Tarzan again made his way toward the treasure vault, knowing that in a few hours his blacks would be with him, ready to bear away another fortune in the strangely shaped, golden ingots of Opar.
Six times he had returned to the treasure chamber, and six times Werper, the Belgian, had cowered in the black shadows at the far end of the long vault.
Before he extinguished the single candle he had brought with him for the purpose, and the flickering light of which had cast the first alleviating rays into the impenetrable darkness of the buried chamber, that it had known for the countless ages since it had lain forgotten of man, Tarzan's mind reverted to that first occasion upon which he had entered the treasure vault, coming upon it by chance as he fled from the pits beneath the temple, where he had been hidden by La, the High Priestess of the Sun Worshipers.
He had learned the secret for which he had come, and now he could return at his leisure to his waiting followers, bring them to the treasure vault and carry away all the gold that they could stagger under.
The fisherman appeared to appreciate the counsel; he laid down the light, and disappeared under the vault of the stairs.
That is right; but we shall want lights to guide us in the vaults.
After having passed the rubbish, and torn away more than one branch of ivy that had made itself a guardian of the solitude, Athos arrived at the vaults situated beneath the great hall, but the entrance of which was from the chapel.
Athos fixed upon Monk one of those penetrating looks which seem to convey to him to whom they are directed a challenge to conceal a single one of his thoughts; then, taking off his hat, he began in a solemn voice, while his interlocutor, with one hand upon his visage, allowed that long and nervous hand to compress his mustache and beard, while his vague and melancholy eye wandered about the recesses of the vaults.
The vault in which we placed it (and which had been so long unopened that our torches, half smothered in its oppressive atmosphere, gave us little opportunity for investigation) was small, damp, and entirely without means of admission for light; lying, at great depth, immediately beneath that portion of the building in which was my own sleeping apartment.
I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its probable influence upon the hypochondriac, when, one evening, having informed me abruptly that the lady Madeline was no more, he stated his intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight, (previously to its final interment), in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls of the building.
The uproar which had so lately echoed through the vaults
of the forest was gone, leaving the rush of the waters to swell and sink on the currents of the air, in the unmingled sweetness of nature.
The vaults were, it was believed, used as dungeons in the old times-- say, some centuries since.
These last words explained a curious smell in the vaults, which we noticed the moment we entered them.
He dabbled in chemistry, down in the horrid under-water vaults of the palace; and he wanted to show me some of his experiments.
Thrice did there peal peals at the gate like thunders, thrice did the vaults
resound and howl again: then did I go to the gate.