“Cease thine evil talk and answer me,” said Ignosi angrily. “Wilt thou show the place where the stones are, or wilt thou not? If thou wilt not thou diest, even now,” and he seized a spear and held it over her.
“I will not show it; thou darest not kill me, darest not! He who slays me will be accursed for ever.”
Slowly Ignosi brought down the spear till it pricked the prostrate heap of rags.
With a wild yell Gagool sprang to her feet, then fell again and rolled upon the floor.
“Nay, I will show thee. Only let me live, let me sit in the sun and have a bit of meat to suck, and I will show thee.”
“It is well. I thought that I should find a way to reason with thee. To-morrow shalt thou go with Infadoos and my white brothers to the place, and beware how thou failest, for if thou showest it not, then thou shalt slowly die. I have spoken.”
“I will not fail, Ignosi. I always keep my word—ha! ha! ha! Once before a woman showed the chamber to a white man, and behold! evil befell him,” and here her wicked eyes glinted. “Her name was Gagool also. Perchance I was that woman.”
“Thou liest,” I said, “that was ten generations gone.”
“Mayhap, mayhap; when one lives long one forgets. Perhaps it was my mother’s mother who told me; surely her name was Gagool also. But mark, ye will find in the place where the bright things are a bag of hide full of stones. The man filled that bag, but he never took it away. Evil befell him, I say, evil befell him! Perhaps it was my mother’s mother who told me. It will be a merry journey—we can see the bodies of those who died in the battle as we go. Their eyes will be gone by now, and their ribs will be hollow. Ha! ha! ha!”
THE PLACE OF DEATH
It was already dark on the third day after the scene described in the previous chapter when we camped in some huts at the foot of the “Three Witches,” as the triangle of mountains is called to which Solomon’s Great Road runs. Our party consisted of our three selves and Foulata, who waited on us—especially on Good—Infadoos, Gagool, who was borne along in a litter, inside which she could be heard muttering and cursing all day long, and a party of guards and attendants. The mountains, or rather the three peaks of the mountain, for the mass was evidently the result of a solitary upheaval, were, as I have said, in the form of a triangle, of which the base was towards us, one peak being on our right, one on our left, and one straight in front of us. Never shall I forget the sight afforded by those three towering peaks in the early sunlight of the following morning. High, high above us, up into the blue air, soared their twisted snow-wreaths. Beneath the snow-line the peaks were purple with heaths, and so were the wild moors that ran up the slopes towards them. Straight before us the white ribbon of Solomon’s Great Road stretched away uphill to the foot of the centre peak, about five miles from us, and there stopped. It was its terminus.