threw him a look which This occasion presented itself during the first stage of the next day’s journey. Maria-Teresa, the Marquis, Dick and old Montgomery led the way. Uncle Francis, at first delighted with the prospect of a mule-ride, soon determined to get off again. Riding along the very edge of precipices, his mount felt ten times too high, and he was sure that he would be safer on foot and, at certain times, on all-fours. He gradually became convinced that his mule would slip, and determined to dismount, at a point where two riders could not pass abreast.

The whole cavalcade was thus stopped, while those behind called on the scientist to go ahead, and he vowed that he would do nothing of the kind, twisting in his saddle and trying to discover the best way to get off. Immediate action of the Indian bank-clerk saved the situation, and probably Uncle Francis’ neck. Getting off his own mule, Runtu squeezed down the line, and catching Mr. Montgomery’s mount by the bridle, led it on to a broader path and safety. Dick, the Marquis and Maria-Teresa could not do less than thank him.

When they moved on, Maria-Teresa and the Indian were riding side by side.

Well, se?or Huayna Capae Runtu?” she smiled at him.

Oh, se?orita, let us forget all those illustrious names, which died with my ancestors. The only one I have a right to now is that by which I am known at the bank—just plain Oviedo, like everybody else.”

Yes, I remember now. That is what you called yourself when you came to me from the bank.... Well, se?or Oviedo, can you tell me now what you were doing outside my tent last night with Huascar, my former servant?”

Oviedo Huayna Capac Runtu did not budge, but his mule swerved slightly. He reined it in.

So you saw Huascar, se?orita? An old friend of mine. He arrived late at night, on his way to Cajamarca, and knowing I was at the camp, halted here a minute to see me. I remember now, we did stop outside your tents. When I told him you were there, he asked me to keep watch over you.... He went on immediately afterwards.”

Do I need somebody to keep watch over me, then? Am I in any danger?”

The ordinary dangers of a journey like this. A mule may miss its footing, or a saddle may slip off. In either case, it spells death. That is what Huascar meant, and that is why I myself chose your mule and girthed it up this morning.”

You are too kind,” said Maria-Teresa drily.

At this moment, Uncle Francis drew level with them. He had recovered his equanimity with the wider path, and spoke casually of mountain dangers.

All the same,” he added, I wonder how Pizarro managed to bring his little army through here.”

Maria-Teresa threw him a look which, had he seen it, would have toppled the clumsy scientist into a ravine, mule and all. But he remained serenely unconscious.

It is extraordinary,” acquiesced Oviedo. I have made rather a study of it. At some points, the road was so steep that the horsemen had to dismount and almost drag their chargers after them. A single false step would have hurled them thousands of feet below. The defiles were then just practicable for the half-naked Indians, and think what it must have been for armored men, with the menace of an unknown enemy above them.”