The Gold of the Gods HTML version

4. The Treasure Hunters
Norton had scarcely gone, and Kennedy was still studying the four pieces of paper on
which the warning had been given, when our laboratory door was softly pushed open
It was Senorita Mendoza, looking more beautiful than ever in her plain black mourning
dress, the unnatural pallor of her face heightening the wonderful lustrous eyes that looked
about as though half frightened at what she was doing.
"I hope nothing has happened," greeted Kennedy, placing an easy- chair for her. "But I'm
glad to see that you have confidence enough to trust me."
She looked about doubtfully at the vast amount of paraphernalia which Craig had
collected in his scientific warfare on crime. Though she did not understand it, it seemed
to impress her.
"No," she murmured, "nothing new has happened. You told me to call on you if I should
think of anything else."
She said it with an air as if confessing something. It was apparent that, whatever it was,
she had known it all the time and only after a struggle had brought herself to telling it.
"Then you have thought of something?" prompted Craig.
"Yes," she replied in a low tone. Then with an effort she went on: "I don't know whether
you know it or not, but my family is an old one, one of the oldest in Peru."
Kennedy nodded encouragingly.
"Back in the old days, after Pizarro," she hurried on, no longer able to choose her words,
but blurting the thing out directly, "an ancestor of mine was murdered by an Inca dagger."
She stopped again and looked about, actually frightened at her own temerity, evidently.
Kennedy and his twentieth-century surroundings seemed again to reassure her.
"I can't tell you the story," she resumed. "I don't know it. My father knew it. But it was
some kind of family secret, for he never told me. Once when I asked him he put me off;
told me to wait until I was a little older."
"And you think that may have something to do with the case?" asked Kennedy, trying to
draw out anything more that she knew.