The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 117

helpless woman."

He smiled.

"Just Bulan," he said. "There is no need for Miss or Mister in the
savage jungle, Virginia."

The girl flushed at the sudden and unexpected use of her given name,
and was surprised that she was not offended.

"How do you know my name?" she asked.

Bulan saw that he would get into deep water if he attempted to explain
too much, and, as is ever the way, discovered that one deception had
led him into another; so he determined to forestall future embarrassing
queries by concocting a story immediately to explain his presence and
his knowledge.

"I lived upon the island near your father's camp," he said. "I knew
you all--by sight."

"How long have you lived there?" asked the girl. "We thought the
island uninhabited."

"All my life," replied Bulan truthfully.

"It is strange," she mused. "I cannot understand it. But the
monsters--how is it that they followed you and obeyed your commands?"

Bulan touched the bull whip that hung at his side.

"Von Horn taught them to obey this," he said.

"He used that upon them?" cried the girl in horror.

"It was the only way," said Bulan. "They were almost brainless--they
could understand nothing else, for they could not reason."

Virginia shuddered.

"Where are they now--the balance of them?" she asked.

"They are dead, poor things," he replied, sadly. "Poor, hideous,
unloved, unloving monsters--they gave up their lives for the daughter
of the man who made them the awful, repulsive creatures that they were."

"What do you mean?" cried the girl.

"I mean that all have been killed searching for you, and battling with
your enemies. They were soulless creatures, but they loved the mean
lives they gave up so bravely for you whose father was the author of
their misery--you owe a great deal to them, Virginia."

"Poor things," murmured the girl, "but yet they are better off, for
without brains or souls there could be no happiness in life for them.
My father did them a hideous wrong, but it was an unintentional wrong.
His mind was crazed with dwelling upon the wonderful discovery he had
made, and if he wronged them he contemplated a still more terrible
wrong to be inflicted upon me, his daughter."

"I do not understand," said Bulan.

"It was his intention to give me in marriage to one of his soulless
monsters--to the one he called Number Thirteen. Oh, it is terrible
even to think of the hideousness of it; but now they are all dead he
cannot do it even though his poor mind, which seems well again, should

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