Page:Germ Growers.djvu/143

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"Not quite that," said he, "or they would have murdered us before now."

"Well, they were going to do so twice."

"Yes, but Signor Niccolo restrained them. You see Signor Niccolo has a design upon you; he wants to make you one of his men. He doesn't care much about me, but he is willing to throw me into the bargain. Now if you and I refuse to join him our lives will be the forfeit."

"And if we don't refuse?"

"Why then," said he, "more than our lives."

"Well then," said I, "what in the name of common sense do you think they are?"

"Well," he replied, "I don't altogether agree with Dr. Leopold. I can't quite believe in the 'non-human' business; these men are flesh and blood safe enough; though I confess I am startled to see so much applied science, so much in advance of ours, in the possession of men of such malignity as these are." He paused for a moment and then proceeded. "What you said just now is most likely right. They belong most likely to some brotherhood of conspirators, some advanced guard of Nihilists, or the like, who propose to make war upon civilised society."

"What do you advise?"