Kidnapped as infant, raised in a menagerie by a mad doctor was Jan escaped into the jungle...
This boy, the innocent victim of the doctor's insane hatred for a woman, had never seen a human being other than the physician. Nor had he glimpsed any more of the outside world than might be observed through the small, high windows of the menagerie, or above the tall stockade just outside it, where he was exercised.
Dr. Bracken had loved the boy's mother, Georgia Adams, a titian-haired Southern beauty, with a fiery passion of which few men are capable. A sudden declaration before his departure on a trip to Africa had won what he thought was a promise from her--a half-hearted assent she had evidently regretted the moment he had gone; but it was the one thing on which he had counted during all his weary months of tramping in the jungles. Her face had smiled at him in the light of many a camp fire; her voice had soothed his troubled sleep as he lay in his net-covered hammock while fierce beasts of prey roamed just outside. For him the red-gold sunsets had reflected the glory of her titian hair. Bits of the blue vault of heaven visible at times through rents in the forest canopy, had hinted of the more wondrous blue of her eyes.
But he had returned to America only to have the cup of happiness dashed rudely from his lips--for she had married Harry Trevor.
True, she had told him, when they had a few moments alone, of writing a letter breaking the engagement only a week after his departure. He had accepted the statement politely, yet deep in his heart he doubted it. She had broken faith, and in his estimation a woman capable of that was capable of anything. The letter, if indeed there had been a letter, had never reached him.
So love had turned to hate--an abnormally intense hate that filled his waking hours and made his nights restless and hideous-a passionate, unreasoning hate that engendered a desire which soon became a fixed purpose and the sole end toward which he planned and strove--revenge.
But Dr. Bracken's warped mind had cunningly pretended friendship, so cunningly that he served the Trevors as their family physician in Florida. And the birth of a son and heir gave him his long-awaited opportunity for a revenge which would be no trifling retribution from which Georgia Trevor would soon recover.
The kidnapping of the day-old boy had been ridiculously easy. At first the doctor's diabolical plan had been to mutilate and cripple the child, turn his face into a hideous monstrosity, and return him, to be a living curse to his parents. But an event had occurred in the menagerie which changed his plans and gave him the germ of an even more diabolical scheme.
For the male chimpanzee, Tichuk, at that time caged with his mate Chicma, had slain their little one in a fit of fury and was attacking her, when the doctor returned with the stolen baby. Dr. Bracken had quieted both chimpanzees with hypodermics and removed the unconscious Tichuk to another cage. Then, a terrible smile upon his face; he had skinned the baby chimpanzee, treated its hide with an odorless preservative--and sewed the cotton-padded skin about the human baby. As Chicma came out of her drugged sleep he placed the child in her arms.
The chimpanzee, dazed and foggy of perception, had sniffed the hairy hide of her own child. She recognized the scent and feel; yet the tensely waiting doctor, club and whip in hand, saw her hesitate in puzzlement, as if on the verge of flinging away this somehow suspiciously changed child of hers. But nature and mother-instinct conquered, and she fed the hungry infant.