the rifle fell from and her hair tangled, she had "
FRANK )lERRIWELL IN G ORILLA LAND 2 1 s till he was filled with unutterable anxiety He hovere d o ve r h e r, rubbing her hands and calling her n a m e till her e y elids bega n to flutter a deep s i g h passed her lips and she fin a ll y murmured: "Frank!, "Elsie!, O nce more he had her in his arms, looking wildl y into her fac e She opened her ey es s aw hi s f a ce so near, and smned f aintly "Frank, y ou saved me!, "Yes, thank Heaven! I w as able to sa ve y ou, little swe etheart! I feared I had killed you when y ou cried out; but m y bullet went true, and the gorilla I S dead.'' She shuddered. "Oh, the dreadful beast!, she half sobbed. "I ran as long as I had strength, and then I hid; but the great, hairy creature found me. Oh, it was horrible, horrible!'' She seemed overcome by the remembra nce, shuddering and sobbing. Frank held her close to his heart, trying to calm her. "Gue'is he'll git along all right ef I don't help him,, said the boy from Vermont, turning away and winking at nothing in particular. Ephraim pretended to be very busy in examining the dead gorilla during the next ten minutes, and he would have spent a longer time in this manner if Frank had not spoken to him. "Wal, I guess she's all right now,, said the Yanke e boy, a s he sauntered over to the young couple. "I am, thanks to you both,, said Elsie, holding out her hand to him. ''I owe you a thousand thanks. "One's enough fer me,, said Ephraim. "Give t'other nine hundred an' ninety nine to Frank. He's the feller what done the shutin', an' he ker-plunke d that gol dern ole gorilla right plumb in the e ye., I aimed at his e y e , s aid Frank. "I coul d se e it bl az in g over Elsie's shoulder Som ehow I felt that I c o uld not miss it. It seemed like a magn e t tha t would dra w the bullet., "It w as a d es perit c h ance,'' Ephraim' o bs e r v ed. "Ef y e o u 'cl onl y w ounde d the c r itte r, it'd bin a bad thing f e r M i s s B e ll wood., "I knew I mus t n o t f a il to kill it with the fir s t shot., "vV al, b y gosh! there ain't m a n y bo ys uv yeour age tha t kin say they have shot a re a l live gorill a., "There's not anothe r boy in the whole world like Frank Merriwdl !, declared Els ie, proudly "He is the most wonderful boy who ever lived-the bravest and the noblest!, Frank blushed. "Oh, come, Elsie!, he protested; "don't lay it on so thick! I can't stand it-rea11y I can't. You don't know all boys in the world, and s o y ou are not competent to judge.'' Although Frank Merriwell possessed a certain amount of self esteem, he was not conceited; he did not think himself the smartest fellow in the world, which is rather remarkable considering the for tune that had befallen him and the adventures through which he had passed. Most lads in Frank's shoes would have been spoiled; but, instead of getting the "big head,, Frank was learning each day how insignificant one human being really is, and he knew the wbrld would jog along very well if he were to sUddenly drop out of existence. The adventure through which Elsie had passed had severely shaken her nerves, and had robbed her of strength. Both lads were eager to know how she came there in the forest, far from the Saucy Susan, but, understanding the state of mind she wa s in, they refrained from questioning her then. Supporting her between them, and lea ving the dead gorilla to be found and
, I 22 FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. / brought in by some of the natives, they did take a feller with haydoogins uv nerve started for the camp. ter shute ther gonlla an' not hit the little gal." CHAPTER IX. A NIGHT ATTACK. When the camp was reached Captain Bellwood and several sailors were found there. The captain was nearly distracted, and the sight of his child, alive and practically uninjured, filled him with unutterable joy. He clasped her in his arms, and actually shed tears of happiness. When the old salt learned that Elsie had bem rescued by Frank and Ephraim, who had saved her from the clutches of a gorilla, when he heard how Frank had shot the monarch of the African forest through the head, although forced to takes chances of hitting the girl with the bullet, Justin Bellwood regarded both lads with unspeakable admiration. The master of the Saucy Susan wrung Ephraim's hand warmly, but he deliber ately embraced Frank, his voice far from steady, as he said: "My little girl has said you are the most wonderful boy in the whole world, and I am beginning to believe she is right. Frank Merriwell, I owe you a mighty debt -a debt I can never pay. Anything and everything I may ever possess is yours. All you have to do is to ask." The eyes of Frank and Elsie met for a single instant, and the girl's lashes drooped, while a warm :flood of color rushed to the cheeks that had been so pale a while before. "Thank you, Captain Bellwood," said Frank, quietly, gravely. "It makes me happy to know you feel thus toward me. Still, I do not want too much credit. Ephraim stood by me through it all, and he caught Elsie when she fell, after I shot the gorilla. '' 1 Oh, that wan 't northin' at all," spluttered the Vermonter, awkwardly. "Anybody could have done that. But it "Well, well, well!" cried Professor Bonner, -who had heard all that passed. "And to think I hesitated about taking such boys as companions! Remarkable lads. Wonderful youths! I am proudproud, sir !-to have them with me.'' Frank was restless and to get away, as all this praise and admiration were far from agreeable to him. However, he had not heard how it happened that Elsie was there, and, by way of turning the tide of conversation, he asked that the matter be explained. Then Captain Bellwood told how there had been trouble brewing among the sailors for some time, and how it had been necessary to put the irons on Ostergoth and confine him in the hold. The Swede had sworn to have revenge, and awaited his time. ad Another sailor, Bob Buntline, a rest less and quarrelsome fellow, had expressed his hatred for Captain Bellwood, and the two had plotted to strike a blow at the master of the Saucy Susan. The very day that Frank and Ephraim started up the river with Professor Bonner the captain had gone ashure, permitting Elsie to accompany him for the first time. While the captain was trading in the village, the girl had left him for a few moments. When he came. to look for her she could not be found. Of course an alarm was raised immediately. Elsie had disappeared most mysteriously, and it was some time before the captain could learn anything of her. At last he found that Ostergoth, Buntline, and another fellow by the name of Bill Jones were missing. A little later it was discovered that certain natives had disappeared from the village. Then Captain Bellwood became con-
FRANK MERRIWEt-L IN GORILLA LAND. 23 vinced of treachery; but it was not easy sometimes she did break forth and express to track the kidnapers and their native her agony. in cries of distress. allies. After a time he found they had Frank Merriwell had heard her cry out proceeded up the river, and he organized as she was being carried past the village an expedition to follow. \of Goumb.i in the night. That cry had Elsie had been lured from her father's aroused h1m fro;n deep slumber, and had side by Bill Jones, whom she did not suspect of treachery. Professing to have something very wonderful to show her, Jones had enticed her away, a blanket had been cast over her head, and she. had been dragged into the forest by Jones, Buntline, and Ostergo.th. The three ruffians had lost no time in getting away. They had hired some natives to furnish a boat and accompany them, after which they had blackened their faces and bodies, had dressed like natives as far as possible, had placed the bound and gagged girl in the bottom of the boat, and had escaped up the river without attracting much of any attention. Ostergoth, who was the real leader of the party, l1ad a wild scheme tu hurry up the river, pass the professor and the boys, arou se the natives, attack the professor's party plunder it of the goods, and then go still farther inland with the girl. The Swede did not believe they could be followed very far inland, and it was his conviction that the interior of Africa was a second Eden, where any one could la.y around withodt work and live on wild fruits and game. He painted a very alluring picture for his comrades in crime. Ostergoth had a scheme to becom e king of some inland tribe, and to hold Elsie Bellwood as his wife. But Buntline and Jones were smitten by the girl's charms, and a quarrel arose amid the villainous trio as to wl1ich one should have the unfortunate captive. Elsie's sufferings were intense. Much of the trip seemed like a moving nightmare. After the gag was removed from her aching jaws, she was kept silent much ,of the time under threats of death, but haunted him afterward. As the party proceeded, the quarrel over the girl more violent. At last it was decided that they should draw lots to see who should have her. Jones was the one who drew her, much to the girl's relief, for, although he was a rascal, she did not fear him so much as the others. But Ostergoth was not satisfied. He sulked, and .was sullen; he declared he had been robbed. And then, when the opportunity came, the Swede kidnaped her and fled into the forest with her. The man must have been deranged, else he would not have attempted such a wild project. His companions followed him, swearing they would k1ll him on sight, and he hid in the jungle, again forcing Elsie to be silent under threat of death. But Ostergoth simply rushed to his doom. Elsie told how they came suddenly upon the gorilla, how the sailor had fired hastily at the beast, missing in his excitement, how she had broken away and fled as the monster charged upon the Swede. The girl had fled till exhausted, but, with the seeming intelligence of a human being, the gorilla had followed her. 'nhe brute had made her a captive, but had not offered her any harm, for the boys came upon him almost immediately, and he had fled, swinging into a tree with tase, for all of his living burden. Then Frank Merriwell had shot the monster, and Elsie was saved. Frank was greatly aroused when he heard the girl's story. He felt like organizing a hunting party and tracking Bunt-
24 FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND line and Jones; down, and he urged such a guardian. The poor man will go crazy course. when he learns of this last venture of Elsie, however, rejoiced at her final yours." safe escape from the ruffians, objected to "Not when he knows I am with John-this. son Bonner, his former schoolmate and "Let them go," she pleaded. "They friend." will not dare return to the coast, and they ''But I am afraid to return alone to the are liable to perish in the wilds of the vessel." forest.'' ''Afraid?'' Captain Bellwood had been greatly "Yes." aroused against the kidnapers, but he "What do you mean?" listened to Elsie's words, feeling that he "Why, see what b e fell me as soon as must not long leave the Saucy Snsan you left. If you had been there I do not without a master. fancy those wretche s would have sue-It was decided that the captain's party ceeded in carryin&_me off." should return to the schooner in the "Thank you, ETsie. You say that very mormng. prettily, and I appreciate it, but it is useBy this time night had fallen, and the less to urge me to return now. I am not hunters had not yet returned with the in the habit of giving up so easily when I dead gorilla, although they h ad been sent have set out on an undertaking." out for the beast .,immediately upon the She gave a deep sigh. return of Frank and Ephraim to the camp. "Well, I see it is useless to talk to you; Professor Bonner had been much ex-you're set as the hills, and I think you hausted by the day's journey, and he are just perfectly mean." sought sleep at an early hour. Then both laughed softly. The black men who had paddled the One by one, the black men were fallboats were likewise tired, and they soon ing asleep; the fires were dying down, slept. and the talk between Captain Bellwood A few of the Commi men sat about the and the mate had ceased. Frank Merri fires and told stories of Gorilla hunts. well listened, a strange feeling of dread They regarded Frank Merriwell with the seizing upon his heart of a sudden. greatest admiration. It seemed that the mighty forest was Captain Bellwood and the first mate of holding its breath, even the droning of the Saucy Susan smoked and talked, noctornal insects being hushed. while Ephraim listened, reclining on his The fire flared from no apparent cau s e, elbow. and flun g f antas tic shadows amid the "Where the firelight and shadows underbrush. mingled, beneath the wide-spreading What were those moving ftums? Had branches of a great tree, Frank and Elsie the hunters returned with the d e ad were sitting. In a great measure the girl gorilla? Were they silently bringing the had recovered from the frightful adven-king of beasts into the camp? tures through which she had passed, and, Frank leaued forward, peering sharply although she was tired, knowing she must at the shadows. His hand sought the butt part from Frank in the morning, she reof a revolver. mained awake, chatting with him. "What is it?" pm1ted Elsie in his ear, "You had better go back with me, frightene d b y hi s manner. Frank," urged the girl. H e did not ::>nswer but he snatched "Oh, no, Elsie. I have statted with out his reyolver. Professor Bonner on this search for the "Halt, there!" he cried. Missing Link, ana I cannot turn back at A fierce yell rang through the forest, a the outset." yell that seemed answered by a hundred "But think of the perils you will enechoes. Like panthers, the black shadows counter." shot forward into the firelight. They were "Some way perils add a fascination to human beings, armed with old muskets, this sort of venture.'' spears, war axes and other implements. ''But think of Professor Scotch, your Their faces and their bodies were painted
FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. 25 in many colors, and they were frightful to were astonished beyond measure when the behold. white m e n continued to -shoot without Some of these frightful beings who had stopping to reload. That was a marvel guns began firing at the recumbent fig they could not understand. ures of the Commi men. Some of them ''They are wizards! they are wizards!'' pinned the Commi men to the ground shouted the Bakalai in their own Ian with their long s pears. Some of them guage. brained the unresisting Commi with As they saw their warriors dropping war axes. before the continued firing of the white In a moment frightful slaughter had men, consternation seized upon them. begun. The chief sounded the retreat, and they "The Bakalai! the Bakalai !" shrieked disappeared into the darkness of the the frightened black men from the coa s t. forest, vanishing like shadows, as they Hearing this, Frank Merriwell knew had come like shadows. the fiercest of Equatorial Africa There were many dead and wounded on had made this night attack. the ground, but, for all of the unexpected ---assault of the Bakalai, it was seen that CHAPTER X. they had suffered most. The work of the U N FORTUNATE ELSIE. repeating rifles and revolvers had been deadly, and many of the painted blacks lay dead upon the ground. "Up, Ephraim up, everybody!" shouted Frank. "Fight-fight for your lives!" He began firing into the ranks of the assailants, taking care to make every bul let count if pos s ible. A s Ephraim Gallup scrambled blindly to his feet a hiddeously painted warrior attempted to run him through with a spear. Frank shot the warrior dead in hi s tracks Ephraim rose with his rifle in his gras p. "Gol dern my punkins !" he shouted. I jest wish I hed a Maxim gun! Git aout, you painted nigg ers !" Then he began firing. He closed both e y es and blazed away into the thick of the attacking warriors. Captain Bellwood and the mate got upon their feet and joined in the battle. The Commi men seem.ed demoralized and unable to offer any resistance, but this was not true of the white men of the party. The sailors were slightly bewild ered at fir s t, but they realized that they must fight for their lives, and they lost little time in getting about it. Captain Bellwood had thoroughly armed his party before venturing into the wilderness, which was very fortunate. The Bakalai warriors contined to howl like a hundred fiends from the infernal region, and their shrieks were sufficient to unnerve an ordinary man. But the black warriors knew little of magazine rifles and revolvers, and they The whites had not entirely escaped. One poor fellow had been run through with a spear, and had died quickly. Two others were wounded, and they feared the weapons which had inflicted the wounds were poisoned. Frank Merriwell, Ephraim Gallup, Captain Bellwood, and Professor Bonner had e s caped without a scratch. A s soon as it wa s certain the Bakalai had given over the assault and retreated, Frank turned to look for Elsie. She was gone! He had believed she was close b ehind him, and he had fought like a Troja n to defend her, now he wa s s tartled and as tonished to find she wa s not beneath the tree. There was great confusion in the cam_p. The Commi men were dispatching tEe Bakalai warriors who had been too severely w o unded to get away, and shrieks and cries of rage mingled. Black forms rushed hither and thither. In the midst of this Frank looked for Elsie. "Where is she?" he asked himself. "Where has she fled?" He felt that she must be near at hand, and yet his heart was filled with alarm. He searched hastily through the camp, but found nothing of her. The thought that she had been carried away by the Bakalai warriors was too horrible to entertain for a moment, but still it kept forcing itself upon him.
26 FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. Beneath the overspreading trees he called to her, peering into the shadows: ''Elsie Elsie Elsie '' No answer. Strong hands clutched Frank, a hoarse voice cried in his ear: "Where is she-where is my child?" The firelight showed the smoke-grimed, anxious face of Captain Bellwood. His fingers seemed to sink into the boy's arm. Frank lifted one hand, partially averting his head. The gesture spoke plainer than words, and a groan escaped the captain. "My God! what has happened to her? Have they killed her?'' "She is gone., "Gone?" "Yes. I have searched through the camp-I have called her. I cannot find her, and she does not answer.'' ''But she must be near-she must be near! She is hiding somewhere! She fled to some place of hiding when the attack begun.'' "We will hope so., The entire camp was soon searching for the missing girl; but they found no trace of her. She had vanished, and the conviction that she had been carried away by the Bakalai warriors forced upon them. Captain Bellwood's anguish terrible. He prayed and he cursed. He was like a man bereft of reason. Frank Merriwell did not say much, but his fact> was hard and cold, and there was a terrible glitter in his eyes. He drew Ephraim aside. "It is my fault,, he said. I should have watched her closer., "It ain't yeour fault,, declared the boy from Vermont. "Yeou s'posed she was clost behind ye all ther time., "But I should have made sure of it., '' Haow could ye ?'' ''I should have w arned her not to leave me-l should have told her to remain close behind me.'' "I dunno haow a feller could think uv everything in such a case as that. By gum! ther way them painted skunks (umped aout uv the dark an' began ter spear us like we was suckers was enough ter rattle anybody. We're dern lucky ter be alive.,, Frank's head was bowed; his eyes were upon the ground. For some moments he was silent, hearing Captain Bellwood raving like a maniac. Then he shook himself as if awakening from a trance. "It cannot be that she remained close behind me,'' he said. ''If she had I should have heard her scream when she was clutched by those black fiends.'' -"That's so,, nodded Ephraim. "If I had heard her-well, they would not have dragged her away while I breathed!'' "I know it, Frank. Yeou'd 'a' fit, fought, an' died fer her., "And still I feel that I am to blame-! should have protected her. I cannot help feeling that way., "Yeou ain't to blame, gol derned ef yeou be!" "But I shall ever feel that I am. I cannot look Captain Bellwood in the face. His eyes accuse me. I turn from them. For the first time in my life I feel ]ike a guilty thing., "Wal, what be yeou goin' ter do?" "Do!" cried Frank, fiercely. "I'll not rest till I have found and rescued Elsie -or avenged her!" "By gosh! that's ther talk! I'm with ye, too!" Captain Bellwood was no less determined to save his child if possible, but he was too distracted to listen to reason. He believed it possible to follow the Bakalai at once, and it was with no little difficulty that he was restrained from rushing away into the forest in a wild pursuit of them. The Ceotnmi men, being peaceable and unwarlike, had been overcome with terror and consternation by the attack of the Bakalai, whom they feared. Several of the Commi had been killed, and their friends wailing with grief over the corpses, beating their breasts, and going through fantastic ceremonies. Pofessor Bonner was greatly disturbed by what bad taken place. "It is most unfortunate-most unfor tunate,, he declared to Frank, when he found an opportunity to speak to the youth. "I fear it will ruin our expedition in search of the Missing Link., "Gol dern the Missing Link exclaimed Ephraim, who was standing near. ...
FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. 27 "It's the pore little gal we're th1nk1n' of then ]twas sa]d that they were on the naow. 11 very border of the Bakalai country, and "That's r1ght, professor, 11 nodded there the Commi men revolted and re-Frank. ''It is Elsie Bellwood that we fused to go farther. must think of now. We must rescue her, ---or avenge her. My blood freezes when I CHAPTER XI. tb.]nk of the fate that may befall her amid THE DEADLY MBOUNDOU. those black devil;;. 11 The tom-toms of Ouanga were beating, "We'll do our best to find her, said the and the whole village was ]n an uproar. professor; "but I fear ]t will be a fruitless Men and women were screaming and search. 11 rushing about like frantic All "Not for me, 11 carne hoarsely from were armed, theh eyes were blazing, and Frank's lips. "If necessary, I wlll devote they seemed to thirst for human blood. the rest of my life to the task of tracing Ouanga was a large village in the heart her and learning her fate. 11 of the Bakalai country, and ,to that place "I believe you, and I hope you may captive Elsie had been taken. succeed; but it is a terrible task you have On the journey the two sailors, Buntbefore you. However, for the time being, line and Jones, had been seen and cap I shall forget my mission in Africa, and tured. The poor wretches were nearly render you such assistance as possible. 11 starved, and they offered but a feeble re-It was found that the Commi men were sistance. so badly frightened that they felt like The sailors were treated as slaves, but turning back and hastening to their they dared not rebel against the black homes. men, for they had been disarmed, and Frank, who had read much about the were wholly in the power of their captors. Bakalai, argued against this, telling them Several days had been occupied in the that this was a band of raiders who had journey to Ouanga, and poor Elsie was attacked them, and that the band was far nearly crazed with despair when the place from ]ts own people, being in a land of was finally reached. It did not seem passtrangers and enemies. sible that her friends could follow her The Bakalai, when on their raids, there and save her from her black captors. move swiftly and make short halts. The And what filled her with the greatest party that had attacked the camp would horror was the knowledge that she was hasten from that vicinity, fearing that being taken to the king of the Bakalai, tribes of that section would be aroused who had long desired a wh1te wife, hav-against them. ing seen a white woman once upon a time. The black fellows listened attentively She was treated with the utmost con-to Frank, boy though he was. They had sideration by the fierce, warlike black men, seen him do wonderful shooting with his who, believing she would some day have guns which he did not seem to reload, influence with Adouma, their king, did and they considered him a wizard. It was not wish her to enter complaint against not strange then that, being a magician, them. he should know so much of the habits of Buntline and Jones were forced to do a the Bakalai, even though his skin was great deal of heavy work and bear large white. burdens during the marches. After much "palaver, 11 it was finally At first Elsie had pitied them, but decided that the relatives of the dead and when they looked at her there was some wounded Commi men should take them thing ]n the1r eyes that made her shrink back down the river in a boat, while the from and, after a little, she began others should stand by the exped]tion and to trust more to the black men. go forward. But ]t was not dest]ned that Adouma Having carried that point, Frank shoulq possess a whlte wife, for, within planned to induce them to pursue the an hour after Elsie had been brought into Bakalai ra]ders, and he was finally sue-the village, he fell ill, and his illness cessfu1 in his efforts. grew swiftly, so that he was completely The pursuit continued a full week, and prostrated in a short time.
28 FRANK MEl'tRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. Several doctors attended the king. They beat on drums and kettles about the bed on which he lay, trying to drive out the "evil spirits" which had taken pos session of him. They made racket enough to k i ll a man who was moderately ill. Adouma did not get better, despite the efforts of the doctors. On the fourth day after being taken ill he died. Then a sad wailing filled the village and chilled the blood of poor Elsie. It was t11,e saddest sound she had ever heard. In the king's last moments his wives had come to him, and, one by one, had flung themselves upon him, encircling his form with their arms, pouring out torrents of endearing phrases, singing songs of love, and entreating him not to leave them, while the whole village stood around wailing their sorrow. It was a touching spectacle. Elsie had witnessed it from a distance, and her heart had been filled with pity for the poor unenlightened black people. The African negro has very vague ideas of the hereafter, and when a friend or relative dies he says, ''He is gone, he is dead, he is no more; we shall never see him again.'' And yet they believe in witchcraft, sorcery, and spirits, and they fear their dead, as a rule. The Fans, alone, who are cannibals, seem devoid of this fear. On the day after the death of Adouma proceedings were begun to discover the person or persons who had bewitched him. It was not thought possible that he had died of natural causes. From far up the river a woman witch doctor was brought. When she came into Ouanga no one seemed to now. She suddenly appeared in the village. In front of the house of the dead king this witch doctor squatted, violently jangling a harsh bell. Two attendants stood near, one of them beating a board with two sticks, the other making strange and mysterious passes with his hands. The people of the village came together on a run. The attendants motioned them back, and they stood at a respectful dis tance. All were armed, and the tom-toms beat. For a time great confusion existed, and then a strange and awesome silence fell on the black throng. Elsie looked out from the door of the hut in which she was confined, and she beheld a most horrible spectacle. The sun was sinking, and the afternoon was drawing toward its close. The witch doctor had on a high headdress of black feathers. Her eyelids were painted red, and a red stripe from nose upward divided the forehead into two parts. Another red stripe passed around her head. The face was white, and on either side of her mouth were two round red spots. Around her neck was hung a necklace of glass, and a little cord which held a box against her breast. This little box was supposed to be sacred and contain spirits. About the breast of the witch doctor, and exposed about her per::.on were several strips of leopard skins, all of -which were supposed to be charmed. From each shoulder down to the hands were white stripes. One hand was painted white; the other was blood red. There was a string of small bells around her body. This horrible-looking object squatted before a box that contained charms. On this box stood a looking-glass, beside which lay a buffalo horn, containing some black powder. This horn was said to be the refuge of many spirits. The witch doctor had a little basket of snake bones, which she shook at intervals. She also shook some skins, to which small bells were attached. OvPr and over she kept repeating a strange gibberish, while the attendant on her right beat on the board, and the one on her left made the mystic passes. After a time the witch doctor seemed to fall into a trance. Then a most horrible hubbub followed, gradually settling into a wild, weird chant to the spirit of the moon, which was now seen pale and wan in the sky, the sun haYing set. The song wa s as follows: '' Ilogo, we ask thee! Tell who hath bewitched the king! "Ilogo, we ask thee, Tell who hath destroyed the king! "The forests are thine, !logo! The rivers are thine, Ilogo! The moon is thine! 0 moon 0 moon! 0 moon!
-------------------FRANK l\1ERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND 29 Thou art the house of !logo! Why did the king die? Who slew the king? ''!logo, we ask thee! For the king is dead; We would know who hath destroyed him." Fascinated and filled with fear, Elsie Bellwood watched this ceremony from the cloor of the house where she was confined. Fires were kindled, thro"ing flaring lights on the town, and the river, which seemed to lay without current, like a sluggish pool. At last the witch doctor stirred and sat up. Instantly an expectant silence fell on the assembled throng. ''I have seen Ilogo, '' declared the fakir. '' Ilogo spoke to me. He told me there were three strangers in your town --three strangers whose faces are white as the face of the moon.'' "It is true," muttered many voices. "One of them is a woman," said the witch doctor "She it was who bewitched the king." A mad howl of fury went up from the mob. "She shall drink the mboundou !"cried the witch-doctor. "She shall chink the m boundou!" howled the crowd. "But there are others," cried the witch doctor. "There are others!" shrieked the throng. "Let us know them! They shall drink the mboundou !" The "mboundou" is a poison decoc tion which the witch doctors seem able to drink in large quantities, but which invariably kills all others. By the witch doctors it is said to be a test of innocence. If the one charged with the crime drinks it and lives, it proves him innocent. "The tall white man aided in bewitching the king,'' declared the witch doctor. "He hoped to become king in Adouma 's stead .'' "He shall drink the mboundou !" shouted the mob, waving tl.eir weapons in the air. "The short white man aided in bewitching the king,'' asserted the witch doctor. "He was tired of being a slave." "He shall drink the mboundou !" "These are the three who destroyed the king. Bring them quickly. The mbuundou shall be prepared. Bring them to me.'' Away rushed the wild mob. Elsie had retreate d, horrified and cowering with terror, into the house. They did not wait to enter; tore down the house about her, and dragged her away to the witch doctor. A great calm came to the unfortunate girl. She did not weep, and she did not show despair. "It is better so," she said, in a whisper. "This fate is preferable to becoming the wife and slave of one of these black wretches.'' She saw Buntline 'and Jones dragged to the place of execution. They were nearly naked, and their eyes were filled with unspeakable fear. The poison draught was prepared,, and the executioner appeared. He was a giant, fierce of face, with teeth filed to points, and stained black. He carried a short, heavy sword. Once more a hus h liad fallen on the mad throng. They stood staring and waiting, quivering in every limb, their nostrils dilated. The witch doctor chanted fiercely seeming to rejoice in her bloody work. More than ever did she look like some Satanic thing. The "mboundou" was passed to Buntline. He shrank back. Then he was ordered to drink it, or die at once, and the e xecutioner raised his weapon. With a curse, the sailor took tl1e bowl and drank. For some moments it did not affect him visibly and something like a feeling of disappointment was coming to the spectators when he was seen to stagger. In stantly a mad howl went up. Buntline was caught and held, and, a second later, his head fell t o the ground, severed from his body by the sword of the executioner. This bloody work was repeated with Jones. The man struggled with all his strength to resist the poison draught, but his efforts were ofno avail. At last he swayed, and then that fierce howl went up again. A second later his head dropped
30 FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. Then the bowl of poison was offered to stood with the fatal cup still clutched in Elsie! her hands, seeming turned to stone. ---The creature of fire advanced straight CHAPTER XII. toward her. When the natives fell on their faces, the flaming being flung aside the THE FIRE wIzARD. whirling wheel of flame and the squirm-She lifted her eyes and her lips moved ing serpent, dashed the blazing thirig in prayer. The ghostly moonlight rested from its head, with its hands beat out on her pale, sweet face. Her golden hair, some burning spots about its person, and tangled and twisted, fell about her then clutched Elsie. shoulders. The girl did not cry out; fear froze her "Drink!" harshly cried the witch tongue. She felt herself lifted with wondoctor. derful strength, flung over a strong "Drink!" roared the multitude of black shoulder, carried away as if she were a men and women. sack of grain. She reached out her hands to take the The girl felt that nothing more appallfatal bowl. ing could happen than had already taken At this moment there was a report like place, and she resigned herself to fate. the roar of many cannon, causing the After a little she beard the one who ground to reel beneath the feet. On the was carrying her begin to breathe heavily. four sides of the town clouds of fire leaped They were beyond the limits of the town, toward the sky, making the night bright and darkness had closed around them, as day for one fearful moment, and then pierced dimly by the misty moonlight. dying out, to leave the darkness dense "I have saved you, little sweetheartand terrible, for a pall of smoke arose and I have saved you! We arrived in time, obscured the thin white moon. thank Heaven!" The fires within the town flared and She was lowered to the ground, strong sunk, the roof of a hut fell in with a arms were about her, and a familiar voice crash, and the natives were paralyzed sounded in her ears. with fear. "Frank!" Then a most frightful creature advanced She nearly swooned from joy as the toward the spot where the executions word came from her lips. She clutched were taking place. It was like a man, but him with all her strength, and she clung every part of its body seemed glowing to him, panting: with fire, red flames leaped from the top "Don't let them take me away from of its head, in its right hand it held a you again! Don't let them kil1 me, as whirling wheel of colored fire, while in they killed Buntline and Jones! Oh, it its left hand was a squirming serpent of was terrible-terrible." green and blue. It opened its mouth and "Never fear, dearest! They shall not poured forth a stream of fire and smoke. take you from me again. They may kill "Ilogo-it is Ilogo !" shrieked the apus both, but they shall not take you from palled natives, and they fe11 prostrate on me while I live!" th eir faces, covering their eyes from the She feared it was all a dream-feare d frightful spectacle. she 'would awaken to find herself still a For a long time they remained thus. captive among the terrible savages. \Vben they looked up, the terrible vision "If it i s a dream I hope I may ne ver of fire had vanished, and the white maiden awaken!" she murmured. was not to be seen. "It is no dream, Elsie," he assured The natives looked at each other, wonhet; "I am here, and you are saved." der and fear written on their faces. -"But how can it be true? They carried "Ilogo has taken her away," they said. me miles upon miles into this wild land "He has carried her to the moon! Great How could you find me?" is Ilo&o !" "We followed-your father, Professor Els1e had. been scarcely less startled \Bonner, Ephraim, and myself. The than the natives the explosion took Commi men came to the very borders of place and the fiery VlSJOn appeared. She Bakalai land and then their hearts failed
FRANK MERRIWELL IN GORILLA LAND. Sl them. Mpomo and Okandaga we induced to stand by us and follow the trail. They led us here. Bx our united efforts we have rescued you, although we came near being too late.'' He kissed her again and again, and the joy of that moment seemed to smother her, so it was with great difficulty that she could breathe. After a time she asked: "Father-where is he?" "We shall find him soon. He aided in exploding the bombs which so frightened the natives. Professor Bonner is a very shrewd man, and he knew fireworks would terrify the natives, so he brought along a supply for that very purpose, in cas e it was necessary to give them a fright. All this afternoon, since finding where they had taken you, we have been at work manufacturing bombs, every one of which was exploded on opposite sides of the town at a given signal. Then I appeared with a fire fountain on my head, a pinwheel in one hand, and a fire-serpent in the other, while some po wders burned on various parts of my person. Years ago I learned the magician's trick of blowing fire and smoke from my mouth. I had prepared for that, and it helped to paralyze the natives. The only damage I sustained came from a few burns given me by the blazing powders; but I had to beat out the flames in a hurry when I saw the trick had worked all right, and the black rascals were nearly scared out of their senses. '' ''It is wonderful-wonderful!'' declared Elsie. "I had given up to die-I was ready to drink the poison." When she had gained her strength somewhat, they moved toward the place of meeting agreed upon by the rescuers. When they arrived there, Captain Bell wood was waiting. He clasped Elsie in his arms, uttering a prayer of thankfulness. The others came up shortly, and then there was a general handshaking. M porno and Okandaga, the two black men who had stood by them and guided them to the village where the captive maiden had been taken, were praised and promised rewards. They were very proud of what they had done. Elsie told how she had fled in terror when the Bakalai warriors had attacked the camp, and had run straight into the clutches of the savages. One of them had attempted to slay her, but he had been checked by others, and they had carried her away to become the wife of their king. Although Elsie had been rescued, the -little party was far from the coast in a land where perils abounded. They knew the Bakalai might recover and pursue them, and they knew they might encounter hundreds of dangers; but their hearts were strong when they turned their faces toward the Ferna.nd Vas and the Saucy Susan. * * * They passed through many dangers during their retreat to the coast, but Commi land was reached at last, and the band was unbroken. Mpomo and Okandaga were given many presents, so that they became two of the "richest" men of their t.ribe, and were much envied by the others. Captain Bellwood gave thanks when he stood upon the deck of his vessel, with Elsie by his side. He declared it was the happiest moment of his life. "What do I not owe to you, Frank Merriwell !" he said, regarding the boy affectionately. "Twice you have saved my child from certain death. It is not in my power to sufficiently reward yon." "It' may be some time," smiled Frank, with a significant look at Elsie-a look that brought the color to her face. Professor Bonner had not given up the project of finding the "Missing Link." "I will penetrate to the land those creatures are said to be, or r ill leave my bones in Africa,'' he declared. "Wal, '' drawled Ephraim. Gallup, ''I've had abaout all I want uv this country, by gum! an' I'm reddy to git aout. Frank Merriwell may be a gol deru fool an' try it aga'n but I don't believe he will.'' "No," smiled Frank, "I hardly think I will. I have been prevailed upon to sail north with Captain Bellwood. There are other countries I want to see now." Professor Bonner went back to resume his remarkable search. He disappeared into the great forests of Equatorial Africa, from which he has never come forth. It may be that he has perished in that dark
32 FltA:l\K :\IEH.HIWELL GOlULLA LAND. land, and it may be that he w ill so m e day come forth t o astound t h e worl d with proof of the existence of the "Missing Link. [THE END. J 1\11:ILLS!> L ETTE R WRITER. This hook o f over one hundre d pages contains complete instruction in all brauches of correspoudence, tog ether with samples of letterS on every variety o f !->nbject-Penmanship, Spelling. Gram mar, P unctuation, Use of Capitals, Abhreviatious, style; advicE' to "FRANK l\' rERRIWELL'S MAGIC. or those who write for the pres., lnJSine>
per, the whole forming an enerf?tic of the flue; _it caught my_ eye, and 1 bought oue_ to see what it ls was hke, and I tbmk Frauk Mernwell I S R daudy. I postp>tid on receipt of'"" ccn Address thiuk Mr. Sta1dish writes the best story for boys I ever MANUAL LIBRARY, 25 Rose street, New York. read. You can bet I won't m iss a n y n umber. I sent tor the back numbers, aud I bave got it now right from tbe first. Yours truly, WALTER PENN ANT. AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY. 8 EF.T & .... Y., 8-ept. 27 1896 1 M9:ny people imagine that a cam.eru. is a difficult TR Publishers r'rp TOP LJJHtAUY, New York City. I to handle, and that the :vork ISdl rty_n.nd d isagreeable. DE R STas-I have been readiug the riP TOP LIBRARY e\er thiS is !L mistake .. P?otograpby Js a clean, llght, aud ac 1 d d 1 1 comphshment, w1tbm the reach of all. The camera will prove a smce It :ame out, u..nd } am: ery Pease With 11 an 1."'' e frieud, reporter, anct helper. \Vith a very inexpensive camera any read vel Y near e' CJ Y kmd ot .hook came out au
. A Stories o fmt college, travd venture. Rta, Wbltt and ' Cents. Tal -J J.clvcnturc at bra vu -. rl llov heron who ...,;ore H hluc and gray in W.:.r. t ,_ nt"', ContAn the V\ r:nrrn ro m ance. :kli f. fr ikt 5 (..,nts. Thebes t de tee ti vc will found in tLJ. ""t4t.:;,.t ion. tbt Ok1 tot ablll 10 .. T;..... ,. .ue p .. b "'h.:Q m .r.u k.ly. These publications are 32 and bound in handsome illuminated covers. _..,...........,_ ---------------.. LATEST ISSUES OF rr HE TI I :. rr<>IJ 'V :K.I..., 'y. '1.1111' 11111111111, 1111 111' Ill :ll -Ft'Hith. :'>fl'rt lldl'>-\'itlnl'\': 1 '. I ill' \\ i111ti11:.! llaJ'. !:1 Itt U lll lllll' ., ,' F!'ullk M('ITiwo ll ,, -1: 1 FruiiK :'>ln ill' t'll's "" Bill<' lly llu n u lhtl' ut "l r a uk Mn i-'" 4-i---Frar.! / .\It l'lill r Jl'-: (;: IIIII' : r .. -:l,at'iJI!! t ill "'haq"J'. By tit .111 11tor JI 1.-I':Luk )J ri W\1." .\l' H : wtr; t l', I' "' , Foatlwr Bv tilt 1111thur 01 "Fl .. 'io tTo wdl." Frunk \P.rre : 01'. Gllllh tho Enol. By!,, ,. a u lltttt 11f "Fr1'". '' 51-Fr:.n k \l i,wl'll"r< :-:hadow: 'llc Mvst1 :-tr:tr tg t J. By till' ""thur of "f.'ruul-. .\1 t t-riwd I." Da.sli: lr. \ >lit lltP 1-'il'lll. Hy till' I!UIItur of "Prank \lrri-WPII.'' .'o:lF r \tiiK .\f pr'J'iiVI'Ii's Bit'l'o!l' 11 .. tiw ( '.,nliJI\'11' o f "Frauk .\iot ri111'!1. 'l'lll uuthhr STREET & SMI'I H P U Hl.ISHERS, NEW YORK . For Sale by all Newsdealers. Every