The Gold of the Gods HTML version

23. The Acetylene Torch
Do you suppose he really had the dagger, or was that a lie?" I asked, with an effort
shaking off the fateful feeling that had come over me as if some one were casting a spell.
"There is one way to find out," returned Craig, as though glad of the suggestion.
Though they hated him, they seemed forced to admit, for the time, his leadership. He rose
and the rest followed as he went into Whitney's library.
He switched on the lights. There in a corner back of the desk stood a safe. Somehow or
other it seemed to defy us, even though its master was gone. I looked at it a moment. It
was a most powerful affair, companion to that in the office of which Whitney was so
proud, built of layer on layer of chrome steel, with a door that was air tight and soup-
proof, bidding defiance to all yeggmen and petermen.
Lockwood fingered the combination hopelessly. There were some millions of
combinations and permutations that only a mathematician could calculate. Only one was
any good. That one was locked in the mind of the man who now seemed to baffle us as
did his strong-box.
I placed my hand on the cold, defiant surface. It would take hours to drill a safe like that,
and even then it might turn the points of the drills. Explosives might sooner wreck the
house and bring it down over the head of the man who attacked this monster.
"What can we do?" asked Senora de Moche, seeming to mock us, as though the safe itself
were an inhuman thing that blocked our path.
"Do?" repeated Kennedy decisively, "I'll show you what we can do. If Lockwood will
drive me down to the railroad station in his car, I'll show you something that looks like
action. Will you do it?"
The request was more like a command. Lockwood said nothing, but moved toward the
porte-cochere, where he had left his car parked just aside from the broad driveway.
"Walter, you will stay here," ordered Kennedy. "Let no one leave. If any one comes, don't
let him get away. We shan't be gone long."
I sat awkwardly enough, scarcely speaking a word, as Kennedy dashed down to the
railroad station. Neither Alfonso nor his mother betrayed either by word or action a hint
of what was passing in their minds. Somehow, though I did not understand it, I felt that
Lockwood might square himself. But I could not help feeling that these two might very
possibly be at the bottom of almost anything.