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|Under the Andes||Rex Stout|
|Page 4 of 4||
"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.
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