The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 121

she did not know whether to be angry, or frightened, or glad
of the truth that she read there; or mortified that it had awakened in
her a realization that possibly an analysis of her own interest in this
young stranger might reveal more than she had imagined.

The constraint that suddenly fell upon them was relieved when Bulan
motioned her to follow him back down the trail into the gorge in search
of food. There they sat together upon a fallen tree beside a tiny
rivulet, eating the fruit that the man gathered. Often their eyes met
as they talked, but always the girl's fell before the open worship of
the man's.

Many were the men who had looked in admiration at Virginia Maxon in the
past, but never, she felt, with eyes so clean and brave and honest.
There was no guile or evil in them, and because of it she wondered all
the more that she could not face them.

"What a wonderful soul those eyes portray," she thought, "and how
perfectly they assure the safety of my life and honor while their owner
is near me."

And the man thought: "Would that I owned a soul that I might aspire to
live always near her--always to protect her."

When they had eaten the two set out once more in search of the river,
and the confidence that is born of ignorance was theirs, so that beyond
each succeeding tangled barrier of vines and creepers they looked to
see the swirling stream that would lead them to the girl's father.

On and on they trudged, the man often carrying the girl across the
rougher obstacles and through the little streams that crossed their
path, until at last came noon, and yet no sign of the river they
sought. The combined jungle craft of the two had been insufficient
either to trace the way that they had come, or point the general
direction of the river.

As the afternoon drew to a close Virginia Maxon commenced to lose
heart--she was confident that they were lost. Bulan made no pretence
of knowing the way, the most that he would say being that eventually
they must come to the river. As a matter-of-fact had it not been for
the girl's evident concern he would have been glad to know that they
were irretrievably lost; but for her sake his efforts to find the river
were conscientious.

When at last night closed down upon them the girl was, at heart, terror
stricken, but she hid her true state from the man, because she

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