The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 19

It is unfortunate that they
are as they are, but without them I could have never reached the
perfection that I am sure we are to find here," and he tapped lovingly
upon the heavy glass cover of the vat before which he stood. "And this
is but the beginning. There can be no more mistakes now, though I
doubt if we can ever improve upon that which is so rapidly developing
here." Again he passed his long, slender hand caressingly over the
coffin-like vat at the head of which was a placard bearing the words,
NUMBER THIRTEEN.

"But the others, Professor!" insisted von Horn. "We must decide.
Already they have become a problem of no small dimensions. Yesterday
Number Five desired some plantains that I had given to Number Seven. I
tried to reason with him, but, as you know, he is mentally defective,
and for answer he rushed at Number Seven to tear the coveted morsel
from him. The result was a battle royal that might have put to shame
two Bengal tigers. Twelve is tractable and intelligent. With his
assistance and my bull whip I succeeded in separating them before
either was killed. Your greatest error was in striving at first for
such physical perfection. You have overdone it, with the result that
the court of mystery is peopled by a dozen brutes of awful muscularity,
and scarcely enough brain among the dozen to equip three properly."

"They are as they are," replied the professor. "I shall do for them
what I can--when I am gone they must look to themselves. I can see no
way out of it."

"What you have given you may take away," said von Horn, in a low tone.

Professor Maxon shuddered. Those three horrid days in the workshop at
Ithaca flooded his memory with all the gruesome details he had tried
for so many months to forget. The haunting ghosts of the mental
anguish that had left him an altered man--so altered that there were
times when he had feared for his sanity!

"No, no!" he almost shouted. "It would be murder. They are--"

"They are THINGS," interrupted von Horn. "They are not human--they are
not even beast. They are terrible, soulless creatures. You have no
right to permit them to live longer than to substantiate your theory.
None but us knows of their existence--no other need know of their
passing. It must be done. They are a constant and growing menace to
us all,

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