The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 122

knew
that their plight was no fault of his. The strange and uncanny noises
of the jungle night filled her with the most dreadful forebodings, and
when a cold, drizzling rain set in upon them her cup of misery was full.

Bulan rigged a rude shelter for her, making her lie down beneath it,
and then he removed his Dyak war-coat and threw it over her, but it was
hours before her exhausted body overpowered her nervous fright and won
a fitful and restless slumber. Several times Virginia became obsessed
with the idea that Bulan had left her alone there in the jungle, but
when she called his name he answered from close beside her shelter.

She thought that he had reared another for himself nearby, but even the
thought that he might sleep filled her with dread, yet she would not
call to him again, since she knew that he needed his rest even more
than she. And all the night Bulan stood close beside the woman he had
learned to love--stood almost naked in the chill night air and the cold
rain, lest some savage man or beast creep out of the darkness after her
while he slept.

The next day with its night, and the next, and the next were but
repetitions of the first. It had become an agony of suffering for the
man to fight off sleep longer. The girl read part of the truth in his
heavy eyes and worn face, and tried to force him to take needed rest,
but she did not guess that he had not slept for four days and nights.

At last abused Nature succumbed to the terrific strain that had been
put upon her, and the giant constitution of the man went down before
the cold and the wet, weakened and impoverished by loss of sleep and
insufficient food; for through the last two days he had been able to
find but little, and that little he had given to the girl, telling her
that he had eaten his fill while he gathered hers.

It was on the fifth morning, when Virginia awoke, that she found Bulan
rolling and tossing upon the wet ground before her shelter, delirious
with fever. At the sight of the mighty figure reduced to pitiable
inefficiency and weakness, despite the knowledge that her protector
could no longer protect, the fear of the jungle faded from the heart of
the young girl--she was no more a weak and trembling daughter of an
effete civilization. Instead she was a lioness, watching over

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