The Monster Men HTML version

Chapter 12. Perfidy
On the morning that Bulan set out with his three monsters from the deserted long-house
in which they had spent the night, Professor Maxon's party was speeding up the river,
constantly buoyed with hope by the repeated reports of natives that the white girl had
been seen passing in a war prahu.
In translating this information to Professor Maxon, von Horn habitually made it appear
that the girl was in the hands of Number Thirteen, or Bulan, as they had now come to call
him owing to the natives' constant use of that name in speaking of the strange, and
formidable white giant who had invaded their land.
At the last long-house below the gorge, the head of which had witnessed Virginia
Maxon's escape from the clutches of Ninaka and Barunda, the searching party was forced
to stop owing to a sudden attack of fever which had prostrated the professor. Here they
found a woman who had a strange tale to relate of a remarkable sight she had witnessed
that very morning.
It seemed that she had been straining tapioca in a little stream which flowed out of the
jungle at the rear of the long-house when her attention was attracted by the crashing of an
animal through the bushes a few yards above her. As she looked she saw a huge MIAS
PAPPAN cross the stream, bearing in his arms the dead, or unconscious form of a white-
skinned girl with golden hair.
Her description of the MIAS PAPPAN was such as to half convince von Horn that she
might have seen Number Three carrying Virginia Maxon, although he could not reconcile
the idea with the story that the two Dyaks had told him of losing all of Bulan's monsters
in the jungle.
Of course it was possible that they might have made their way over land to this point, but
it seemed scarcely credible--and then, how could they have come into posession of
Virginia Maxon, whom every report except this last agreed was still in the hands of
Ninaka and Barunda. There was always the possibility that the natives had lied to him,
and the more he questioned the Dyak woman the more firmly convinced he became that
this was the fact.
The outcome of it was that von Horn finally decided to make an attempt to follow the
trail of the creature that the woman had seen, and with this plan in view persuaded Muda
Saffir to arrange with the chief of the long-house at which they then were to furnish him
with trackers and an escort of warriors, promising them some splendid heads should they
be successful in overhauling Bulan and his pack.
Professor Maxon was too ill to accompany the expedition, and von Horn set out alone
with his Dyak allies. For a time after they departed Sing Lee fretted and fidgeted upon the
verandah of the long-house. He wholly distrusted von Horn, and from motives of his own