The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 13

and lascar crew
divided their time between watch duty on board the Ithaca, policing the
camp, and cultivating a little patch of clearing just south of their
own campong.

There was a small bay on the island's east coast, only a quarter of a
mile from camp, in which oysters were found, and one of the Ithaca's
boats was brought around to this side of the island for fishing.
Bududreen often accompanied these expeditions, and on several occasions
the lynx-eyed Sing had seen him returning to camp long after the others
had retired for the night.

Professor Maxon scarcely ever left the central enclosure. For days and
nights at a time Virginia never saw him, his meals being passed in to
him by Sing through a small trap door that had been cut in the
partition wall of the "court of mystery" as von Horn had christened the
section of the camp devoted to the professor's experimentations.

Von Horn himself was often with his employer, as he enjoyed the latter's
complete confidence, and owing to his early medical training was well
fitted to act as a competent assistant; but he was often barred from
the workshop, and at such times was much with Virginia.

The two took long walks through the untouched jungle, exploring their
little island, and never failing to find some new and wonderful proof
of Nature's creative power among its flora and fauna.

"What a marvellous thing is creation," exclaimed Virginia as she and
von Horn paused one day to admire a tropical bird of unusually
brilliant plumage. "How insignificant is man's greatest achievement
beside the least of Nature's works."

"And yet," replied von Horn, "man shall find Nature's secret some day.
What a glorious accomplishment for him who first succeeds. Can you
imagine a more glorious consummation of a man's life work--your
father's, for example?"

The girl looked at von Horn closely.

"Dr. von Horn," she said, "pride has restrained me from asking what was
evidently intended that I should not know. For years my father has
been interested in an endeavor to solve the mystery of life--that he
would ever attempt to utilize the secret should he have been so
fortunate as to discover it had never occurred to me. I mean that he
should try to usurp the functions of the Creator I could never have
believed, but my knowledge of him, coupled with what you have said, and
the extreme lengths to which he has gone to maintain absolute secrecy
for his present experiments can only lead to one inference; and that,
that his present work, if successful,

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