Tuesday, December 22, 2015

1871 Tarzan Of The Apes

Date:  January 31, 1871
Event:  John Clayton and Alice Rutherford were married offstage.
Source:  This is not an actual date presented in Tarzan Of The Apes nor is it reveled by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  January 31 is based on the wedding date of Burroughs and Emma, his first wife. The year 1871 is based on the fact that the Greystoke's set sail in May 1872.

Date:  end of April 1871
Event:  John Clayton receives his first mission from the Colonial Office.
Source:  This is not an actual date presented by Edgar Rice Burroughs in Tarzan Of The Apes. It is, however, derived from the statement that Clayton and Alice were married scarce three months before receiving his first mission.  It is important to note that when Clayton receives this mission Burroughs in no way implies the Lady Alice is with child, or that the newly weds leave England immediately after receiving Clayton's mission.

In fact Burroughs hints to the opposite.  If Clayton was married to Alice three months when they left Dover for Africa they would have been married four months when they reached Freetown. From Freetown twelve days pass before the Fuwalda sights land and the Greystoke's are put ashore.  On the thirteenth day Clayton starts work on a one room cabin that takes approximately two months to build and furnish.  Now we have a passage of six months and thirteen days. 

Burroughs tells us Clayton likes working hard because it helps him not to concentrate on their situation. By this statement we can conclude that when the first section of the cabin was completed the Englishman immediately begin work on the second addition.  If the first section took only one month, minus door and furnishings, to build; it is simple logic that the second would take no longer. In fact less time, for Clayton did not have to build a second chimney and fireplace.  

Since the Mangani bull attacked while Clayton was cutting logs, it is quite apparent the Englishman was still involved in early building operations.  Most likely, no more than two weeks at the most. Adding these passages of time together no more than eight months pass since the Greystoke's were married, but yet Lady Alice has a child that very night.  Under these circumstances Tarzan would have been born premature or Lady Alice was pregnant before marrying Clayton.  The latter is very very unlikely for Burroughs plainly says Clayton is a very morel and honorable man. 

It is also unlikely that the Colonial Office would take a man out of the Army, raise him to a higher position, and then send him and his wife of three months to Africa for five to eight years without letting them spend some time with relatives before they go.  That is not to mention the fact that Clayton would have to have at least a minimum amount of training to handle his new position.

Date:  very late November or very early December 1871
Event:  Lady Alice becomes pregnant offstage.
Source:  This is my own provided date derived from counting backwards nine months from the day Tarzan was born.  One must keep in mind that although Burroughs does not mention the Lady Alice is with child when Clayton receives his first Colonial Office assignment, the narrator does imply that she is before they set sail in May.  "In his leisure Clayton read, often aloud to his wife, from the store of books he had brought for their new home.  Among those were many for little children - picture books, primers, readers - for they had known that their little child would be old enough for such before they might hope to return to England."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.