Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
0100_005E Under the Andes Rex Stout

The Verdict

Page 2 of 8

Table Of Contents: Under the Andes

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

I recollected first the different disposition of the quipos for different purposes--historical, sacred, narrative, et cetera. Then the particulars came to me, and immediately I recognized the formula of the quipos before the throne. They were arranged for adjudication--for the rendering of a verdict.

Harry and I were prisoners before the bar of the quipos! I turned to him, but there was not time for talk. The king had risen and stretched out his hand.

Immediately the vast assemblage rose from their stone seats and fell flat on their faces. It was then that I noticed, for the first time, an oval or elliptical plate of shining gold set in the wall of the cavern just above the outer edge of the alcove.

This, of course, was the representation of Pachacamac, the "unknown god" in the Inca religion. Well, I would as soon worship a plate of gold as that little black dwarf.

For perhaps a minute the king stood with outstretched arm and the Incas remained motionless on their faces. Then he resumed his seat and they rose. And then the trial began.

The king turned on his throne and laid his hand on Desiree's arm; we could see her draw away from his touch with an involuntary shudder. But this apparent antipathy bothered his kingship not at all; it was probably a most agreeable sensation to feel her soft, white flesh under his black, hairy hand, and he kept it there, while with the other arm he made a series of sweeping gestures which I understood at once, but which had no meaning for Desiree. By her hand he meant the quipos to speak.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

We had a friend in court, but she was dumb, and I must give her voice. There was no time to be lost; I stepped to the edge of the column and spoke in a voice loud enough to carry across the cavern--which was not difficult in the universal silence.

"He means that you are to judge us by the quipos. The meaning is this--yellow, slavery, white, mercy; purple, reward; black, death. The lengths of the cords and the number of knots indicate the degree of punishment or reward. Attached to the frame you will find a knife. With that detach the cord of judgment and lay it at the feet of the king."

Again silence; and not one of the vast throng, nor the king himself, appeared to pay the slightest attention to my voice. The king continued his gestures to Desiree.

She rose and walked to the frame of quipos and took in her hand the knife which she found there suspended by a cord. There she hesitated, with the knife poised in the air, while her eyes sought mine--and found them.

I felt a tug at my arm, but I had no time for Harry then. I was looking at Desiree, and what I saw caused a cold shudder to flutter through my body. Not of fear; it was the utter surprise of the thing--its incredible horror. To die by the hands of those hairy brutes was not hard, but Desiree to be the judge!

Page 2 of 8 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Under the Andes
Rex Stout

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004