The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 124

lonely rivers.

For two days Bulan lay raving in the delirium of fever, while the
delicate girl, unused to hardship and exposure, watched over him and
nursed him with the loving tenderness and care of a young mother with
her first born.

For the most part the young giant's ravings were inarticulate, but now
and then Virginia heard her name linked with words of reverence and
worship. The man fought again the recent battles he had passed
through, and again suffered the long night watches beside the sleeping
girl who filled his heart. Then it was that she learned the truth of
his self-sacrificing devotion. The thing that puzzled her most was the
repetition of a number and a name which ran through all his
delirium--"Nine ninety nine Priscilla."

She could make neither head nor tail of it, nor was there another word
to give a clue to its meaning, so at last from constant repetition it
became a commonplace and she gave it no further thought.

The girl had given up hope that Bulan ever could recover, so weak and
emaciated had he become, and when the fever finally left him quite
suddenly she was positive that it was the beginning of the end. It was
on the morning of the seventh day since they had commenced their
wandering in search of the long-house that, as she sat watching him,
she saw his eyes resting upon her face with a look of recognition.

Gently she took his hand, and at the act he smiled at her very weakly.

"You are better, Bulan," she said. "You have been very sick, but now
you shall soon be well again."

She did not believe her own words, yet the mere saying of them gave her
renewed hope.

"Yes," replied the man. "I shall soon be well again. How long have I
been like this?"

"For two days," she replied.

"And you have watched over me alone in the jungle for two days?" he
asked incredulously.

"Had it been for life," she said in a low voice, "it would scarce have
repaid the debt I owe you."

For a long time he lay looking up into her eyes--longingly, wistfully.

"I wish that it had been for life," he said.

At first she did not quite realize what he meant, but presently the
tired and hopeless expression of his eyes brought to her a sudden
knowledge of his meaning.

"Oh, Bulan," she cried, "you must not say that. Why should you wish to
die?"

"Because I love you, Virginia," he replied. "And because, when you
know what

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