“You are right, my boy,” said he, speaking to Ralph. “Here is a suite of rooms, and we will occupy them just as you have said. They are dry and airy, and it will be far better for us to sleep here than out of doors.”
As they returned, Ralph was full of talk about the grand find. But the captain made no answers to his remarks—his mind was busy contriving some means of barricading the narrow entrance at night.
When breakfast was over, and the entrance to the rocks had been made cleaner and easier by the efforts of Maka and Ralph, the ladies were conducted to the suite of rooms which Ralph had described in such glowing terms. Both were filled with curiosity to see these apartments, especially Miss Markham, who was fairly well read in the history of South America, and who had already imagined that the vast mass of rock by which they had camped might be in reality a temple of the ancient Peruvians, to which the stone face was a sacred sentinel. But when the three apartments had been thoroughly explored she was disappointed.
“There is not a sign or architectural adornment, or anything that seems to have the least religious significance, or significance of any sort,” she said. “These are nothing but three stone rooms, with their roofs more or less broken in. They do not even suggest dungeons.”
As for Mrs. Cliff, she did not hesitate to say that she should prefer to sleep in the open air.
“It would be dreadful,” she said, “to awaken in the night and think of those great stone walls about me.”
Even Ralph remarked that, on second thought, he believed he would rather sleep out of doors, for he liked to look up and see the stars before he went to sleep.
At first the captain was a little annoyed to find that this place of safety, the discovery of which had given him such satisfaction and relief, was looked upon with such disfavor by those who needed it so very much, but then the thought came to him, “Why should they care about a place of safety, when they have no idea of danger?” He did not now hesitate to settle the matter in the most straightforward and honest way. Having a place of refuge to offer, the time had come to speak of the danger. And so, standing in the larger apartment, and addressing his party, he told them of the fate he feared had overtaken the three sailors, and how anxious he had been lest the same fate should come upon some one or all of them.