“Where is Maria-Teresa?” shouted the Marquis as he caught sight of Dick, and ran toward him. “Why are you alone? Where is she? What has happened? Speak, boy!”
Little Christobal, clinging to Dick’s legs, reiterated his father’s questions, while Uncle Francis’ long shanks took him wandering aimlessly round the little group. The guard blew his whistle, and Natividad pushed them all into a carriage just as the train started.
“Yes, she has been carried off by the Indians, but we know where she is. She is at Chorillos.” Dick’s attempt to reduce the force of the blow to the Marquis partly succeeded. Then he explained what he knew while Don Christobal, raging in his corner, swore to kill with his own hands every Quichua in the country. Little Christobal, understanding only that his sister was lost, sobRed bitterly.
But what had given the others the alarm? The Marquis explained that Aunt Agnes and Irene, going to church for the evening angelus, found that the Golden Sun bracelet had been stolen from the shrine of the Virgin of San Domingo. They had returned home in a panic, to find the Marquis nearly distracted with fear. Going to his club for the first time in a week, he had there found an anonymous letter warning him to watch over his daughter day and night throughout the Interaymi. This letter, a twin of the one received at Cajamarca, had been waiting some days. It particularly warned him not to allow his daughter to go to Callao on Saturday. It was then seven o’clock, and going home to find that neither Maria-Teresa nor Dick were back, he had at once rushed to Callao. Little Christobal, refusing to listen to orders, had followed his father and Uncle Francis.
Dick listened like one demented. He was silent, but his mind was in a turmoil. To think of such a thing! In a country where people used telephones and traveled by rail! It was too horrible, too incredible, yet horribly credible. There was no doubt in his mind now as to the reasons for the abduction.
Natividad, closely questioned by the Marquis, finished by telling all he knew, and left them little hope. While loth to cause pain, he could not disguise certain facts. In a sense, too, he was triumphant. A conscientious official, he had once almost ruined his administrative career by certain reports on Quichua customs, dealing notably with the ritual murder of women and children. He had been laughed at, and called a lunatic—now the Red Ponchos were at work again.