The Buried Treasure of Cobre by Richard Harding Davis
Young Everett at last was a minister plenipotentiary. In London
as third secretary he had splashed around in the rain to find the
ambassador's carriage. In Rome as a second secretary he had
served as a clearing-house for the Embassy's visiting-cards; and
in Madrid as first secretary he had acted as interpreter for a
minister who, though valuable as a national chairman, had much
to learn of even his own language. But although surrounded by
all the wonders and delights of Europe, although he walked, talked,
wined, and dined with statesmen and court beauties, Everett was
not happy. He was never his own master. Always he answered the
button pressed by the man higher up. Always over him loomed his
chief; always, for his diligence and zeal, his chief received credit.
As His Majesty's naval attache put it sympathetically, "Better be
a top-side man on a sampan than First Luff on the Dreadnought.
Don't be another man's right hand. Be your own right hand."
Accordingly when the State Department offered to make him
minister to the Republic of Amapala, Everett gladly deserted the
flesh-pots of Europe, and, on mule-back over trails in the living
rock, through mountain torrents that had never known the shadow
of a bridge, through swamp and jungle, rode sunburnt and
saddle-sore into his inheritance.
When giving him his farewell instructions, the Secretary of State
had not attempted to deceive him.
"Of all the smaller republics of Central America," he frankly told
him, "Amapala is the least desirable, least civilized, least acceptable.
It offers an ambitious young diplomat no chance. But once a minister,
always a minister. Having lifted you out of the secretary class we can't
demote you. Your days of deciphering cablegrams are over, and if you
don't die of fever, of boredom, or brandy, call us up in a year or two
and we will see what we can do."
Everett regarded the Secretary blankly.
"Has the department no interest in Amapala?" he begged. "Is there
nothing you want there?"
"There is one thing we very much want," returned the Secretary,
"but we can't get it. We want a treaty to extradite criminals."
The young minister laughed confidently.
"Why!" he exclaimed, "that should be easy."
The Secretary smiled.
"You have our full permission to get it," he said. "This department,"
he explained, "under three administrations has instructed four
ministers to arrange such a treaty. The Bankers' Association wants
it; the Merchants' Protective Alliance wants it. Amapala is the only
place within striking distance of our country where a fugitive is safe.
It is the only place where a dishonest cashier, swindler, or felon can
find refuge. Sometimes it seems almost as though when a man planned
a crime he timed it exactly so as to catch the boat for Amapala. And,
once there, we can't lay our hands on him; and, what's more, we can't
lay our hands on the money he takes with him. I have no right to make
a promise," said the great man, "but the day that treaty is signed you
can sail for a legation in Europe. Do I make myself clear?"
"So clear, sir," cried Everett, laughing, "that if I don't
arrange that treaty I will remain in Amapala until I do."
"Four of your predecessors," remarked the Secretary, "made
exactly the same promise, but none of them got us the treaty."
"Probably none of them remained in Amapala, either," retorted
"Two did," corrected the Secretary; "as you ride into Camaguay
you see their tombstones."
Everett found the nine-day mule-ride from the coast to the capital
arduous, but full of interest. After a week at his post he appreciated
that until he left it and made the return journey nothing of equal
interest was again likely to occur. For life in Camaguay, the capital
of Amapala, proved to be one long, dreamless slumber. In the morning
each of the inhabitants engaged in a struggle to get awake; after the
second breakfast he ceased struggling, and for a siesta sank into his
hammock. After dinner, at nine o'clock, he was prepared to sleep in
earnest, and went to bed. The official life as explained to Everett by
Garland, the American consul, was equally monotonous. When
President Mendoza was not in the mountains deer-hunting, or
suppressing a revolution, each Sunday he invited the American
minister to dine at the palace. In return His Excellency expected
once a week to be invited to breakfast with the minister. He preferred
that the activities of that gentleman should go no further. Life in the
diplomatic circle was even less strenuous. Everett was the doyen
of the diplomatic corps because he was the only diplomat. All
other countries were represented by consuls who were commission
merchants and shopkeepers. They were delighted at having among
them a minister plenipotentiary. When he took pity on them and
invited them to tea, which invitations he delivered in person to
each consul at the door of each shop, the entire diplomatic corps,
as the consuls were pleased to describe themselves, put up the
shutters, put on their official full-dress uniforms and arrived in
The first week at his post Everett spent in reading the archives of
the legation. They were most discouraging. He found that for the
sixteen years prior to his arrival the only events reported to the
department by his predecessors were revolutions and the refusals
of successive presidents to consent to a treaty of extradition. On
that point all Amapalans were in accord. Though overnight the
government changed hands, though presidents gave way to dictators,
and dictators to military governors, the national policy of Amapala
continued to be "No extradition!" The ill success of those who had
preceded him appalled Everett. He had promised himself by a
brilliant assault to secure the treaty and claim the legation in
Europe. But the record of sixteen years of failure caused him
to alter his strategy. Instead of an attack he prepared for a siege.
He unpacked his books, placed the portrait of his own President
over the office desk, and proceeded to make friends with his fellow
Of the foreign colony in Camaguay some fifty were Americans, and
from the rest of the world they were as hopelessly separated as the
crew of a light-ship. From the Pacific they were cut off by the
Cordilleras, from the Caribbean by a nine-day mule-ride. To the
north and south, jungle, forests, swamp-lands, and mountains
hemmed them in.
Of the fifty Americans, one-half were constantly on the trail;
riding to the coast to visit their plantations, or into the mountains
to inspect their mines. When Everett arrived, of those absent
the two most important were Chester Ward and Colonel Goddard.
Indeed, so important were these gentlemen that Everett was made
to understand that, until they approved, his recognition as the
American minister was in a manner temporary.
Chester Ward, or "Chet," as the exiles referred to him, was one of
the richest men in Amapala, and was engaged in exploring the ruins
of the lost city of Cobre, which was a one-hour ride from the capital.
Ward possessed the exclusive right to excavate that buried city and
had held it against all comers. The offers of American universities,
of archaeological and geographical societies that also wished to dig
up the ancient city and decipher the hieroglyphs on her walls, were
met with a curt rebuff. That work, the government of Amapala would
reply, was in the trained hands of Senor Chester Ward. In his chosen
effort the government would not disturb him, nor would it permit others
coming in at the eleventh hour to rob him of his glory. This Everett
learned from the consul, Garland.
"Ward and Colonel Goddard," the consul explained, "are two of
five countrymen of ours who run the American colony, and, some
say, run the government. The others are Mellen, who has the
asphalt monopoly; Jackson, who is building the railroads, and
Major Feiberger, of the San Jose silver-mines. They hold
monopolies and pay President Mendoza ten per cent of the
earnings, and, on the side, help him run the country. Of the
five, the Amapalans love Goddard best, because he's not trying
to rob them. Instead, he wants to boost Amapala. His ideas are
perfectly impracticable, but he doesn't know that, and neither do
they. He's a kind of Colonel Mulberry Sellers and a Southerner.
Not the professional sort, that fight elevator-boys because they're
colored, and let off rebel yells in rathskellers when a Hungarian
band plays 'Dixie,' but the sort you read about and so seldom see.
He was once State Treasurer of Alabama."
"What's he doing down here?" asked the minister.
"Never the same thing two months together," the consul told him;
"railroads, mines, rubber. He says all Amapala needs is developing."
As men who can see a joke even when it is against themselves, the
two exiles smiled ruefully.
"That's all it needs," said Everett.
For a moment the consul regarded him thoughtfully.
"I might as well tell you," he said, "you'll learn it soon enough
anyway, that the men who will keep you from getting your treaty
are these five, especially old man Goddard and Ward."
Everett exclaimed indignantly:
"Why should they interfere?"
"Because," explained the consul, "they are fugitives from justice,
and they don't want to go home. Ward is wanted for forgery or
some polite crime, I don't know which. And Colonel Goddard
for appropriating the State funds of Alabama. Ward knew what
he was doing and made a lot out of it. He's still rich. No one's
weeping over him. Goddard's case is different. He was imposed
on and made a catspaw. When he was State treasurer the men
who appointed him came to him one night and said they must
have some of the State's funds to show a bank examiner in the
morning. They appealed to him on the ground of friendship, as
the men who'd given him his job. They would return the money
the next evening. Goddard believed they would. They didn't,
and when some one called for a show-down the colonel was shy
about fifty thousand dollars of the State's money. He lost his head,
took the boat out of Mobile to Porto Cortez, and hid here. He's
been here twenty years and all the Amapalans love him. He's the
adopted father of their country. They're so afraid he'll be taken
back and punished that they'll never consent to an extradition
treaty even if the other Americans, Mellen, Jackson, and Feiberger,
weren't paying them big money not to consent. President Mendoza
himself told me that as long as Colonel Goddard honored his
country by remaining in it, he was his guest, and he would never
agree to extradition. 'I could as soon,' he said, 'sign his
Everett grinned dismally.
"That's rather nice of them," he said, "but it's hard on me. But," he
demanded, "why Ward? What has he done for Amapala? Is it because
of Cobre, because of his services as an archaeologist?"
The consul glanced around the patio and dragged his chair nearer
"This is my own dope," he whispered; "it may be wrong. Anyway,
it's only for your private information."
He waited until, with a smile, Everett agreed to secrecy.
"Chet Ward," protested the consul, "is no more an archaeologist
than I am! He talks well about Cobre, and he ought to, because
every word he speaks is cribbed straight from Hauptmann's
monograph, published in 1855. And he has dug up something at
Cobre; something worth a darned sight more than stone monkeys
and carved altars. But his explorations are a bluff. They're a blind
to cover up what he's really after; what I think he's found!"
As though wishing to be urged, the young man paused, and Everett
nodded for him to continue. He was wondering whether life in
Amapala might not turn out to be more interesting than at first
it had appeared, or whether Garland was not a most charming liar.
"Ward visits the ruins every month," continued Garland. "But he
takes with him only two mule-drivers to cook and look after the
pack-train, and he doesn't let even the drivers inside the ruins.
He remains at Cobre three or four days and, to make a show, fills
his saddle-bags with broken tiles and copper ornaments. He turns
them over to the government, and it dumps them in the back yard
of the palace. You can't persuade me that he holds his concession
with that junk. He's found something else at Cobre and he shares
it with Mendoza, and I believe it's gold."
The minister smiled delightedly.
"What kind of gold?
"Maybe in the rough," said the consul. "But I prefer to think
it's treasure. The place is full of secret chambers, tombs, and
passage-ways cut through the rock, deep under the surface. I
believe Ward has stumbled on some vault where the priests used
to hide their loot. I believe he's getting it out bit by bit and
going shares with Mendoza."
"If that were so," ventured Everett, "why wouldn't Mendoza take
"Because Ward," explained the consul, "is the only one who knows
where it is. The ruins cover two square miles. You might search
for years. They tried to follow and spy on him, but Ward was too
clever for them. He turned back at once. If they don't take what
he gives, they get nothing. So they protect him from real explorers
and from extradition. The whole thing is unfair. A real archaeologist
turned up here a month ago. He had letters from the Smithsonian
Institute and several big officials at Washington, but do you suppose
they would let him so much as smell of Cobre? Not they! Not even
when I spoke for him as consul. Then he appealed to Ward, and Ward
turned him down hard. You were arriving, so he's hung on here hoping
you may have more influence. His name is Peabody; he's a professor,
but he's young and full of 'get there,' and he knows more about the ruins
of Cobre now than Ward does after having them all to himself for two
years. He's good people and I hope you'll help him."
Everett shook his head doubtfully.
"If the government has given the concession to him," he pointed
out, "no matter who Ward may be, or what its motives were for
giving it to him, I can't ask it to break its promise. As an
American citizen Ward is as much entitled to my help--
officially--as Professor Peabody, whatever his standing."
"Ward's a forger," protested Garland, "a fugitive from justice; and
Peabody is a scholar and a gentleman. I'm not keen about dead
cities myself--this one we're in now is dead enough for me--but if
civilization is demanding to know what Cobre was like eight
hundred years ago, civilization is entitled to find out, and
Peabody seems the man for the job. It's a shame to turn him
down for a gang of grafters."
"Tell him to come and talk to me," said the minister.
"He rode over to the ruins of Copan last week," explained Garland,
"where the Harvard expedition is. But he's coming back to-morrow
on purpose to see you."
The consul had started toward the door when he suddenly returned.
"And there's some one else coming to see you," he said. "Some
one," he added anxiously, "you want to treat right. That's Monica
Ward. She's Chester Ward's sister, and you mustn't get her mixed
up with anything I told you about her brother. She's coming to
ask you to help start a Red Cross Society. She was a volunteer
nurse in the hospital in the last two revolutions, and what she
saw makes her want to be sure she won't see it again. She's
taught the native ladies the 'first aid' drill, and they expect
you to be honorary president of the society. You'd better
Shaking his head, Garland smiled pityingly upon the new minister.
"You've got a swell chance to get your treaty," he declared.
"Monica is another one who will prevent it."
Everett sighed patiently.
"What," he demanded, "might her particular crime be; murder,
"If her brother had to leave this country," interrupted Garland,
"she'd leave with him. And the people don't want that. Her pull
is the same as old man Goddard's. Everybody loves him and
everybody loves her. I love her," exclaimed the consul
cheerfully; "the President loves her, the sisters in the hospital,
the chain-gang in the street, the washerwomen in the river,
the palace guard, everybody in this flea-bitten, God-forsaken
country loves Monica Ward--and when you meet her you
Garland had again reached the door to the outer hall before
Everett called him back.
"If it is not a leading question," asked the minister, "what
little indiscretion in your life brought you to Amapala?"
Garland grinned appreciatively.
"I know they sound a queer lot," he assented, "but when you get
to know 'em, you like 'em. My own trouble," he added, "was a
horse. I never could see why they made such a fuss about him. He
was lame when I took him."
Disregarding Garland's pleasantry, for some time His Excellency
sat with his hands clasped behind his head, frowning up from the
open patio into the hot, cloudless sky. On the ridge of his tiled
roof a foul buzzard blinked at him from red-rimmed eyes, across
the yellow wall a lizard ran for shelter, at his elbow a macaw
compassing the circle of its tin prison muttered dreadful oaths.
Outside, as the washerwomen beat their linen clubs upon the flat
rocks of the river, the hot, stale air was spanked with sharp reports.
In Camaguay theirs was the only industry, the only sign of
cleanliness; and recognizing that another shirt had been thrashed
into subjection and rags, Everett winced. No less visibly did his
own thoughts cause him to wince. Garland he had forgotten,
and he was sunk deep in self-pity. His thoughts were of London,
with its world politics, its splendid traditions, its great and gracious
ladies; of Paris in the spring sunshine, when he cantered through the
Bois; of Madrid, with its pomp and royalty, and the gray walls of its
galleries proclaiming Murillo and Velasquez. These things he had
forsaken because he believed he was ambitious; and behold into
what a cul-de-sac his ambition had led him! A comic-opera country
that was not comic, but dead and buried from the world; a savage
people, unread, unenlightened, unclean; and for society of his
countrymen, pitiful derelicts in hiding from the law. In his soul
he rebelled. In words he exploded bitterly.
"This is one hell of a hole, Garland," cried the diplomat. His
jaws and his eyes hardened. "I'm going back to Europe. And
the only way I can go is to get that treaty. I was sent here to get
it. Those were my orders. And I'll get it if I have to bribe them
out of my own pocket; if I have to outbid Mr. Ward, and send
him and your good Colonel Goddard and all the rest of the crew
to the jails where they belong!"
Garland heard him without emotion. From long residence near the
equator he diagnosed the outbreak as a case of tropic choler,
aggravated by nostalgia and fleas.
"I'll bet you don't," he said.
"I'll bet you your passage-money home," shouted Everett, "against
my passage-money to Europe."
"Done!" said Garland. "How much time do you want--two years?"
The diplomat exclaimed mockingly:
"I win now, "said the consul. "I'll go home and pack."
The next morning his clerk told Everett that in the outer office
Monica Ward awaited him.
Overnight Everett had developed a prejudice against Miss Ward.
What Garland had said in her favor had only driven him the wrong
way. Her universal popularity he disliked. He argued that to gain
popularity one must concede and capitulate. He felt that the sister
of an acknowledged crook, no matter how innocent she might be,
were she a sensitive woman, would wish to efface herself. And
he had found that, as a rule, women who worked in hospitals and
organized societies bored him. He did not admire the militant,
executive sister. He pictured Miss Ward as probably pretty, but
with the coquettish effrontery of the village belle and with the
pushing, "good-fellow" manners of the new school. He was prepared
either to have her slap him on the back or, from behind tilted
eye-glasses, make eyes at him. He was sure she wore eye-glasses,
and was large, plump, and Junoesque. With reluctance he entered
the outer office. He saw, all in white, a girl so young that she
was hardly more than a child, but with the tall, slim figure of a
boy. Her face was lovely as the face of a violet, and her eyes
were as shy. But shy not through lack of confidence in Everett,
nor in any human being, but in herself. They seemed to say, "I am
a very unworthy, somewhat frightened young person; but you, who
are so big and generous, will overlook that, and you are going to
be my friend. Indeed, I see you are my friend."
Everett stood quite still. He nodded gloomily.
"Garland was right," he exclaimed; "I do!"
The young lady was plainly distressed.
"Do what?" she stammered.
"Some day I will tell you," said the young man. "Yes," he added,
without shame, "I am afraid I will." He bowed her into the inner
"I am sorry," apologized Monica, "but I am come to ask a favor--
two favors; one of you and one of the American minister."
Everett drew his armchair from his desk and waved Monica into it.
"I was sent here," he said, "to do exactly what you want. The
last words the President addressed to me were, 'On arriving at
your post report to Miss Monica Ward."'
Fearfully, Monica perched herself on the edge of the armchair; as
though for protection she clasped the broad table before her.
"The favor I want," she hastily assured him, "is not for myself."
"I am sorry," said Everett, "for it is already granted."
"You are very good," protested Monica.
"No," replied Everett, "I am only powerful. I represent ninety-five
million Americans, and they are all entirely at your service. So is
the army and navy."
Monica smiled and shook her head. The awe she felt was due an
American minister was rapidly disappearing, and in Mr. Everett
himself her confidence was increasing. The other ministers
plenipotentiary she had seen at Camaguay had been old, with
beards like mountain-goats, and had worn linen dusters. They
always were very red in the face and very damp. Monica decided
Mr. Everett also was old; she was sure he must be at least
thirty-five; but in his silk pongee and pipe-clayed tennis-shoes
he was a refreshing spectacle. Just to look at him turned one
"We have a very fine line of battle-ships this morning at
Guantanamo," urged Everett; "if you want one I'll cable for it."
Monica laughed softly. It was good to hear nonsense spoken. The
Amapalans had never learned it, and her brother said just what he
meant and no more.
"Our sailors were here once," Monica volunteered. She wanted
Mr. Everett to know he was not entirely cut off from the world.
"During the revolution," she explained. "We were so glad to see
them; they made us all feel nearer home. They set up our flag in
the plaza, and the color-guard let me photograph it, with them
guarding it. And when they marched away the archbishop stood
on the cathedral steps and blessed them, and we rode out along the
trail to where it comes to the jungle. And then we waved good-by,
and they cheered us. We all cried."
For a moment, quite unconsciously, Monica gave an imitation of
how they all cried. It made the appeal of the violet eyes even more
"Don't you love our sailors?" begged Monica.
Fearful of hurting the feelings of others, she added hastily,
"And, of course, our marines, too."
Everett assured her if there was one thing that meant more to him
than all else, it was an American bluejacket, and next to him an
It took a long time to arrange the details of the Red Cross
Society. In spite of his reputation for brilliancy, it seemed to
Monica Mr. Everett had a mind that plodded. For his benefit it
was necessary several times to repeat the most simple proposition.
She was sure his inability to fasten his attention on her League
of Mercy was because his brain was occupied with problems of
state. It made her feel selfish and guilty. When his visitor
decided that to explain further was but to waste his valuable
time and had made her third effort to go, Everett went with her.
He suggested that she take him to the hospital and introduce him
to the sisters. He wanted to talk to them about the Red Cross
League. It was a charming walk. Every one lifted his hat to
Monica; the beggars, the cab-drivers, the barefooted policemen,
and the social lights of Camaguay on the sidewalks in front of
the cafes rose and bowed.
"It is like walking with royalty!" exclaimed Everett.
While at the hospital he talked to the Mother Superior--his eyes
followed Monica. As she moved from cot to cot he noted how
the younger sisters fluttered happily around her, like bridesmaids
around a bride, and how as she passed, the eyes of those in the
cots followed her jealously, and after she had spoken with them
smiled in content.
"She is good," the Mother Superior was saying, "and her brother,
too, is very good."
Everett had forgotten the brother. With a start he lifted his eyes
and found the Mother Superior regarding him.
"He is very good," she repeated. "For us, he built this wing of
the hospital. It was his money. We should be very sorry if any
harm came to Mr. Ward. Without his help we would starve." She
smiled, and with a gesture signified the sick. "I mean they would
starve; they would die of disease and fever." The woman fixed
upon him grave, inscrutable eyes. "Will Your Excellency
remember?" she said. It was less of a question than a command.
"Where the church can forgive--" she paused.
Like a real diplomat Everett sought refuge in mere words.
"The church is all-powerful, Mother," he said. "Her power to
forgive is her strongest weapon. I have no such power. It lies
beyond my authority. I am just a messenger-boy carrying the
wishes of the government of one country to the government of
The face of the Mother Superior remained grave, but undisturbed.
"Then, as regards our Mr. Ward," she said, "the wishes of your
Again she paused; again it was less of a question than a command.
With interest Everett gazed at the whitewashed ceiling.
"I have not yet," he said, "communicated them to any one."
That night, after dinner in the patio, he reported to Garland the
words of the Mother Superior.
"That was my dream, 0 Prophet," concluded Everett; "you who can
read this land of lotus-eaters, interpret! What does it mean?"
"It only means what I've been telling you," said the consul. "It means
that if you're going after that treaty, you've only got to fight the
Catholic Church. That's all it means!"
Later in the evening Garland said: "I saw you this morning crossing
the plaza with Monica. When I told you everybody in this town
loved her, was I right?"
"Absolutely!" assented Everett. "But why didn't you tell me she
was a flapper?"
"I don't know what a flapper is," promptly retorted Garland. "And
if I did, I wouldn't call Monica one."
"A flapper is a very charming person," protested Everett. "I used
the term in its most complimentary sense. It means a girl between
fourteen and eighteen. It's English slang, and in England at the
present the flapper is very popular. She is driving her sophisticated
elder sister, who has been out two or three seasons, and the predatory
married woman to the wall. To men of my years the flapper is really
at the dangerous age."
In his bamboo chair Garland tossed violently and snorted.
"I sized you up," he cried, "as a man of the finest perceptions. I was
wrong. You don't appreciate Monica! Dangerous! You might as
well say God's sunshine is dangerous, or a beautiful flower is
Everett shook his head at the other man reproachfully:
"Did you ever hear of a sunstroke?" he demanded. "Don't you know
if you smell certain beautiful flowers you die? Can't you grasp any
other kind of danger than being run down by a trolley-car? Is the
danger of losing one's peace of mind nothing, of being unfaithful
to duty, nothing! Is--"
Garland raised his arms.
"Don't shoot!" he begged. "I apologize. You do appreciate Monica.
You have your consul's permission to walk with her again."
The next day young Professor Peabody called and presented his
letters. He was a forceful young man to whom the delays of
diplomacy did not appeal, and one apparently accustomed to riding
off whatever came in his way. He seemed to consider any one who
opposed him, or who even disagreed with his conclusions, as
offering a personal affront. With indignation he launched into
"These people," he declared, "are dogs in the manger, and Ward is
the worst of the lot. He knows no more of archaeology than a
congressman. The man's a faker! He showed me a spear-head of
obsidian and called it flint; and he said the Aztecs borrowed from
the Mayas, and that the Toltecs were a myth. And he got the Aztec
solar calendar mixed with the Ahau. He's as ignorant as that."
"I can't believe it!" exclaimed Everett.
"You may laugh," protested the professor, "but the ruins of Cobre
hold secrets the students of two continents are trying to solve.
They hide the history of a lost race, and I submit it's not proper
one man should keep that knowledge from the world, certainly
not for a few gold armlets!"
Everett raised his eyes.
"What makes you say that?"' he demanded.
"I've been kicking my heels in this town for a month," Peabody
told him, "and I've talked to the people here, and to the Harvard
expedition at Copan, and everybody tells me this fellow has found
treasure." The archaeologist exclaimed with indignation: "What's
gold," he snorted, "compared to the discovery of a lost race?"
"I applaud your point of view," Everett assured him. "I am to see the
President tomorrow, and I will lay the matter before him. I'll ask him
to give you a look in."
To urge his treaty of extradition was the reason for the audience with
the President, and with all the courtesy that a bad case demanded
Mendoza protested against it. He pointed out that governments
entered into treaties only when the ensuing benefits were mutual.
For Amapala in a treaty of extradition he saw no benefit. Amapala
was not so far "advanced" as to produce defaulting bank presidents,
get-rich-quick promoters, counterfeiters, and thieving cashiers. Her
fugitives were revolutionists who had fought and lost, and every one
was glad to have them go, and no one wanted them back.
"Or," suggested the President, "suppose I am turned out by a
revolution, and I seek asylum in your country? My enemies desire
my life. They would ask for my extradition--"
"If the offense were political," Everett corrected, "my government
would surrender no one."
"But my enemies would charge me with murder," explained the
President. "Remember Castro. And by the terms of the treaty your
government would be forced to surrender me. And I am shot against
the wall." The President shrugged his shoulders. "That treaty would
not be nice for me!"
"Consider the matter as a patriot," said the diplomat. "Is it good that
the criminals of my country should make their home in yours? When
you are so fortunate as to have no dishonest men of your own, why
import ours? We don't seek the individual. We want to punish him
only as a warning to others. And we want the money he takes with
him. Often it is the savings of the very poor."
The President frowned. It was apparent that both the subject and
Everett bored him.
"I name no names," exclaimed Mendoza, "but to those who come
here we owe the little railroads we possess. They develop our mines
and our coffee plantations. In time they will make this country very
modern, very rich. And some you call criminals we have learned to
love. Their past does not concern us. We shut our ears. We do not
spy. They have come to us as to a sanctuary, and so long as they claim
the right of sanctuary, I will not violate it."
As Everett emerged from the cool, dark halls of the palace into
the glare of the plaza he was scowling; and he acknowledged the
salute of the palace guard as though those gentlemen had offered
him an insult.
Garland was waiting in front of a cafe and greeted him with a
"Congratulations," he shouted.
"I have still twenty-two days," said Everett
The aristocracy of Camaguay invited the new minister to formal
dinners of eighteen courses, and to picnics less formal. These
latter Everett greatly enjoyed, because while Monica Ward was too
young to attend the state dinners, she was exactly the proper age
for the all-day excursions to the waterfalls, the coffee plantations,
and the asphalt lakes. The native belles of Camaguay took no
pleasure in riding farther afield than the military parade-ground.
Climbing a trail so steep that you viewed the sky between the ears
of your pony, or where with both hands you forced a way through
hanging vines and creepers, did not appeal. But to Monica, with
the seat and balance of a cowboy, riding astride, with her leg straight
and the ball of her foot just feeling the stirrup, these expeditions were
the happiest moments in her exile. So were they to Everett; and that
on the trail one could ride only in single file was a most poignant
regret. In the column the place of honor was next to whoever rode
at the head, but Everett relinquished this position in favor of Monica.
By this manoeuvre she always was in his sight, and he could call
upon her to act as his guide and to explain what lay on either hand.
His delight and wonder in her grew daily. He found that her mind
leaped instantly and with gratitude to whatever was most fair. Just
out of reach of her pony's hoofs he pressed his own pony forward,
and she pointed out to him what in the tropic abundance about them
she found most beautiful. Sometimes it was the tumbling waters of
a cataract; sometimes, high in the topmost branches of a ceiba-tree,
a gorgeous orchid; sometimes a shaft of sunshine as rigid as a
search-light, piercing the shadow of the jungle. At first she would
turn in the saddle and call to him, but as each day they grew to know
each other better she need only point with her whip-hand and he would
answer, "Yes," and each knew the other understood.
As a body, the exiles resented Everett. They knew his purpose in
regard to the treaty, and for them he always must be the enemy.
Even though as a man they might like him, they could not forget
that his presence threatened their peace and safety. Chester Ward
treated him with impeccable politeness; but, although his house
was the show-place of Camaguay, he never invited the American
minister to cross the threshold. On account of Monica, Everett
regretted this and tried to keep the relations of her brother and
himself outwardly pleasant. But Ward made it difficult. To no
one was his manner effusive, and for Monica only he seemed to
hold any real feeling. The two were alone in the world; he was
her only relative, and to the orphan he had been father and mother.
When she was a child he had bought her toys and dolls; now, had
the sisters permitted, he would have dressed her in imported frocks,
and with jewels killed her loveliness. He seemed to understand
how to spend his money as little as did the gossips of Camaguay
understand from whence it came.
That Monica knew why her brother lived in Camaguay Everett was
uncertain. She did not complain of living there, but she was not
at rest, and constantly she was asking Everett of foreign lands.
As Everett was homesick for them, he was most eloquent.
"I should like to see them for myself," said Monica, "but until my
brother's work here is finished we must wait. And I am young,
and after a few years Europe will be just as old. When my brother
leaves Amapala, he promises to take me wherever I ask to go: to
London, to Paris, to Rome. So I read and read of them; books of
history, books about painting, books about the cathedrals. But
the more I read the more I want to go at once, and that is disloyal."
"Disloyal?" asked Everett.
"To my brother," explained Monica. "He does so much for me.
I should think only of his work. That is all that really counts.
For the world is waiting to learn what he has discovered. It is
like having a brother go in search of the North Pole. You are
proud of what he is doing, but you want him back to keep him
to yourself. Is that selfish?"
Everett was a trained diplomat, but with his opinion of Chester Ward
he could not think of the answer. Instead, he was thinking of Monica
in Europe; of taking her through the churches and galleries which she
had seen only in black and white. He imagined himself at her side
facing the altar of some great cathedral, or some painting in the Louvre,
and watching her face lighten and the tears come to her eyes, as they
did now, when things that were beautiful hurt her. Or he imagined her
rid of her half-mourning and accompanying him through a cyclonic
diplomatic career that carried them to Japan, China, Persia; to Berlin,
Paris, and London. In these imaginings Monica appeared in pongee
and a sun-hat riding an elephant, in pearls and satin receiving
royalty, in tweed knickerbockers and a woollen jersey coasting
around the hairpin curve at Saint Moritz.
Of course he recognized that except as his wife Monica could not
accompany him to all these strange lands and high diplomatic posts.
And of course that was ridiculous. He had made up his mind for
the success of what he called his career, that he was too young to
marry; but he was sure, should he propose to marry Monica, every
one would say he was too old. And there was another consideration.
What of the brother? Would his government send him to a foreign
post when his wife was the sister of a man they had just sent to the
He could hear them say in London, "We know your first secretary,
but who is Mrs. Everett?" And the American visitor would explain:
"She is the sister of 'Inky Dink,' the forger. He is bookkeeping
in Sing Sing."
Certainly it would be a handicap. He tried to persuade himself
that Monica so entirely filled his thoughts because in Camaguay
there was no one else; it was a case of propinquity; her loneliness
and the fact that she lay under a shadow for which she was not to
blame appealed to his chivalry. So, he told himself, in thinking of
Monica except as a charming companion, he was an ass. And then,
arguing that in calling himself an ass he had shown his saneness
and impartiality, he felt justified in seeing her daily.
One morning Garland came to the legation to tell Everett that
Peabody was in danger of bringing about international
complications by having himself thrust into the cartel.
"If he qualifies for this local jail," said Garland, "you will have
a lot of trouble setting him free. You'd better warn him it's
easier to keep out than to get out."
"What has he been doing?" asked the minister.
"Poaching on Ward's ruins," said the consul. "He certainly is a
hustler. He pretends to go to Copan, but really goes to Cobre.
Ward had him followed and threatened to have him arrested.
Peabody claims any tourist has a right to visit the ruins so long
as he does no excavating. Ward accused him of exploring the place
by night and taking photographs by flash-light of the hieroglyphs.
He's put an armed guard at the ruins, and he told Peabody they are
to shoot on sight. So Peabody went to Mendoza and said if anybody
took a shot at him he'd bring warships down here and blow Amapala
off the map."
"A militant archaeologist," said Everett, "is something new. Peabody
is too enthusiastic. He and his hieroglyphs are becoming a bore."
He sent for Peabody and told him unless he curbed his spirit his
minister could not promise to keep him out of a very damp and
"I am too enthusiastic," Peabody admitted, "but to me this fellow
Ward is like a red flag to the bull. His private graft is holding
up the whole scientific world. He won't let us learn the truth,
and he's too ignorant to learn it himself. Why, he told me Cobre
dated from 1578, when Palacio wrote of it to Philip the Second,
not knowing that in that very letter Palacio states that he found
Cobre in ruins. Is it right a man as ignorant--"
Everett interrupted by levelling his finger.
"You," he commanded, "keep out of those ruins! My dear professor,"
he continued reproachfully, "you are a student, a man of peace.
Don't try to wage war on these Amapalans. They're lawless, they're
unscrupulous. So is Ward. Besides, you are in the wrong, and if
they turn ugly, your minister cannot help you." He shook his head
and smiled doubtfully. "I can't understand," he exclaimed, "why
you're so keen. It's only a heap of broken pottery. Sometimes I
wonder if your interest in Cobre is that only of the archaeologist."
"What other interest--" demanded Peabody.
"Doesn't Ward's buried treasure appeal at all?" asked the
minister. "I mean, of course, to your imagination. It does to
The young professor laughed tolerantly.
"Buried treasure!" he exclaimed. "If Ward has found treasure, and
I think he has, he's welcome to it. What we want is what you call
the broken pottery. It means nothing to you, but to men like
myself, who live eight hundred years behind the times, it is much
more precious than gold."
A few moments later Professor Peabody took his leave, and it was
not until he had turned the corner of the Calle Morazan that he
halted and, like a man emerging from water, drew a deep breath.
"Gee!" muttered the distinguished archeologist, "that was a close
One or two women had loved Everett, and after five weeks, in
which almost daily he had seen Monica, he knew she cared for him.
This discovery made him entirely happy and filled him with dismay.
It was a complication he had not foreseen. It left him at the parting
of two ways, one of which he must choose. For his career he was
willing to renounce marriage, but now that Monica loved him, even
though he had consciously not tried to make her love him, had he
the right to renounce it for her also? He knew that the difference
between Monica and his career lay in the fact that he loved Monica
and was in love with his career. Which should he surrender? Of this
he thought long and deeply, until one night, without thinking at all,
Colonel Goddard had given a dance, and, as all invited were
Americans, the etiquette was less formal than at the gatherings
of the Amapalans. For one thing, the minister and Monica were
able to sit on the veranda overlooking the garden without his
having to fight a duel in the morning.
It was not the moonlight, or the music, or the palms that made
Everett speak. It was simply the knowledge that it was written,
that it had to be. And he heard himself, without prelude or
introduction, talking easily and assuredly of the life they would
lead as man and wife. From this dream Monica woke him. The
violet eyes were smiling at him through tears.
"When you came," said the girl, "and I loved you, I thought that
was the greatest happiness. Now that I know you love me I ask
nothing more. And I can bear it."
Everett felt as though an icy finger had moved swiftly down his
spine. He pretended not to understand.
"Bear what?" he demanded roughly.
"That I cannot marry you," said the girl. "Even had you not asked
me, in loving you I would have been happy. Now that I know you
thought of me as your wife, I am proud. I am grateful. And the
Everett laughed scornfully.
"There is no obstacle."
Monica shook her head. Unafraid, she looked into his eyes, her
own filled with her love for him.
"Don't make it harder," she said. "My brother is hiding from the
law. What he did I don't know. When it happened I was at the
convent, and he did not send for me until he had reached Amapala.
I never asked why we came, but were I to marry you, with your name
and your position, every one else would ask. And the scandal would
follow you; wherever you went it would follow; it would put an end
to your career."
His career, now that Monica urged it as her rival, seemed to
Everett particularly trivial.
"I don't know what your brother did either," he said. "His sins
are on his own head. They're not on yours, nor on mine. I don't
judge him; neither do I intend to let him spoil my happiness. Now
that I have found you I will never let you go."
Sadly Monica shook her head and smiled.
"When you leave here," she said, "for some new post, you won't
forget me, but you'll be grateful that I let you go alone; that I was
not a drag on you. When you go back to your great people and
your proud and beautiful princesses, all this will seem a strange
dream, and you will be glad you are awake--and free."
"The idea of marrying you, Monica," said Everett, "is not new. It did
not occur to me only since we moved out here into the moonlight.
Since I first saw you I've thought of you, and only of you. I've
thought of you with me in every corner of the globe, as my wife,
my sweetheart, my partner, riding through jungles as we ride here,
sitting opposite me at our own table, putting the proud and beautiful
princesses at their ease. And in all places, at all moments, you make
all other women tawdry and absurd. And I don't think you are the
most wonderful person I ever met because I love you, but I love you
because you are the most wonderful person I ever met."
"I am young," said Monica, "but since I began to love you I am
very old. And I see clearly that it cannot be."
"Dear heart," cried Everett, "that is quite morbid. What the
devil do I care what your brother has done! I am not marrying
For a long time, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees and
her face buried in her hands, the girl sat silent. It was as though she
were praying. Everett knew it was not of him, but of her brother,
she was thinking, and his heart ached for her. For him to cut the
brother out of his life was not difficult; what it meant to her he
When the girl raised her eyes they were eloquent with distress.
"He has been so good to me," she said; "always so gentle. He has
been mother and father to me. He is the first person I can remember.
When I was a child he put me to bed, he dressed me, and comforted
me. When we became rich there was nothing he did not wish to give
me. I cannot leave him. He needs me more than ever I needed him. I
am all he has. And there is this besides. Were I to marry, of all the
men in the world it would be harder for him if I married you. For if
you succeed in what you came here to do, the law will punish him,
and he will know it was through you he was punished. And even
between you and me there always would be that knowledge, that
"That is not fair," cried Everett. "I am not an individual fighting
less fortunate individuals. I am an insignificant wheel in a great
machine. You must not blame me because I-"
With an exclamation the girl reproached him.
"Because you do your duty!" she protested. "Is that fair to me?
If for my sake or my brother you failed in your duty, if you were
less vigilant, less eager, even though we suffer, I could not
Everett sighed happily.
"As long as you love me," he said, "neither your brother nor any
one else can keep us apart."
"My brother," said the girl, as though she were pronouncing a
sentence, "always will keep us apart, and I will always love
It was a week before he again saw her, and then the feeling he
had read in her eyes was gone--or rigorously concealed. Now her
manner was that of a friend, of a young girl addressing a man
older than herself, one to whom she looked up with respect and
liking, but with no sign of any feeling deeper or more intimate.
It upset Everett completely. When he pleaded with her, she asked:
"Do you think it is easy for me? But--" she protested, "I know I
am doing right. I am doing it to make you happy."
"You are succeeding," Everett assured her, "in making us both
For Everett, in the second month of his stay in Amapala, events
began to move quickly. Following the example of two of his
predecessors, the Secretary of State of the United States was
about to make a grand tour of Central America. He came on a
mission of peace and brotherly love, to foster confidence and
good-will, and it was secretly hoped that, in the wake of his
escort of battle-ships, trade would follow fast. There would
be salutes and visits of ceremony, speeches, banquets, reviews.
But in these rejoicings Amapala would have no part.
For, so Everett was informed by cable, unless, previous to the
visit of the Secretary, Amapala fell into line with her sister
republics and signed a treaty of extradition, from the itinerary
of the great man Amapala would find herself pointedly excluded.
It would be a humiliation. In the eyes of her sister republics it
would place her outside the pale. Everett saw that in his hands
his friend the Secretary had placed a powerful weapon; and lost
no time in using it. He caught the President alone, sitting late at
his dinner, surrounded by bottles, and read to him the Secretary's
ultimatum. General Mendoza did not at once surrender. Before he
threw over the men who fed him the golden eggs that made him rich,
and for whom he had sworn never to violate the right of sanctuary,
he first, for fully half an hour, raged and swore. During that time,
while Everett sat anxiously expectant, the President paced and
repaced the length of the dining-hall. When to relight his cigar,
or to gulp brandy from a tumbler, he halted at the table, his great
bulk loomed large in the flickering candle-flames, and when he
continued his march, he would disappear into the shadows, and
only his scabbard clanking on the stone floor told of his presence.
At last he halted and shrugged his shoulders so that the tassels of
his epaulets tossed like wheat.
"You drive a hard bargain, sir," he said. "And I have no choice.
To-morrow bring the treaty and I will sign."
Everett at once produced it and a fountain pen.
"I should like to cable to-night," he urged, "that you have signed.
They are holding back the public announcement of the Secretary's
route until hearing from Your Excellency. This is only tentative,"
he pointed out; "the Senate must ratify. But our Senate will ratify
it, and when you sign now, it is a thing accomplished."
Over the place at which Everett pointed, the pen scratched harshly;
and then, throwing it from him, the President sat in silence. With
eyes inflamed by anger and brandy he regarded the treaty venomously.
As though loath to let it go, his hands played with it, as a cat plays
with the mouse between her paws. Watching him breathlessly,
Everett feared the end was not yet. He felt a depressing premonition
that if ever the treaty were to reach Washington he best had snatch it
and run. Even as he waited, the end came. An orderly, appearing
suddenly in the light of the candles, announced the arrival, in the
room adjoining, of "the Colonel Goddard and Senor Mellen." They
desired an immediate audience. Their business with the President
was most urgent. Whether from Washington their agents had warned
them, whether in Camaguay they had deciphered the cablegram from
the State Department, Everett could only guess, but he was certain the
cause of their visit was the treaty. That Mendoza also believed this
was most evident.
Into the darkness, from which the two exiles might emerge, he
peered guiltily. With an oath he tore the treaty in half. Crushing
the pieces of paper into a ball, he threw it at Everett's feet. His
voice rose to a shriek. It was apparent he intended his words to
carry to the men outside. Like an actor on a stage he waved his
"That is my answer!" he shouted. "Tell your Secretary the choice
he offers is an insult! It is blackmail. We will not sign his treaty.
We do not desire his visit to our country." Thrilled by his own
bravado, his voice rose higher. "Nor," he shouted, "do we desire
the presence of his representative. Your usefulness is at an end.
You will receive your passports in the morning."
As he might discharge a cook, he waved Everett away. His hand,
trembling with excitement, closed around the neck of the brandy-
bottle. Everett stooped and secured the treaty. On his return to
Washington, torn and rumpled as it was, it would be his
justification. It was his "Exhibit A."
As he approached the legation he saw drawn up in front of it three
ponies ready saddled. For an instant he wondered if Mendoza
intended further to insult him, if he planned that night to send
him under guard to the coast. He determined hotly sooner than
submit to such an indignity he would fortify the legation, and
defend himself. But no such heroics were required of him. As he
reached the door, Garland, with an exclamation of relief, hailed
him, and Monica, stepping from the shadow, laid an appealing
hand upon his sleeve.
"My brother!" she exclaimed. "The guard at Cobre has just sent
word that they found Peabody prowling in the ruins and fired on
him. He fired back, and he is still there hiding. My brother and
others have gone to take him. I don't know what may happen if he
resists. Chester is armed, and he is furious; he is beside himself;
he would not listen to me. But he must listen to you. Will you
go," the girl begged, "and speak to him; speak to him, I mean,"
she added, "as the American minister?"
Everett already had his foot in the stirrup. "I'm the American minister
only until to-morrow," he said. "I've got my walking-papers. But I'll
do all I can to stop this to-night. Garland," he asked, "will you take
Miss Ward home, and then follow me?"
"If I do not go with you," said Monica, "I will go alone."
Her tone was final. With a clatter of hoofs that woke alarmed
echoes in the sleeping streets the three horses galloped abreast
toward Cobre. In an hour they left the main trail and at a walk
picked their way to where the blocks of stone, broken columns,
and crumbling temples of the half-buried city checked the jungle.
The moon made it possible to move in safety, and at different
distances the lights of torches told them the man-hunt still was
"Thank God," breathed Monica, "we are in time."
Everett gave the ponies in care of one of the guards. He turned
"Catch up with those lights ahead of us," he said, "and we will
join this party to the right. If you find Ward, tell him I forbid
him taking the law into his own hands; tell him I will protect
his interests. If you meet Peabody, make him give up his gun,
and see that the others don't harm him!"
Everett and the girl did not overtake the lights they had seen
flashing below them. Before they were within hailing distance,
that searching party had disappeared, and still farther away
other torches beckoned.
Stumbling and falling, now in pursuit of one will-o'-the-wisp,
now of another, they scrambled forward. But always the lights
eluded them. From their exertions and the moist heat they were
breathless, and their bodies dripped with water. Panting, they
halted at the entrance of what once had been a tomb. From its
black interior came a damp mist; above them, alarmed by their
intrusion, the vampire bats whirled blindly in circles. Monica,
who by day possessed some slight knowledge of the ruins, had,
in the moonlight, lost all sense of direction.
"We're lost," said Monica, in a low tone. Unconsciously both were
speaking in whispers. "I thought we were following what used to
be the main thoroughfare of the city; but I have never seen this place
before. From what I have read I think we must be among the tombs
of the kings."
She was silenced by Everett placing one hand quickly on her arm,
and with the other pointing. In the uncertain moonlight she saw
moving cautiously away from them, and unconscious of their
presence, a white, ghostlike figure.
"Peabody," whispered Everett.
"Call him," commanded Monica.
"The others might hear," objected Everett. "We must overtake him.
If we're with him when they meet, they wouldn't dare--"
With a gasp of astonishment, his words ceased.
Like a ghost, the ghostlike figure had vanished.
"He walked through that rock!" cried Monica.
Everett caught her by the wrist. "Come!" he commanded.
Over the face of the rock, into which Peabody had dived as into
water, hung a curtain of vines. Everett tore it apart. Concealed
by the vines was the narrow mouth to a tunnel; and from it they
heard, rapidly lessening in the distance, the patter of footsteps.
"Will you wait," demanded Everett, "or come with me?"
With a shudder of distaste, Monica answered by seizing his hand.
With his free arm Everett swept aside the vines, and, Monica
following, they entered the tunnel. It was a passageway cleanly
cut through the solid rock and sufficiently wide to permit of their
moving freely. At the farther end, at a distance of a hundred
yards, it opened into a great vault, also hollowed from the rock
and, as they saw to their surprise, brilliantly lighted.
For an instant, in black silhouette, the figure of Peabody
blocked the entrance to this vault, and then, turning to the
right, again vanished. Monica felt an untimely desire to laugh.
Now that they were on the track of Peabody she no longer feared
the outcome of the adventure. In the presence of the American
minister and of herself there would be no violence; and as they
trailed the archaeologist through the tunnel she was reminded of
Alice and her pursuit of the white rabbit. This thought, and her
sense of relief that the danger was over, caused her to laugh aloud.
They had gained the farther end of the tunnel and the entrance to
the vault, when at once her amusement turned to wonder. For the
vault showed every evidence of use and of recent occupation. In
brackets, and burning brightly, were lamps of modern make; on
the stone floor stood a canvas cot, saddle-bags, camp-chairs,
and in the centre of the vault a collapsible table. On this were
bottles filled with chemicals, trays, and presses such as are used
in developing photographs, and apparently hung there to dry,
swinging from strings, the proofs of many negatives.
Loyal to her brother, Monica exclaimed indignantly. At the proofs
she pointed an accusing finger.
"Look!" she whispered. "This is Peabody's darkroom, where he
develops the flash-lights he takes of the hieroglyphs! Chester has
a right to be furious!"
Impulsively she would have pushed past Everett; but with an
exclamation he sprang in front of her.
"No!" he commanded, "come away!"
He had fallen into a sudden panic. His tone spoke of some
catastrophe, imminent and overwhelming. Monica followed
the direction of his eyes. They were staring in fear at the proofs.
The girl leaned forward; and now saw them clearly.
Each was a United States Treasury note for five hundred dollars.
Around the turn of the tunnel, approaching the vault apparently
from another passage, they heard hurrying footsteps; and then,
close to them from the vault itself, the voice of Professor Peabody.
It was harsh, sharp, peremptory.
"Hands up!" it commanded. "Drop that gun!"
As though halted by a precipice, the footsteps fell into instant
silence. There was a pause, and then the ring of steel upon the
stone floor. There was another pause, and Monica heard the
voice of her brother. Broken, as though with running, it still
retained its level accent, its note of insolence.
"So," it said, "I have caught you?"
Monica struggled toward the lighted vault, but around her Everett
threw his arm.
"Come away!" he begged.
Monica fought against the terror of something unknown. She could
not understand. They had come only to prevent a meeting between
her brother and Peabody; and now that they had met, Everett was
endeavoring to escape.
It was incomprehensible.
And the money in the vault, the yellow bills hanging from a
cobweb of strings; why should they terrify her; what did they
threaten? Dully, and from a distance, Monica heard the voice
"No," he answered; "I have caught you! And I've had a hell of a
time doing it!"
Monica tried to call out, to assure her brother of her presence.
But, as though in a nightmare, she could make no sound. Fingers
of fear gripped at her throat. To struggle was no longer possible.
The voice of Peabody continued:
"Six months ago we traced these bills to New Orleans. So we guessed
the plant was in Central America. We knew only one man who could
make them. When I found you were in Amapala and they said you had
struck 'buried treasure'--the rest was easy."
Monica heard the voice of her brother answer with a laugh.
"Easy?" he mocked. "There's no extradition. You can't touch me.
You're lucky if you get out of here alive. I've only to raise my voice--"
"And, I'll kill you!"
This was danger Monica could understand.
Freed from the nightmare of doubt, with a cry she ran forward.
She saw Peabody, his back against a wall, a levelled automatic in
his hand; her brother at the entrance to a tunnel like the one from
which she had just appeared. His arms were raised above his head.
At his feet lay a revolver. For an instant, with disbelief, he stared
at Monica, and then, as though assured that it was she, his eyes
dilated. In them were fear and horror. So genuine was the agony
in the face of the counterfeiter that Everett, who had followed,
turned his own away. But the eyes of the brother and sister
remained fixed upon each other, hers, appealingly; his, with
despair. He tried to speak, but the words did not come. When
he did break the silence his tone was singularly wistful, most
"Did you hear?" he asked.
Monica slowly bowed her head. With the same note of gentleness
her brother persisted:
"Did you understand?"
Between them stretched the cobweb of strings hung with yellow
certificates; each calling for five hundred dollars, payable in gold.
Stirred by the night air from the open tunnels, they fluttered and
Against the sight of them, Monica closed her eyes. Heavily, as
though with a great physical effort, again she bowed her head.
The eyes of her brother searched about him wildly. They rested on
the mouth of the tunnel.
With his lowered arm he pointed.
"Who is that?" he cried.
Instinctively the others turned.
It was for an instant. The instant sufficed.
Monica saw her brother throw himself upon the floor, felt herself
flung aside as Everett and the detective leaped upon him; saw her
brother press his hands against his heart, the two men dragging
at his arms.
The cavelike room was shaken with a report, an acrid smoke
assailed her nostrils. The men ceased struggling. Her brother lay
Monica sprang toward the body, but a black wave rose and
submerged her. As she fainted, to save herself she threw out her
arms, and as she fell she dragged down with her the buried
treasure of Cobre.
Stretched upon the stone floor beside her brother, she lay motionless.
Beneath her, and wrapped about and covering her, as the leaves
covered the babes in the wood, was a vast cobweb of yellow bills,
each for five hundred dollars, payable in gold.
A month later the harbor of Porto Cortez in Honduras was shaken
with the roar of cannon. In comparison, the roaring of all the cannon
of all the revolutions that that distressful country ever had known,
were like fire-crackers under a barrel.
Faithful to his itinerary, the Secretary of State of the United States
was paying his formal visit to Honduras, and the President of that
republic, waiting upon the Fruit Company's wharf to greet him, was
receiving the salute of the American battle-ships. Back of him, on
the wharf, his own barefooted artillerymen in their turn were saluting,
excitedly and spasmodically, the distinguished visitor. As an honor
he had at last learned to accept without putting a finger in each ear,
the Secretary of State smiled with gracious calm. Less calm was the
President of Honduras. He knew something the Secretary did not
know. He knew that at any moment a gun of his saluting battery
might turn turtle, or blow into the harbor himself, his cabinet, and
the larger part of his standing army.
Made fast to the wharf on the side opposite to the one at which
the Secretary had landed was one of the Fruit Company's steamers.
She was on her way north, and Porto Cortez was a port of call.
That her passengers might not intrude upon the ceremonies, her
side of the wharf was roped off and guarded by the standing army.
But from her decks and from behind the ropes the passengers, with
a battery of cameras, were perpetuating the historic scene.
Among them, close to the ropes, viewing the ceremony with the
cynical eye of one who in Europe had seen kings and emperors
meet upon the Field of the Cloth of Gold, was Everett. He made
no effort to bring himself to the attention of his former chief. But
when the introductions were over, the Secretary of State turned
his eyes to his fellow countrymen crowding the rails of the
American steamer. They greeted him with cheers. The great
man raised his hat, and his eyes fell upon Everett. The Secretary
advanced quickly, his hand extended, brushing to one side the
"What are you doing here?" he demanded.
"On my way home, sir," said Everett. "I couldn't leave sooner; there
were--personal reasons. But I cabled the department my resignation
the day Mendoza gave me my walking-papers. You may remember,"
Everett added dryly, "the department accepted by cable."
The great man showed embarrassment.
"It was most unfortunate," he sympathized. "We wanted that treaty,
and while, no doubt, you made every effort--"
He became aware of the fact that Everett's attention was not
exclusively his own. Following the direction of the young man's
eyes the Secretary saw on the deck just above them, leaning upon
the rail, a girl in deep mourning.
She was very beautiful. Her face was as lovely as a violet and as shy.
To the Secretary a beautiful woman was always a beautiful woman.
But he had read the papers. Who had not? He was sure there must
be some mistake. This could not be the sister of a criminal; the
woman for whom Everett had smashed his career.
The Secretary masked his astonishment, but not his admiration.
"Mrs. Everett?" he asked. His very tone conveyed congratulations.
"Yes," said the ex-diplomat. "Some day I shall be glad to present
The Secretary did not wait for an introduction. Raising his eyes
to the ship's rail, he made a deep and courtly bow. With a gesture
worthy of d'Artagnan, his high hat swept the wharf. The members
of his staff, the officers from the war-ships, the President of
Honduras and the members of his staff endeavored to imitate his
act of homage, and in confusion Mrs. Everett blushed becomingly.
"When I return to Washington," said the Secretary hastily, "come
and see me. You are too valuable to lose. Your career--"
Again Everett was looking at his wife. Her distress at having been
so suddenly drawn into the lime-light amused him, and he was
smiling. Then, as though aware of the Secretary's meaning, he
"My dear sir!" he protested. His tone suggested he was about to
add "mind your own business," or "go to the devil."
Instead he said: "I'm not worrying about my career. My career has