The Monster Men HTML version

Chapter 17. 999 Priscilla
As the cutter touched the bank the entire party from the long-house, whites and natives,
were gathered on the shore to meet it. At first the officers held off as though fearing a
hostile demonstration, but when they saw the whites among the throng, a command was
given to pull in, and a moment later one of the officers stepped ashore.
"I am Lieutenant May," he said, "of the U.S.S. New Mexico, flagship of the Pacific Fleet.
Have I the honor to address Professor Maxon?"
The scientist nodded. "I am delighted," he said.
"We have been to your island, Professor," continued the officer, "and judging from the
evidences of hasty departure, and the corpses of several natives there, I feared that some
harm had befallen you. We therefore cruised along the Bornean coast making inquiries of
the natives until at last we found one who had heard a rumor of a party of whites being
far in the interior searching for a white girl who had been stolen from them by pirates.
"The farther up this river we have come the greater our assurance that we were on the
right trail, for scarcely a native we interrogated but had seen or heard of some of your
party. Mixed with the truth they told us were strange tales of terrible monsters led by a
gigantic white man."
"The imaginings of childish minds," said the professor. "However, why, my dear
lieutenant, did you honor me by visiting my island?"
The officer hesitated a moment before answering, his eyes running about over the
assembly as though in search of someone.
"Well, Professor Maxon, to be quite frank," he said at length, "we learned at Singapore
the personnel of your party, which included a former naval officer whom we have been
seeking for many years. We came to your island to arrest this man-- I refer to Doctor Carl
von Horn."
When the lieutenant learned of the recent disappearance of the man he sought, he
expressed his determination to push on at once in pursuit; and as Professor Maxon feared
again to remain unprotected in the heart of the Bornean wilderness his entire party was
taken aboard the cutter.
A few miles up the river they came upon one of the Dyaks who had accompanied von
Horn, a few hours earlier. The warrior sat smoking beside a beached prahu. When
interrogated he explained that von Horn and the balance of his crew had gone inland,
leaving him to guard the boat. He said that he thought he could guide them to the spot
where the white man might be found.