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- The Gold of the Gods - 1/45 -


THE GOLD OF THE GODS

BY

ARTHUR B. REEVE

FRONTISPIECE BY WILL FOSTER

CONTENTS

I THE PERUVIAN DAGGER

II THE SOLDIER OF FORTUNE

III THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL DETECTIVE

IV THE TREASURE HUNTERS

V THE WALL STREET PROMOTER

VI THE CURSE OF MANSICHE

VII THE ARROW POISON

VIII THE ANONYMOUS LETTER

IX THE PAPER FIBRES

X THE X-RAY READER

XI THE SHOE-PRINTS

XII THE EVIL EYE

XIII THE POISONED CIGARETTE

XIV THE INTERFEROMETER

XV THE WEED OF MADNESS

XVI THE EAR IN THE WALL

XVII THE VOICE FROM THE AIR

XVIII THE ANTIDOTE

XIX THE BURGLAR POWDER

XX THE PULMOTOR

XXI THE TELESCRIBE

XXII THE VANISHER

XXIII THE ACETYLENE TORCH

XXIV THE POLICE DOG

XXV THE GOLD OF THE GODS

I

THE PERUVIAN DAGGER

"There's something weird and mysterious about the robbery, Kennedy. They took the very thing I treasure most of all, an ancient Peruvian dagger."

Professor Allan Norton was very much excited as he dropped into Craig's laboratory early that forenoon.

Norton, I may say, was one of the younger members of the faculty, like Kennedy. Already, however, he had made for himself a place as one of the foremost of South American explorers and archaeologists.

"How they got into the South American section of the Museum, though, I don't understand," he hurried on. "But, once in, that they should take the most valuable relic I brought back with me on this last expedition, I think certainly shows that it was a robbery with a deep-laid, premeditated purpose."

"Nothing else is gone?" queried Kennedy.

"Nothing," returned the professor. "That's the strangest part of it--to me. It was a peculiar dagger, too," he continued reminiscently. "I say that it was valuable, for on the blade were engraved some curious Inca characters. I wasn't able to take the time to decipher them, down there, for the age of the metal made them almost illegible. But now that I have all my stuff unpacked and arranged after my trip, I was just about to try--when along comes a thief and robs me. We can't have the University Museum broken into that way, you know, Kennedy."

"I should say not," readily assented Craig. "I'd like to look the place over."

"Just what I wanted," exclaimed Norton, heartily delighted, and leading the way.

We walked across the campus with him to the Museum, still chatting. Norton was a tall, spare man, wiry, precisely the type one would pick to make an explorer in a tropical climate. His features were sharp, suggesting a clear and penetrating mind and a disposition to make the most of everything, no matter how slight. Indeed that had been his history, I knew. He had come to college a couple of years before Kennedy and myself, almost penniless, and had worked his way through by doing everything from waiting on table to tutoring. To-day he stood forth as a shining example of self-made intellectual man, as cultured as if he had sprung from a race of scholars, as practical as if he had taken to mills rather than museums.

We entered a handsome white-marble building in the shape of a rectangle, facing the University Library, a building, by the way, which Norton had persuaded several wealthy trustees and other donors to erect. Kennedy at once began examining the section devoted to Latin America, going over everything very carefully.

I looked about, too. There were treasures from Mexico and Peru, from every romantic bit of the wonderful countries south of us-- blocks of porphyry with quaint grecques and hieroglyphic painting from Mitla, copper axes and pottery from Cuzco, sculptured stones and mosaics, jugs, cups, vases, little gods and great, sacrificial stones, a treasure house of Aztec and Inca lore--enough to keep one occupied for hours merely to look at.

Yet, I reflected, following Norton, in all this mass of material, the thief seemed to have selected one, apparently insignificant, dagger, the thing which Norton prized because, somehow, it bore on its blade something which he had not, as yet, been able to fathom.

Though Kennedy looked thoroughly and patiently, it seemed as though there was nothing there to tell any story of the robbery, and he turned his attention at last to other parts of the Museum. As he made his way about slowly, I noted that he was looking particularly into corners, behind cabinets, around angles. What he expected to find I could not even guess.

Further along and on the same side of the building we came to the section devoted to Egyptology. Kennedy paused. Standing there, upright against the wall, was a mummy case. To me, even now, the thing had a creepy look. Craig pushed aside the stone lid irreverently and gazed keenly into the uncanny depths of the stone sarcophagus. An instant later he was down on his hands and knees, carefully examining the interior by means of a pocket lens.

"I think I have made a start," he remarked, rising to his feet and facing us with an air of satisfaction.

We said nothing, and he pointed to some almost undiscernible marks in a thin layer of dust that had collected in the sarcophagus.

"If I'm not mistaken," he went on, "your thief got into the Museum during the daytime, and, when no one was looking, hid here. He must have stayed until the place was locked up at night. Then he could rob at his leisure, only taking care to confine his operations to the time between the rather infrequent rounds of the night watchman."

Kennedy bent down again. "Look," he indicated. "There are the marks of shoes in the dust, shoes with nails in the heels, of course. I shall have to compare the marks that I have found here with those I have collected, following out the method of the immortal Bertillon. Every make of shoes has its own peculiarities, both in the number and the arrangement of the nails. Offhand, however, I should say that these shoes were American-made--though that, of course, does not necessarily mean that an American wore them. I may even be able to determine which of a number of individual pairs of shoes made the marks. I cannot tell that yet, until I study them. Walter, I wish you'd go over to my laboratory. In the second right-hand drawer of my desk you'll find a package of paper. I'd like to have it."

"Don't you think you ought to preserve the marks?" I heard Norton hint, as I left. He had been watching Kennedy in open-eyed amazement and interest.

"Exactly what I am sending Walter to do," he returned. "I have some specially prepared paper that will take those dust marks up and give me a perfect replica."

I hurried back as fast as I could, and Kennedy bent to the task of preserving the marks.

"Have you any idea who might have an object in stealing the dagger?" Kennedy asked, when he had finished.


The Gold of the Gods - 1/45

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