A mysterious scene

Relatively pleasant-looking, though a young woman in too oversized a dress, was eating dinner at a second-class canteen in London. He didn’t pay as much attention to his handsome body and rough-faced face as he did to his comrade’s size and appearance. This was a tall, well-proportioned man, in his mid-third decade, and he had such an awesome beard that it looked as if he was hiding behind it. He was well three inches over six feet. The shoulders were broad, the chest deep and the hips narrow. His physique, posture, and whole being showed a clearly trained athlete.

The two were in a devout debate that, from time to time, was evident, judging by the approaching limit of the heated debate.

“I tell you,” the man explained, “I don’t understand what we would do with the others. Why would they get involved with us – why divide into six parts what you and I could get alone?”

“Money is needed to carry out the plan,” the woman replied, “and neither of us has it. They have money and they support us with it – me for my information and you for your appearance and strength. , I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes if you cheated on them. “No, my friend, I love life too much to join you in any such conspiracy.”

“But I’m telling you, Flora, that we should get more than they want to give. You get all the information, and I’m alone in danger, – shouldn’t we get more than a sixth of each?”

“Then speak to them yourself, Esteban,” the girl crocheted again, now using her shoulders; “But if you follow my advice, you will be content with what is offered to you. that your sixth achievement, if you do not mess it up, will be enough for each of us until the end of our earthly lives. ”

The man did not look confident, and the young woman sensed that he could bear to keep an eye on him. He did know quite a bit about that man, indeed, and had only seen him personally a few times after inventing him two months ago in a white screen at a London cinema showing a Roman warrior belonging to the Imperial Guard.

Here he had been taken into account only because of his heroic size and impeccable physique, for his share was insignificant, and of the thousands who saw him on the silvery cloth, Flora Hawkes was the only one in which she aroused more than a passing interest, and no interest in her. , but rather the fact that Esteban Miranda so miraculously corresponded to the type she and her allies had been looking for for a couple of years. Finding the man himself proved to be an initially difficult task, but after a menstrual, seemingly fruitless search, he finally met him in the company of twenty statisticians at the workshop of a small film company in London. Flora didn’t need any recommendations other than her good looks to get to know her,

That the man was Spanish and presumably of a good family seemed obvious to Flora, and his numb ruthlessness guessed at the speed with which he agreed to take part in the obscure task Flora Hawkes had planned in his mind and the details of which he had finalized with his four allies. And it was precisely because he instilled the man’s numbness that he knew all caution was necessary to prevent him from taking advantage of his knowledge of their plan, which should once be explained to him in detail, even though Flora had so far reserved the key exclusively for himself, without even believing it in any of his four allies.

They sat silent for a moment, hopping at the empty glasses they had been drinking. The woman then glanced at the man’s face and saw in her eyes a look that a less cunning woman than Flora Hawkes would have easily been able to interpret.

“You can force me to do what you want, Flora,” said the man, “for with you I forget the gold and think only of the second prize, which you always deny me, but which I do win once.”

“My favorite and business things don’t belong together,” the girl replied. “Wait until you are successful in this task, Esteban, then we can talk about love.”

“You don’t love me,” the comrade whispered hoarsely. “I know … I’ve seen … that each of the other loves you. That’s why I might hate them. And if I guess you loved someone of them, so I could pierce his chest. Sometimes I have thought that you love … at first had a feeling that your loved one and then another . you’re with them too familiar, Flora. I’ve noticed John Peebles squeezing hard hand, when no thought for anyone to live to see, and dancing, with Dick Throckin to keep her take thee too close and you you dance cheek to cheek. I say to you, Flora, that it does not I like it, and one day I will still forget all the gold, I will only think of you, and then something will happen, and after that there will not be so many sharing the gold bars I am picking from Africa. And Bluber and Kraski aren’t much better; Kraski is perhaps the worst of all, for he is a good-looking villain, and I do not like the eyes of the calf that you create in him. ”

A flaming anger began to flare from the girl’s eyes. With an angry gesture, he silenced his comrade.

“What’s it to you goes, Señor Miranda, who I choose as friends, or how I would treat them and they me You do not forget that I’ve known these men for years, while I’ve known you for a few weeks;? And if anyone would have the right to dictate to me behaviors – which, thank God, no one has – then one of them rather than you. ”

The man’s eyes flashed suddenly.

“My guess was right!” he exclaimed. “You love one of them.” He got up halfway from the chair and leaned over it menacingly towards his comrade. “As long as I find out who it is, I’ll cut him to pieces!”

He pushed his fingers into his long, black hair until it rose to his feet like the brush of an angry lion. A fire sparkled from her eyes that made the girl feel a whistling fear in her heart. That man seemed to have lost his mind for a moment. Unless he was crazy, he had at least a crazy look, and the girl was afraid and realized she had to appease her.

“Well, well, Esteban,” he whispered softly, “you don’t have to get excited about a fiery frenzy out of nowhere. I haven’t said I love any of them, nor have I said I don’t love you, but I’m not used to such courtship. it is fun, but I’m an English girl, and if you love me, and treat me as an Englishman would treat suitor. ”

“You haven’t said you love any of the others – no, but you haven’t denied it either. Tell me, Flora, which one of them do you love?”

His eyes still glowed and his huge body trembled with restrained passion.

“I don’t love any of them, Esteban,” replied the girl, “and I still don’t love you either. But I could, Esteban, – I can tell you so much. I could love you, Esteban, as I could never love anyone else; I will not give myself permission to do so until you have returned and we are free to live where and how we want. Then maybe – but I will not promise that either. ”

“It’s best that you promise,” Esteban said slyly, though apparently more at ease. “It’s best that you promise, Flora, because I don’t care about that gold unless I get you too.”

“Hst,” the woman warned, “there they will come, and the time is already there; they are well half an hour late.”

The comrade turned his eyes to where he was looking, and they both sat, waiting for the approach of the four men who had just entered the canteen. Two of them were apparently English — big, obese men of the middle class, and they looked, as they really were, from former boxers; the third, Adolph Bluber, was a short, fat, round, red-faced, and nodular German. The fourth, the youngest of them, was quite more beautiful than the others. His smooth face, bright complexion, and big dark eyes would have been enough to make Miranda jealous, but in addition to those he still had thick, wavy, brown hair, the body of a Greek god, and the elastic grace of a Russian dancer; and the dancer really was Karl Kraski when he tolerated being something other than a villain.

The girl greeted the four with amusement, but the Spaniard played to them only a single yoke nod, as they took the chairs and sat down at the table.

“Oltta!” shouted Peebles and hit the table to grab the grape’s attention.
“Bring us a cave!”
The proposal was greeted with general satisfaction, and while waiting for a drink, they chatted with all sorts of necessities: the heat, the reason for their stay, and the small incidents that had happened since their last encounter. During that time, Esteban sat jealously, but when the winemaker returned and they drank the cup of Flora, at which party they had long used to mark every meeting, they went about it.

“Well,” Peebles exclaimed, hitting the table with his fleshy fist, “so here we are now! We have everything, Flora, – plans, coins, Señor Miranda – and we’re ready for power, sweetheart, as long as you tweet your own stream.”

“How much money do you have?” asked Flora. “It’s needed a fair amount, and it’s not worth trying unless you have enough crap to get it done.”

Peebles turned to Bluber. “There,” he got, showing him with his thick finger, “is our well-fed treasurer. He can tell you how much our daughter has, brought a fat German villain.”

Bluber smiled with an oily smile and rubbed his fat palms together. “Well,” he said, “how much do you think, Miss Flora, that we needed?”

“At least two thousand pounds, so we can act for sure,” the girl replied quickly.

“Oh, oh!” exclaimed Bluber. “But it’s a lot of money – two thousand pounds! Oh, oh!”

Neitonen made an indignant move. “I told you at the outset that I didn’t want to have anything to do with the tormentors, and that only when you had enough money to do the job properly would I give you maps and directions – the necessary guides to the vaults piled up with enough gold to buy this tight little island if only be half of what I have heard it said, it is true. you get to splash your money own mind according to, but you must show me that you have at least two thousand pounds for use, before I give you the information that will make you the world’s richest men. ”

“For the good man does,” murmured Throck. “Lempo knows what he’s spinning for.”

“Bluber can’t do anything about it,” exclaimed the Russian, “a racial trait. That Jew would try to compromise the fee of the secretary of the marriage license office if he happened to get married.”

“Well but,” sighed Bluber, “why would we waste more money than necessary? If we get along with one thousand pounds, then the better.”

“No doubt,” the girl snapped, “and if a thousand pounds is enough, you don’t have to sacrifice any more; but you must have two thousand just in case, and from what I see in that country I conclude that you will experience more difficulties than you imagine.”

“Oh, oh!” sighed Bluber.

“Yes, because the money is there,” Peebles said, “let’s just take action now.”

“Maybe she has, but I want to see them first,” the girl replied.

“Do you think I’ll carry all that amount of money on my placard?” exclaimed Bluber.

“Can’t you trust our word?” growled Throck.

“Mokoma backup is still asking me that!” replied the girl, laughing at the rotting thugs facing her face. “However, I trust in Karl’s word; if he assures me that you have the funds and that they will be used and can be used to pay for all the necessary expenses of our trip, then I will believe him.”

Peebles and Throck frowned angrily, and Miranda’s eyes narrowed into two narrow, slender slits as he aimed his gaze at the Russian. Bluber just didn’t care about anything. The more he was slandered, the more he seemed to like it. To those who treated him with respect and esteem, he soon became brazen, but instead kissed the hand of a whip. Kraski alone smiled with a smile of complacency, which made Miranda’s Spanish blood boil.

“Bluber has the money, Flora,” he said; “Each of us has given his share. We’re making Bluber a treasurer because we know he’ll hold on to every bastard so that his fingers sting before he lets it out of his fingers. Our plan now is to leave London in pairs.”

He pulled the map from his pocket, opened it, and spread it on the table in front of them. He pointed his finger at the spot marked with an X. “There we meet and prepare for the trip. Bluber and Miranda leave first, then Peebles and Throck. When Neid and I arrive, everything is ready to move immediately inland, where we can set up a permanent camp away from the routes and as close to our destination as possible. ready for the final stage of his journey. I assume he’s well-trained in the part he performs and is perfectly capable of disguising and acting. When he only needs to deceive ignorant natives and forest beasts, it doesn’t become overwhelming for his acting ability. ” In a soft stretched voice vibrated a biting ivy,

“Do I understand that,” asked Miranda, whose single tone denied the angry look on her face, “that you and Miss Hawkes are traveling to the two X’s?”

“Yes only, unless your understanding is incomplete,” replied the Russian.

The Spaniard half rose from his chair and reached out threateningly over Krask. The maiden, who sat closest to him, grabbed her jacket grips.

“Not like that!” he said, pulling the man back to his chair. “There’s already been too much brawling between you, and if it still hurts, I’ll make a difference for all of you and look for more harmonious and fun travel companions for my trip.”

“Yeah, leave it at that, here we are now, and your mouth shut!” exclaimed Peebles militantly.

“John is right”, mörähti Throck deep in his bass, “and I am ready to support him. Flora is right, and I’m ready for him too profitable. And if you still rähisette, so jumalavita, if I will not let a couple of mojausta you fiction snout through!” And he glanced first at Miranda and then at Krask.

“Well,” blessed Bluber, “squeezing everyone’s other hand and being good friends.”

“That’s right,” Peebles exclaimed, “that’s the right speech. Give him your paw, Esteban. Well, Karl, bury your war ax. We can’t take action in this way;

The Russian, who felt secure about Flora and was thus on a generous top, held out his hand over the table towards the Spaniard. Esteban hesitated for a moment.

“Well, man, squeeze his hand now,” Throck growled. “Otherwise, you’ll get back to your job as an additional man on the stage, and, let’s have a favorite, we’ll look for someone else to replace you to share the pile of gold with us.”

Suddenly a funny smile lit up the Spanish face. He reached out his hand quickly and grabbed Krask’s hand. “Excuse me,” he said, “I’m hot-tempered, but I do not mean any harm. Miss Hawkes is right, we all need to be friends, and here is my hand, its collateral, Kraski, on my behalf.”

“All right,” replied Kraski; “I’m sorry that I hurt you.” But he forgot that the other was an actor, and if he could have seen that gloomy soul at the bottom, he would have been parked.

“And now that we’re good friends,” Bluber said, rubbing Mairea passionately with her hands, “why don’t we arrange a bill so we can get it all completed? Miss Flora will give me a map and directions and we’ll take action right away.”

“Lend me a pencil, Karl,” the girl asked, and when he had given her one, she looked for a point on the map, someone’s journey inland from X, where she drew a small wheel. “This is O,” he said. “When we’re all here, you’ll get the final instructions, not before.”

Bluber raised his hand. “Oh, Miss Flora, what do you think! Are we wasting two thousand pounds to buy a pig in a sack? Oh, oh, can’t you ask us that kind of thing? We have to see everything, know everything before we waste one seafood.”

“Yeah, and here we are now, jukoliste!” roared John Peebles, hitting the table with his fist.

The girl rose casually from her chair. “Good then,” he said, shrugging his shoulders, “if you think about it that way, we might as well undo it all.”

“Oh, wait, wait, miss,” Bluber exclaimed, getting up urgently. “We can’t get up to speed. But don’t we understand our position? Two thousand pounds is a lot of money, and we’re good business people. Not we fit it all to waste if we don’t get what we get.”

“I’m not asking you to waste it in vain,” the girl replied awkwardly; “but if in this work someone is trustworthy to each other, you must trust me. If I gave you all my knowledge, nothing in the world would stop you from going above and leaving me to suck my nails; but that is not part of my program.”

“But we’re not going to be crap, Miss Flora,” said the Jew. “We wouldn’t think for a minute cheating on Miss.”

“But you’re not angels either, Bluber more than the others,” the girl replied. “If you get ahead, are you observe my commandments, and I’m there for the final execution included taking care of that, I get my share Until now, you have believed my word that I had clear information, and now you have to believe until the end of, or otherwise get. What good would it do me to go to the terrible jungle to suffer all the hardships and hardships we have to experience there and drag you with me if I couldn’t open the treasure vaults when I get there? from the clutches of a bandit like you, if I tried to cheat on you, and as long as I play honestly, I feel completely safe, for I know that either Esteban or Karl will protect me – and what else would you do? Is it valid or not? ”

“Well, John, what do you and Dick think?” asked Bluber, turning to the former professional boxers. “Karl did think about what ever Flora is, I know that. Well, what do you say?”

“A thousand of the last,” crocheted Throck, “I almost never used to trust anyone unless forced, but now it looks like we should trust Flora.”

“Same words,” accompanied John Peebles. “If you try any dog ​​sticks,
Flora…” He made a significant movement with his finger around his neck.
“I understand, John,” the girl crocheted with a smile, “and I know you would do it as fast for two pounds as for two thousand. But are you now all ready to act on my plans? Karl, too?”

The Russian nodded. “I’m content with everything others decide,” he said.

And then that endearing little group pondered their plans as far as they could – every little detail that was necessary for all of them to get the girl on the map to draw O.