**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Buried Treasure
by [?]

Senora de Moche–for I had no doubt now that this was the Peruvian Indian woman of whom Senorita Inez had spoken–seemed to lose interest in us and in the concert the moment Don Luis went out. Her son also seemed restive. He was a good-looking fellow, with high forehead, nose slightly aquiline, chin and mouth firm, in fact the whole face refined and intellectual, though tinged with melancholy.

We strolled down the wide veranda, and as we passed the woman and her son I was conscious of that strange feeling (which psychologists tell us, however, has no foundation) of being stared at from behind.

Kennedy turned suddenly and again we passed, just in time to catch in a low tone from the young man, “Yes, I have seen him at the University. Everyone knows that he–“

The rest was lost.

It was quite evident now that they thought we were interested in them. There was, then, no use in our watching them further. Indeed, when we turned again, we found that the Senora and Alfonso had risen, gone through the long, open window inside, and were making their way slowly to the elevator.

The door of the elevator had scarcely closed when Kennedy turned on his heel and quickly made his way back to the alcove where we had been sitting. Lying about on the ash tray on a little wicker table were several of Mendoza’s half-burned cigarettes. We sat down a moment and, after a hasty glance around, Craig gathered them up and folded them in a piece of paper.

Leisurely Kennedy strolled over to the desk, and, as guests in a summer hotel will do, looked over the register. The Mendozas, father and daughter, were registered in rooms 810 and 812, a suite on the eighth floor. Lockwood was across the hall in 811.

Turning the pages, Kennedy paused, then nudged me. Senora de Moche and Senor Alfonso de Moche were on the same floor in 839 and 841, just around an “L” in the hall. The two parties must meet frequently not only downstairs in the inn, but in the corridors and elevators.

Kennedy said nothing, but glanced at his watch. We had nearly three-quarters of an hour to wait yet until our pretty client returned.

“There’s no use in wasting time or in trying to conceal our identity,” he said finally, drawing a card from his pocket and handing it to the clerk. “Senora de Moche, please.”

Much to my surprise, the Senora telephoned down that she would see us in her own sitting-room, and I followed Kennedy into the elevator.

Alfonso was out and the Senora was alone.

“I hope that you will pardon me,” began Craig with an elaborate explanation, “but I have become interested in an opportunity to invest in a Peruvian venture and they tell me at the office that you are a Peruvian. I thought that perhaps you could advise me.”

She looked at us keenly. I fancied that she detected the subterfuge, yet she did not try to avoid us. On closer view, her eyes were really remarkable–those of a woman endowed with an abundance of health and energy–eyes that were full of what the old phrenologists used to call amativeness, denoting a nature capable of intense passion, whether of love or hate. Yet I confess that I could not find anything especially abnormal about them, as I had about Mendoza’s.

“I suppose you mean that scheme of Senor Mendoza and his friend, Mr. Lockwood,” she returned, speaking rapidly. “Let me tell you about it. You may know that the Chimu tribes in the north were the wealthiest at the time of the coming of the Spaniards. Well, they had a custom of burying with their dead all their movable property. Sometimes a common grave or huaca was given to many. That would become a cache of treasure.

“Back in the seventeenth century,” she continued, leaning forward eagerly as she talked, “a Spaniard opened a Chimu huaca and found gold that is said to have been worth a million dollars. An Indian told him of it. After he had shown him the treasure, the Indian told the Spaniard that he had given him only the little fish, the peje chica, but that some day he would give him the big fish, the peje grande.