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The Gold of the Gods

18. The Antidote
Early the following morning Kennedy left me alone in the laboratory and made a trip
downtown, where he visited a South American tobacco dealer and placed a rush order for
a couple of hundred cigarettes exactly similar in shape and quality to those which
Mendoza had smoked and which the others seemed also to prefer, except, however, that
the deadly drug was left out.
While he was gone, it occurred to me to take up again the hunt for Alfonso. Norton was
not in his little office, nor could I find Alfonso anywhere about the campus. In fact he
seemed to have almost dropped out of his University work for the time. Accordingly, I
turned my steps toward the Prince Edward Albert Hotel, in the hope that he might be
Inquiries of the clerk at the desk told me that he had been there, but was out just at that
moment. I did not see Whitney around, nor the Senora, so I sat down to wait, having
nothing better to do until Kennedy's return.
I was about to give it up and go, when I heard a cab drive up to the door and, looking up,
I saw Alfonso get out. He saw me about the same time and we bowed. I do not think he
even tried to avoid me.
"I haven't seen you for some time," I remarked, searching his face, which seemed to me
to be paler than it had been.
"No," he replied. "I haven't been feeling very well lately and I've been running up into the
country now and then to a quiet hotel--a sort of rest cure, I suppose you would call it.
How are you? How is Senorita Inez?"
"Very well," I replied, wondering whether he had said what he did in the hope of
establishing a complete alibi for the events of the night before.
Briefly I told him what had happened, omitting reference to the vocaphone and our real
part in it.
"That is terrible," he exclaimed. "Oh, if she would only allow me to take care of her--I
would take her back to our own country, where she would be safe, far away from these
people who seek to prey on all of us."
He paced up and down nervously, and I could see that my information had added nothing
to his peace of mind, though, at the same time, he had betrayed nothing on his part.
"I was just passing through," I said finally, looking at my watch, "and happened to see
you. I hope your mother is well?"