The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 116

into the hills that he
might call forth all his demons and destroy them.

For a moment Bulan stood watching the retreating savages, a smile upon
his lips, and then as the sudden equatorial dawn burst forth he turned
to face the girl.

As Virginia Maxon saw the fine features of the giant where she had
expected to find the grotesque and hideous lineaments of a monster, she
gave a quick little cry of pleasure and relief.

"Thank God!" she cried fervently. "Thank God that you are a man--I
thought that I was in the clutches of the hideous and soulless monster,
Number Thirteen."

The smile upon the young man's face died. An expression of pain, and
hopelessness, and sorrow swept across his features. The girl saw the
change, and wondered, but how could she guess the grievous wound her
words had inflicted?



15

TOO LATE


For a moment the two stood in silence; Bulan tortured by thoughts of
the bitter humiliation that he must suffer when the girl should learn
his identity; Virginia wondering at the sad lines that had come into
the young man's face, and at his silence.

It was the girl who first spoke. "Who are you," she asked, "to whom I
owe my safety?"

The man hesitated. To speak aught than the truth had never occurred to
him during his brief existence. He scarcely knew how to lie. To him a
question demanded but one manner of reply--the facts. But never before
had he had to face a question where so much depended upon his answer.
He tried to form the bitter, galling words; but a vision of that lovely
face suddenly transformed with horror and disgust throttled the name in
his throat.

"I am Bulan," he said, at last, quietly.

"Bulan," repeated the girl. "Bulan. Why that is a native name. You
are either an Englishman or an American. What is your true name?"

"My name is Bulan," he insisted doggedly.

Virginia Maxon thought that he must have some good reason of his own
for wishing to conceal his identity. At first she wondered if he could
be a fugitive from justice--the perpetrator of some horrid crime, who
dared not divulge his true name even in the remote fastness of a
Bornean wilderness; but a glance at his frank and noble countenance
drove every vestige of the traitorous thought from her mind. Her
woman's intuition was sufficient guarantee of the nobility of his
character.

"Then let me thank you, Mr. Bulan," she said, "for the service that you
have rendered a strange and

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