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An American Nabob.
A Remarkable Story of Love, Gold a.r\d j Adventure. 3 i By ST. GEORGE RATHBORNE CHAPTER XII (Continued.) Jack's hand trembled as he touched the half-bowed and supplicating sen tinel that in all these decades, while the world was moving on, making wonderful history, had remained here in the dense jungle, guarding well the secret of those strange people of Aztec times. Jack estimated the value of the statue at some thousands of pounds in London, even at the present depreciat ed price of silver. But they were after higher game, and could well afford to scornfully cast this base bullion aside. It was not long before the descend ing pick struck metal, and presently Jack, shovel in hand, had cleared a slab that had a dull lustre not unlike bronze. Barrajo danced what, in another quarter of the world, might have been termed an Irish jig or a Scottish horn pipe. ‘‘Por Dios! It is just as the docu ment relates. The old Indian did not deceive me. Come, lift the trap with me. Senor Jack. See, stone steps lead down to the ruins of the old Aztec temple. Oh! I tell you, my president, we are the luckiest*men on the face of the earth, this night, since we have but to stretch out our hands to clutch fortune.'' The invitation to descend, given by Barrajo, as the two fortune hunters surveyed the ancient stone steps lead ing to some mysterious subterranean depository of the Montezumas was a most welcome sound to Overton. They had come upon the expedition fully prepared for all emergencies, and the gloomy depths of the yawning pit below had no terrors for such brave hearts, so. taking pick and spade, they began to descend. At the bottom of the stairway they came to a long slab, forming a lintel over the top of a door. Upon digging the doorway was uncovered and w r as found to be blocked by a huge metate or native millstone. Carved across its entire surface were inscriptions in the hieroglyphics of a civilized race. As soon as the doorway had been cut through the two adventurous treasure hunters entered the chamber of the temple-tomb. Mural paintings, repre senting female figures draped in shrouds and in attitudes of prayer, were on the walls. Niches in the crypt contained a number of skulls, and other bones comprising parts of skeletons were scattered about. These were all painted a bright red. Red, it may be remarked, was the mourning color of the Aztecs. There were numbers of idols in the cave, doubtless looked upon as ex ceedingly chaste in these olden times, but their supreme ugliness gave Jack a rude shock when his artistic eye first fell upon them. However their faults, while many from this point of view, could be read ily condoned w’hen the fact was taken into consideration that each and every one of the little monsters seemed to have been fashioned from crude metal, and even Overton's inexperienced eye was able to tell that it was gold un alloyed. This was glorious—still, it was only a beginning. With trembling fingers they picked up many of the less weighty images and vases. By degrees the two men managed to recover their wits and calm down, when they set about a rough estimate of the value of their find. Overton was fain to agree with the general w'hen the latter exultantly ex claimed that in all probability never before in the history of the world, from the days of King Solomon down to the present time, had such a vast treasure been heaped up in one pile. It was like a dream—Overton in his wildest moods, w'hen fancy ran away with reason, had never imagined so marvelous a thing. Finally Barrajo said: “Remember our sacred compact, Senor Jack —an equal division if we both live; should misfortune overtake us while we are in the act of removing the treasure, the one who survives is entitled to all, after he has settled a few bequests we have taken the pains to write jointly. Is this so understood?” “It is in the bond general; and may heaven deal with me as I deal with you.” They solemnly shook hands as if to again ratify the bargain. Barrajo and Jack had as yet no sus picion that they were followed from San Juan, and, eager to begin opera tions, the two comrades had each seized upon several images that were most handy and began to lug the un resisting captives toward the exit. Barrajo ascended the steps first and Jack handed up the booty, raising the temple images one by one, while the general piled them outside on the grass beside the overthrown silver sentry. Jack v ’ handed up the last of their burdc still gasping for breath, era wife v. . the steps himself, anxious to again breathe the pure atmosphere without, after having his eyes and nose and mouth clogged with the fine dust of ages. Just as he reached the top a hand clutched his shoulder, and Barrajo’s husky voice whispered into his ear: j “Hush! Do not move—caramba! I could swear I saw r a figure flit through yonder stretch of bright moonlight.” ‘VAh! that means ” “We have been followed.” “In spite of our great caution.” Barrajo muttered a few pet phrases as though in this opening of the safe ty valve he could allow the surplus steam to escape. “There are some very sly dogs in this world, senor, and we have our share of them in San Jose. Yes, de spite the care exercised by one whose long experience made him capable of doing everything possible to throw pursuers off the track, we have been followed.” “There can be no doubt of their in tentions,” said Overton between his teeth, as he allowed a hand to steal toward his weapons, for the Anglo- Saxon spirit was aroused within him. “None at all. They want this treas ure, and if we hope to win we must fight for it,” came the stern reply. BOOK TWO The Modern Argonauts. CHAPTER XIII. Dearly Won. 1 Evidences that the general had spoken the truth multiplied quickly, for presently they heard signals, and even caught a glimpse of dark figures flitting from tree to tree. Perhaps it was the first time on record where white men made a rude breastworks of gold, but lying behind the heap of gold images and vases tnat Barrajo had deposited upon the ground they awaited an opportunity to cut loose among the persistent shadows that had followed from San Juan. It was Barrajo who found the first chance, and right well the old soldier improved it. At least one thing was settled —the imprecations in Spanish that followed the report of his gun announced be yond any possibility of mistake that these dusky, flitting shadows were not the spirits of ancient Aztec priests, but genuine, bonafide adventurers of to-day. If more evidence were needed they had it when spiteful flashes of fire punctured the dark spaces under the trees, and the rattle of firearms fol lowed. Some of the bullets whistled over their heads, while others flattened against the novel defense behind which they crouched. “Five!” muttered the old soldier when the scattering volley had come to an end without doing any damage. They had quite a little circus for some time, firing back and forth, guid ed more by the flash of each other’s guns than anything else. W'hen the enemy began to flank their position Jack knew the case was grow ing desperate, and would require he roic treatment if they hoped to come out at the large end of the horn. “We must move on their works, general,” he declared, when a leaden messenger had sung past his ear, com ing from the rear. They crawled away, keeping almost flat upon the ground and without in terruption reached the spot for which they aimed, where at the proper time they could pour a hot and deadly fire into the ranks of the San Jose ad venturers as they rushed forward in closing upon their silenced enemies. All this happened Just as Barrajo, who knew the habits and tempera ments of his fellows full well, expect ed, and the fusilade which they opened on the advancing figures sent at least a couple of them to grass before they realized the clever nature of the strat agem played upon them. The fight, being again open, raged along the whole line. It was evidently destined to be a little war of extermination —one side or the.other must be wiped out. After further desultory firing Jack heard the awful thud which a bullet makes when it strikes a human being, and caught the husky maledictions that burned his comrade’s tongue. “You are hit,” he exclaimed in dis may. “Yes, and badly, too, I fear. Try to stanch the blood, hombre, as best you can. Your hand trembles —come, bear up; it is but th** tuck of a soldier, after all. Many years r have mocked the Grim Reaper and laughed in his face —perhaps he has me now. At least, hombre, I shall be avenged. See, our three remaining enemies have oome to gether yonder, by the gnarled oak — you can count the flashes when they fire. It is a glorious opportunity to try the virtues of these experimental bombs, one that may never come again. The secret must die with them.” Jack had just turned his head mood ily aside, ostensibly to look for ene mies in their rear, but in reality to hide his emotion, when a sudden shout electrified him. As he faced about he was horrified to see his sorely wounded companion upon his feet and hurrying with uncer tain steps toward the spot from whence the last volley had come. It was too late to stay him, for al ready the mad general was a quarter of the way over the intervening ground. His cry had drawn out shots from those in ambush —Jack could see the Are run the gamut of three guns, and at that distance he trembled for his de voted comrade. •As he turned to look for Barrajo he discovered that his worst fears were realized —the old hero had gone down, struck again by a merciless ball. Then a sudden fury seemed to pos sess Overton —such a feeling as may make a giant of a stripling—it was the desire for revenge burning in his soul and tingling to the very tips of his fingers, under the impulse of which a man may do the most astounding feats, such as might be worthy of old tinre heroes. In that second of time he had sworn an oath to slay those three desperate adventurers or die himself in the attempt. He had even scrambled to his feet with this stern resolution on his mind, and was in the act of rushing forward to hurl himself upon the ambushed foe, when he discovered that Barrajo was once more rising. Jack had a pretty good idea as to what was upon Barrajo’s mind, so that he was not at all surprised to see him draw back his arm and make ready to cast a projectile. Overton unconsciously came to a halt and held his breath when he dis covered that the general had actually made the cast. He had no time to speculate upon the result. There was a blinding flash just in the spot where the trio of adventurers had concealed themselves, a most ter rific concussion that actually threw Jack from his feet, and then a deathly silence. Overton, only a trifle bruised, man aged to gain his feet and rush for ward. Where the San Jose treasure seekers had lain hidden the utmost havoc had been done, and Jack knew no human being could have been within twenty feet of that exploding bomb and es caped with his life. It was a most terrible and over whelming catastrophe. He remembered poor, brave Barrajo, hero of a score of battles, such as they are in Central American republics. It was no trouble finding him. The general had half raised himself to a sitting position, and was eagerly looking toward the stfene of desolation his terrible little hand grenade had wrought. “It is—victory?” he gasped, as Jack bent over him. and there was a tremor to the old soldier's weak voice that told of the ruling passion strong in death. “I have no reason to believe a single man of their number has been left alive,” Jack returned. The old warrior feebly waved his arm above his head —Jack would never as long as he lived forget the tragic scene under the whispering gnarled oak. “Then I am satisfied. It is sweet for a soldier to die when the field has been won.” “But is it so bad as that, my poor friend? May I not be able to save you? I have some rude knowledge of surgery, and Heaven knows I could spare no effort in your behalf.” There was real agony in Jack’s voice and the dying man was deeply affected by it. “Useless, Senor Jack; quite useless. My sands of life are almost run; my race at its end. I have been wounded many times, but never like this. In less than ten minutes I shall be dead; believe me.” “Good heavens! you give me pain, Barrajo. If it were my brother I could not feel more unconsolable.” “Ah, I believe you, senor. We have been good comrades, we two; is it not so?” And we made a sacred compact; you remember it, Senor Jack?” weakly. “Yes.” (To be continued.) Presbyterians in England. Three hundred and thirty-five places of worship provide 166,391 sittings for members of the Presbyterian church of England. Would Revive Heathenisn. A new periodical has appeared in a suburb of Berlin. Its modest aim is to bring back heathenism and annihilate Christianity. Mrs. Annie McKay, Chaplain Sons of (Temperance, 326 Spadina Ave., Toronto, Cured of Severe Female Troubles by Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. “ Dear Mrs. Pinkham : Being a mother of five children I have had experience with the general troubles of my sex. 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