The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 119

her before she learned the
truth.

As he pondered the future there came to him the thought that should
they never find Professor Maxon or von Horn the girl need never know
but that he was a human being. He need not lose her then, but always
be near her. The idea grew and with it the mighty temptation to lead
Virginia Maxon far into the jungle, and keep her forever from the sight
of men. And why not? Had he not saved her where others had failed?
Was she not, by all that was just and fair, his?

Did he owe any loyalty to either her father or von Horn? Already he
had saved Professor Maxon's life, so the obligation, if there was any,
lay all against the older man; and three times he had saved Virginia.
He would be very kind and good to her. She should be much happier and
a thousand times safer than with those others who were so poorly
equipped to protect her.

As he stood silently gazing out across the jungle beneath them toward
the new sun the girl watched him in a spell of admiration of his strong
and noble face, and his perfect physique. What would have been her
emotions had she guessed what thoughts were his! It was she who broke
the silence.

"Can you find the way to the long-house where my father is?" she asked.

Bulan, startled at the question, looked up from his reverie. The thing
must be faced, then, sooner than he thought. How was he to tell her of
his intention? It occurred to him to sound her first--possibly she
would make no objection to the plan.

"You are anxious to return?" he asked.

"Why, yes, of course, I am," she replied. "My father will be half mad
with apprehension, until he knows that I am safe. What a strange
question, indeed." Still, however, she did not doubt the motives of
her companion.

"Suppose we should be unable to find our way to the long-house?" he
continued.

"Oh, don't say such a thing," cried the girl. "It would be terrible.
I should die of misery and fright and loneliness in this awful jungle.
Surely you can find your way to the river--it was but a short march
through the jungle from where we landed to the spot at which you took
me away from that fearful Malay."

The girl's words cast a cloud over Bulan's hopes. The future looked
less roseate with the knowledge that she would be

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