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Under the Andes by Rex Stout

Part 7 out of 7

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as though fascinated.

I opened my mouth to call to him, but before the words left my
lips he had let out an ear-splitting yell of terror and bounded
down the steps and past us, with arms flying in every direction,
running like one possessed. Nor did he return during the few hours
that we remained at the hotel.

Two days later found us boarding the yacht at Callao. When I
had discovered, to my profound astonishment, at the
hacienda, that another year had taken us as far as the tenth
day of March, I had greatly doubted if we should find Captain
Harris still waiting for us. But there he was; and he had not even
put himself to the trouble of becoming uneasy about us.

As he himself put it that night in the cabin, over a bottle of
wine, he "didn't know but what the senora had decided to
take the Andes home for a mantel ornament, and was engaged in the
little matter of transportation."

But when I informed him that "the senora" was no more,
his face grew sober with genuine regret and sorrow. He had many
good things to say of her then; it appeared that she had really
touched his salty old heart.

"She was a gentle lady," said the worthy captain; and I smiled
to think how Desiree herself would have smiled at such a
characterization of the great Le Mire.

We at once made for San Francisco. There, at a loss, I
disposed of the remainder of the term of the lease on the yacht,
and we took the first train for the East.

Four days later we were in New York, after a journey saddened
by thoughts of the one who had left us to return alone.

It was, in fact, many months before the shadow of Desiree
ceased to hover about the dark old mansion on lower Fifth Avenue,
incongruous enough among the ancient halls and portraits of Lamars
dead and gone in a day when La Marana herself had darted like a
meteor into the hearts of their contemporaries.

That is, I suppose, properly the end of the story; but I
cannot refrain from the opportunity to record a curious incident
that has just befallen me. Some twenty minutes ago, as I was
writing the last paragraph--I am seated in the library before a
massive mahogany table, close to a window through which the
September sun sends its golden rays--twenty minutes ago, as I say,
Harry sauntered into the room and threw himself lazily into a large
armchair on the other side of the table.

I looked up with a nod of greeting, while he sat and eyed me
impatiently for some seconds.

"Aren't you coming with me down to Southampton?" he asked

"What time do you leave?" I inquired, without looking up.


"What's on?"

"Freddie Marston's Crocodiles and the Blues. It's going to be
some polo."

I considered a moment. "Why, I guess I'll run down with you.
I'm about through here."

"Good enough!" Harry arose to his feet and began idly
fingering some of the sheets on the table before me. "What is all
this silly rot, anyway?"

"My dear boy," I smiled, "you'll be sorry you called it silly
rot when I tell you that it is a plain and honest tale of our own

"Must be deuced interesting," he observed. "More silly rot
than ever."

"Others may not think so," I retorted, a little exasperated by
his manner. "It surely will be sufficiently exciting to read of
how we were buried with Desiree Le Mire under the Andes, and our
encounters with the Incas, and our final escape, and--"

"Desiree what?" Harry interrupted.

"Desiree Le Mire," I replied very distinctly. "The great
French dancer."

"Never heard of her," said Harry, looking at me as if he
doubted my sanity.

"Never heard of Desiree, the woman you loved?" I almost
shouted at him.

"The woman I--piffle! I say I never heard of her."

I gazed at him, trembling with high indignation. "I suppose,"
I observed with infinite sarcasm, "that you will tell me next that
you have never been in Peru?"

"Guilty," said Harry. "I never have."

"And that you never climbed Pike's Peak to see the sunrise?"

"Rahway, New Jersey, is my farthest west."

"And that you never dived with me from the top of a column one
hundred feet high?"

"Not I. I retain a smattering of common sense."

"And that you did not avenge the death of Desiree by causing
that of the Inca king?"

"So far as that Desiree woman is concerned," said Harry, and
his tone began to show impatience, "I can only repeat that I have
never heard of the creature. And"--he continued--"if you're trying
to bamboozle a gullible world by concocting a tale as silly as your
remarks to me would seem to indicate, I will say that as a cheap
author you are taking undue liberties with your family, meaning
myself. And what is more, if you dare to print the stuff I'll let
the world know it's a rank fake."

This threat, delivered with the most awful resolution and
sincerity, unnerved me completely, and I fell back in my chair in
a swoon.

When I recovered Harry had gone to his polo game, leaving me
behind, whereupon I seized my pen and hastened to set down in black
and white that most remarkable conversation, that the reader may
judge for himself between us.

For my part, I do swear that the story is true, on my word of
honor as a cynic and a philosopher.

[end of text]

Note: I have made the following changes to the text:
2 1 2 sursounding surrounding
22 6 2 hunderd hundred
24 9 1 La Mire Le Mire
32 1 1 ager eager
36 4 5 earthqakes earthquakes
45 5 2 tossd tossed
56 10 1 then than
58 8 1 or our
69 8 2 geting getting
74 1 3 unstead unsteady
87 13 1 Whey Why
106 5 1 placng placing
112 4 2 aggreeable agreeable
115 1 to some some
123 1 2 Desiree arms Desiree's arms
125 3 5 had made has made
129 11 4 But was But it was
140 4 1 Lords knows Lord knows
158 5 6 begin towed being towed
168 6 2 dicussing discussing
178 6 3 Pachacamas Pachacamac
179 7 3 cabin cavern
185 2 1 was wild was a wild
192 8 3 carvern cavern*
196 8 1 perservation preservation
196 9 4 dour days four days
204 6 1 litte little
208 2 1 on my on me
209 3 4 aked asked
210 5 2 retuned returned
211 8 3 said side
212 3 3 touch tough
224 6 2 Soliel Soleil
226 5 5 aproaching approaching
243 1 3 serius serious
247 5 5 forseen foreseen
247 6 1 They The
259 4 5 peceptibly perceptibly

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