The Monster Men

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 34

to one of his creatures."

The girl broke from him with an angry cry.

"It is not true!" she exclaimed. "It is not true. Oh, Dr. von Horn
how could you tell me such a cruel and terrible untruth."

"As God is my judge, Virginia," and the man reverently uncovered as he
spoke, "it is the truth. Your father told me it in so many words when
I asked his permission to pay court to you myself--you are to marry
Number Thirteen when his education is complete."

"I shall die first!" she cried.

"Why not accept me instead?" suggested the man.

For a moment Virginia looked straight into his eyes as though to read
his inmost soul.

"Let me have time to consider it, Doctor," she replied. "I do not know
that I care for you in that way at all."

"Think of Number Thirteen," he suggested. "It should not be difficult
to decide."

"I could not marry you simply to escape a worse fate," replied the
girl. "I am not that cowardly--but let me think it over. There can be
no immediate danger, I am sure."

"One can never tell," replied von Horn, "what strange, new vagaries may
enter a crazed mind to dictate this moment's action or the next."

"Where could we wed?" asked Virginia.

"The Ithaca would bear us to Singapore, and when we returned you would
be under my legal protection and safe."

"I shall think about it from every angle," she answered sadly, "and now
good night, my dear friend," and with a wan smile she entered her
quarters.

For the next month Professor Maxon was busy educating Number Thirteen.
He found the young man intelligent far beyond his most sanguine hopes,
so that the progress made was little short of uncanny.

Von Horn during this time continued to urge upon Virginia the necessity
for a prompt and favorable decision in the matter of his proposal; but
when it came time to face the issue squarely the girl found it
impossible to accede to his request--she thought that she loved him,
but somehow she dared not say the word that would make her his for life.

Bududreen, the Malay mate was equally harassed by conflicting desires,
though of a different nature, for he had his eye upon the main chance
that was represented to him by the great chest, and also upon the
lesser reward which awaited him upon delivery of the girl to Rajah Muda
Saffir. The fact that he could find no safe means for accomplishing
both these ends simultaneously was all that had protected

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