The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 33

father's confidence I
prefer that you remain silent."

"You do not understand," broke in the man, "you cannot guess the
horrors that I have seen upon this island, or the worse horrors that
are to come. Could you dream of what lies in store for you, you would
seek death rather than face the future. I have been loyal to your
father, Virginia, but were you not blind, or indifferent, you would
long since have seen that your welfare means more to me than my loyalty
to him--more to me than my life or my honor.

"You asked where the creature came from that attacked you today. I
shall tell you. It is one of a dozen similarly hideous things that
your father has created in his mad desire to solve the problem of life.
He has solved it; but, God, at what a price in misshapen, soulless,
hideous monsters!"

The girl looked up at him, horror stricken.

"Do you mean to say that my father in a mad attempt to usurp the
functions of God created that awful thing?" she asked in a low, faint
voice, "and that there are others like it upon the island?"

"In the campong next to yours there are a dozen others," replied von
Horn, "nor would it be easy to say which is the most hideous and
repulsive. They are grotesque caricatures of humanity--without soul
and almost without brain."

"God!" murmured the girl, burying her face in her hands, "he has gone
mad; he has gone mad."

"I truly believe that he is mad," said von Horn, "nor could you doubt
it for a moment were I to tell you the worst."

"The worst!" exclaimed the girl. "What could be worse than that which
you already have divulged? Oh, how could you have permitted it?"

"There is much worse than I have told you, Virginia. So much worse
that I can scarce force my lips to frame the words, but you must be
told. I would be more criminally liable than your father were I to
keep it from you, for my brain, at least, is not crazed. Virginia, you
have in your mind a picture of the hideous thing that carried you off
into the jungle?"

"Yes," and as the girl replied a convulsive shudder racked her frame.

Von Horn grasped her arm gently as he went on, as though to support and
protect her during the shock that he was about to administer.

"Virginia," he said in a very low voice, "it is your father's intention
to wed you

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