The Silversword’s Secret 6 глава
“Why, it’s Janet Lee and Roy Chatleyl” Bess said in a low tone.
“I wonder what they want,” George mused, frowning.
The brother and sister jumped from the car. They gave fleeting smiles to the mainlanders, then opened the luggage compartment of the automobile. From it, Roy began taking out several suitcases. Presently, he picked up two of the bags and carried them to the porch. Turning to Ned, he said:
“Give me a hand with the rest of the luggage, will you?”
Nancy had stepped forward. “We—we’re glad to see you, but why the luggage?”
By this time Janet was walking up the front steps. “We’ve come to stay,” she announced.
Looks of astonishment came over the faces of Nancy and her friends. The young detective managed to say, “You’re staying? Mr. Sakamaki has invited you to come here?”
“Of course not,” Janet Lee answered. “But as to an invitation, Roy and I don’t need one. We have far more right to be here than you people have. We’re staying!”
“Furthermore,” her brother added pompously, “the sooner you folks move out, the better we’ll like it!”
COMPLETELY stunned by the announcement of Roy Chatley and Janet Lee, Nancy’s group stood as if rooted to the spot. They could not believe what they had just heard. The brother and sister were moving in and asking the others to move out!
“Well, aren’t you fellows going to help me with the bag ?” Roy asked in an irritable voice.
As Nancy found her voice and introduced Mrs. Gruen and the boys, Ned stepped forward and said, “As soon as I’m told it’s all right, I’ll be glad to help you with your luggage.”
Janet tossed her head. “Well, of all the nerve! Here we’re the grandchildren of the man who owned this place and you’re telling us what to do.”
By now Nancy had decided what to do. She hurried into the house and dashed upstairs to Grandfather Sakamaki’s bedroom. Adjoining it was a small study with a telephone. She closed the door and put in a call to Mr. Dutton, the executor.
When Nancy related what had happened, the trust officer was stunned by the news. “This makes a complicated situation indeed,” he said. “But I suppose we have no right to keep Mrs. Lee and her brother out. They are entitled to visit the estate as well as your friend Mr. Sakamaki or any friends he sends there.”
“I suppose so,” Nancy agreed. “I only hope they’ll be pleasant.”
Mr. Dutton sighed. “I wish I could help you, but at the moment nothing occurs to me. Just this morning I was going over the credentials of Mrs. Lee and Mr. Chatley. They certainly seem to be all right.
“Among the things is a photograph of the grave of old Mr. Sakamaki’s first wife, their grandmother. Then they had other papers to prove that she had just one child, a daughter. The photograph of this woman proved that she looked very much like her mother.
“Then there were other old photographs of Mr. Sakamaki’s first wife with her grandchildren. They certainly resemble Janet and Roy. Also, they produced newspaper clippings of the death notice and funeral of their mother.”
Nancy was impressed. “It all sounds authentic,” she said.
“Yes, it does,” Mr. Dutton agreed. “Another thing, Mr. Chatley brought an old letter of his grandmother’s to a friend telling how her husband had left her when their daughter was a baby and that he had gone to Honolulu.”
“It sounds very plausible,” Nancy had to admit. “Mr. Dutton, as you know, my father is in Los Angeles trying to check the same story. I talked with him on the phone this morning and he said something had come up which had made him decide to stay over and do some further investigating. Maybe he’ll uncover additional facts that will disprove Roy’s claim.”
Nancy then told of the proposed trip to Maui and the Haleakala Crater. She explained about the little metal chest and the pictures on the paper found inside.
“How interesting!” the executor remarked.
“It may or may not mean anything,” said Nancy, “but I suspect it’s a good clue to the mystery of Kaluakua. ”I’d planned to fly today to the area where the silversword plants are, but I hate to go and leave Roy Chatley and his sister here.”
“I see,” said Mr. Dutton. “Well, go ahead. I’ll have a private detective, named John Jerral, come out to the house and stay while you’re away.”
Nancy was relieved. “That’s fine, Mr. Dutton.” With a chuckle, she added, “I don’t think we should tell Janet and Roy what his profession is.”
“Right,” the executor agreed. “Mr. Jerral is of medium height and a bit overweight. ”I’ll ask him to wear a green necktie, so that you’ll recognize him. Good-by, Miss Drew, and success on your search.”
Crossing the study, Nancy opened the door, walked through Mr. Sakamaki’s bedroom, and into the hall. There she met Janet Lee and her brother. The young woman held two small suitcases, her brother two large ones. At this instant they plunked them down on the floor.
“Roy,” said Janet, “I’m going to look over all the rooms, then decide which ones you and I will occupy.”
“Most of them are taken,” Nancy spoke up. “Suppose I show you two that are empty.”
“Thank you, but I’ll make my own decision,” retorted Janet haughtily. “Since this house belongs partly to me, I think I have a right to sleep where I want to.”
Nancy did not argue with the woman. She and her friends would be leaving that afternoon and not returning for a while. Perhaps by the time they came back to Kaluakua, Mr. Drew would be there and she could get his advice in the matter.
Casually, Nancy said that she and her friends and Mrs. Gruen were making a trip to Maui to see the famous crater. When they returned, the group could discuss the matter of who should stay at the estate. Janet’s and Roy’s faces lighted up, but their smiles faded when Nancy said:
“Kaluakua is to have another guest for a short time. He will arrive soon. His name is Mr. John Jerral. He’s a very pleasant man, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy his company.”
“What does he do?” Roy Chatley asked suspiciously.
“Oh, he’s interested in many things,” Nancy replied noncommittally. “He’s really a very well-informed person. ”He’ll be able to tell you a lot about the Hawaiian Islands and their legends and history.”
Leaving it to Mr. Jerral to satisfy Roy’s curiosity, Nancy rushed downstairs. She quickly told the others of her conversation with the executor and the fact that Mr. Jerral was coming. “But I didn’t tell Janet and Roy what his profession is.”
Bess laughed. “And we shan’t give it away. I’ll go tell Kiyabu and Emma about it.” She hurried away.
George said in a giggling whisper that she had better go and rescue her purse from the bedroom before Roy decided it belonged to the estate! Everyone went upstairs and watched the newcomers choose their bedrooms.
First Ned’s suitcase and clothes were rudely removed from his room by Roy. Nancy was dismayed because this was one of the most spacious rooms on the second floor and she had planned that Mr. Drew would sleep in the room with Ned.
“I think I’ll take this room,” Janet announced in grandiose style, as she stopped in the doorway of the room which Nancy was sharing with Hannah. “I’d appreciate it if whoever is in here would remove these clothes.”
Nancy concealed her annoyance and said nothing. Bess and George helped her carry the clothes to a small room at the end of the hall.
As George hung up the last dress, she said with flashing eyes, “Do you girls realize that those two have picked rooms from which they can watch everything that goes on?”
“Yes, and everybody!” added Bess. “It wouldn’t surprise me if by the time we get back here all the clothes we’ve left have been stolen!”
“Oh, I don’t think we need worry about that,” said Nancy. She glanced at her watch. “We’d better grab some lunch and be on our way or we’ll miss our plane.”
Soon she and her friends were ready to leave. Suitcases were piled into the convertible’s luggage compartment and its passengers began to climb in. Nancy was worried. Mr. Jerral had not arrived and she had great misgivings about leaving Janet Lee and Roy Chatley at Kaluakua without more professional guards than Kiyabu and Emma.
But a moment later her fears were allayed. A car turned into the driveway, and a slightly stout man of medium build and wearing a green necktie parked and stepped out. Nancy rushed forward and told him in a low voice what had happened, including the fact that Janet Lee and Roy Chatley did not know that he was a detective.
“Good!” he said in a whisper. Aloud he called, “You’ll love the island of Maui. Have a fine time!”
An hour later the group were in the air. Nancy and Ned sat together and soon were discussing the various aspects of the mystery.
“Tell me your idea of what the na kanata symbol may mean, Ned,” Nancy said.
“My guess is statuettes,” he replied. “Perhaps there are two very valuable statuettes buried near some silversword plant.”
Nancy gazed out the window at the greenish-blue water below her as she thought about this. Then she reflected that a silversword plant blooms only once, then dies. It was doubtful if Grandfather Sakamaki would have buried anything so valuable near something that was not permanent.
“You probably have it all figured out,” Ned remarked. “What’s the answer?”
Nancy smiled. “I’m guessing that the identical symbols mean brothers and maybe even twins.”
“Okay. Where does that get you?” Ned asked.
Nancy had to admit that at this point her theorizing had reached a dead end. “Maui is not a large place,” she mused, “but on the other hand the island is not small, either. It’s going to be a real challenge to find the two men if that’s what the paper indicated.”
Forty minutes later the pilot set his plane down at the Hana airport. A smiling Polynesian met them and introduced himself as Moki Kuano.
“Do you wish to stop at your hotel first or shall we go directly to the crater?” he asked.
“We don’t want to miss anything,” Bess spoke up. “What do you advise?”
The Hawaiian guide smiled. “Perhaps we should go to the crater first. It is a long drive, but we should get there by sunset, and if we are lucky, you may see the Specter of Brocken.”
“What’s that?” Burt inquired.
The guide explained that it was a phenomenon viewed from the rim of the crater when it was filled with clouds. “You’ll see your reflection in a rainbow which circles the clouds.”
“Sounds spooky and wonderful!” Bess remarked.
Moki suggested that the travelers check their bags at the airport. He would come back for them later. The group agreed, since with eight in the car there was no room for luggage.
“I understand that the crater is ten thousand feet above sea level,” said Ned. “Will this car be able to take all of us up to it?”
There was a chuckle from Moki. “You just squeeze in. The car will do the rest.”
The travelers managed to settle themselves comfortably though crowded in the tourist car. All of them were charmed with the old tree-shaded city of Hana, a cultural center of ancient Hawaii. Nancy learned that several retired professors and other students of volcanology and Polynesian lore lived there. Instantly she thought of the symbols beneath the picture of the silversword plant.
“Maybe two men live here who can help me with the mystery!” she told herself excitedly.
Nancy’s attention was diverted by Moki pointing out a gorgeous waterfall and she suddenly realized how long she had been daydreaming. They were far out of town!
On the way up the mountain, they passed fields of sugar cane and some of pineapple, but in the main this was ranch country with cattle grazing on lush grass. About two-thirds of the way to the top, Moki suddenly stopped the car.
“I will show you a silversword plant,” he said.
Everyone alighted and followed him down a little incline over a gravelly, rocky section. Before them was the most amazing plant the visitors had ever seen. It stood some ten feet in the air. From the lower part of the stalk grew a shower of leaves which looked like hairy silver swords. Moki explained that hairs on the leaves kept out the sun’s rays and prevented moisture escaping from the plant.
The upper six feet of the plant was the flower itself. From the center stalk grew green foliage and hundreds of purple and yellow flowers.
“Exquisite!” Hannah Gruen exclaimed. “This is certainly worth coming miles and miles to see.”
Moki said that the mainlanders were fortunate. This was not a spot where the plants usually grew. Smiling, he added that he thought this one had deliberately planted itself away from the crater proper to show off its beauty to the passers-by on the road.
After the group had gazed at it in awe awhile, walking around the unusual plant several times, Moki said they must be on their way. The car climbed up the mountainside. When it finally reached the top, Nancy and her friends walked to the rim, and stood breathless at the magnificent spectacle before them. Holding onto an iron railing, they gazed down into an enormous depression. Part of it was grassy with plants growing on the lava floor. But most amazing were the series of cinder cones, some as high as eight hundred feet, which Moki said were the result of volcanic eruptions. The whole scene was bathed in the glow of a brilliant red sunset.
For a long time, the group stood speechless as Moki explained that the crater was seven miles long and two miles wide. So interested were the sight-seers that they hardly noticed the clouds gathering over the crater. In a short time the area was filled with them and suddenly a complete rainbow surrounded the clouds.
“And look!” Bess cried out, pointing. “There’s my reflection in the center of them!”
“And you do look like a spook,” George remarked.
Every one of the visitors was clearly reflected among the clouds.
Nancy and George were particularly intrigued. Trying to see more from another vantage point, they walked a distance out on the cliff beyond the railing.
George went a few steps ahead of Nancy. Gazing into the clouds and not watching where she was going, she suddenly lost her balance.
Nancy, seeing this, made a wild grab for her and caught hold of George’s blouse. But the weight of George’s body dragged the two of them over the side of the cliff!
THE INSTANT the two girls started tumbling down the cliffside, the three boys jumped to the rescue. They were beside Nancy and George in a moment, bracing themselves against the steep slope, and asking if the girls had been injured.
“Only my pride,” George replied. “What a dumb thing to do!”
Since both she and Nancy felt shaken up and had suffered a few bruises, it was decided that the group would leave at once and go to the ranch motel outside of Hana where they had reservations. It was nearly dusk when they arrived at the attractive mountainside inn with its low, rustic buildings.
Bess was glad that dinner was ready. “I’m starving,” she said, as they all sat down at a long table.
The table was very attractive with a centerpiece of gardenias floating in a bowl of monkeypod wood. At each setting was a large slice of papaya, covered with chunks of pineapple, banana, and mango, and sprinkled with shredded coconut.
“I’m sure going to miss these tropical fruits when I get back to Emerson,” Burt said with a laugh. “Fellows, can you imagine our dinners at college starting with a course like this?”
Ned and Dave grinned. “Bean soup is usually what they start with,” Dave told the others.
There was a great deal of banter and teasing during the meal. But directly afterward, Nancy became serious. She told her friends that she had been doing some thinking about the drawing found in the chest. It had occurred to her that possibly there were two men—perhaps twins—in Hana, who were interested in some specific way in silversword plants.
Excusing herself, she left the others and asked the hotel clerk at the desk if he knew of anyone who was particularly interested in the plant. He replied that he did not, but that perhaps the manager, Mr. Blake, might know. He ushered Nancy into an inner office and introduced her to the manager.
Nancy again asked her question. Mr. Blake did not hesitate a moment. “Yes, there are two such men here in town. They’re twins, and professors. The Anderson brothers have made a special study of the silversword plant.”
A surge of excitement swept over Nancy. Her clue was about to bring results!
“The Anderson brothers retired from teaching some time ago,” Mr. Blake went on. “Since studying our silversword plant and finding that it grows nowhere else in the world, they have come up with a very interesting theory.”
Mr. Blake said the professors believed that the original seeds had been shot from space when the planet earth was being formed, and that they had lain dormant in this locale until the Hawaiian Island group was erupted.
Nancy was astounded at this theory, and eager to talk to the professors about it.
“Are the Andersons willing to have visitors?” she asked Mr. Blake.
“Oh, yes, indeed,” the manager answered.
“If they have a phone,” said Nancy, “perhaps I could call them and make an appointment.”
The hotel manager reached for a copy of the telephone directory, found the number, and put in the call for Nancy. A deep voice at the other end of the wire said, “Nils Anderson speaking.”
“This is Mr. Blake at the motel,” the manager told him. “We have a guest here, Miss Nancy Drew, who would like to speak to you.”
He handed the phone to Nancy, who said, “Hello. This is Nancy Drew from River Heights on the mainland.” Then she asked, “Professor Anderson, did you know a man in Honolulu named Nikkio Sakamaki who lived at Kaluakua?”
“My brother and I knew him well,” came the reply.
“Then may I please come to see you?” the young sleuth inquired. “My father is attorney for Mr. Sakamaki’s grandson. A mystery has arisen in connection with his grandfather’s estate and perhaps you can help in solving it.”
Professor Anderson chuckled. “I love mysteries and I should be very happy to see you. Can you come here about nine-thirty tomorrow morning?”
Nancy said she could and later asked Ned to go with her. They arrived at the Anderson cottage promptly and were admitted by the brothers, who were identical twins. The white-haired men were about seventy years old, tall and straight, with ruddy complexions and twinkling blue eyes.
Nancy and Ned introduced themselves, and Ned revealed that Nancy was doing some detective work for her father in connection with the Sakamaki case.”
“That’s very interesting,” one of the men said.
The professors then introduced themselves. Nils was a botanist, Stephen a zoologist. “We came from California originally,” said Stephen, “but we lived in Honolulu for many years and lectured occasionally at the University.”
His twin took up the story. “We became acquainted with Mr. Sakamaki of Kaluakua because of his interest in science. He was a very well-informed man, especially on the subject of botany. We three became great friends and saw a good deal of one another until Stephen and and I decided to come to Hana and make a study of the silversword plant.”
“Mr. Blake told us about your theory as to the way the seeds got to this earth,” Nancy spoke up.
Nils nodded. “It seems like the only logical explanation,” he said, “but we have a great deal more studying to do and it is possible we’ll change our minds.”
Nancy now told the professors further details of her father’s connection with the Sakamaki case, and also about her own interest in the puzzle.
“We’ve been trying hard to clear up the mystery,” she said, “and just came upon a new clue.” She explained about the discovery of the chest with the drawing of the silversword plant and the symbols meaning men. “Are you the men indicated?” she asked, smiling.
Neither of the twins replied at once. Instead, they gazed at each other for several moments as if trying to decide how to answer. But finally Nils spoke up.
“Old Nikkio Sakamaki was full of fun and incidentally full of sage Oriental sayings. He took great pleasure in thinking up clues to the solution of the Kaluakua mystery. He always said he wanted his heir to work to unfathom it.”
As the elderly man stopped speaking, Nancy asked again, “And did one of the clues lead to you people because you can tell us something?”
Stephen smiled. “You have guessed correctly, Miss Drew. Mr. Sakamaki said if anyone should ever ask questions similar to the ones which you have put that we were to answer, ‘Watch the angel birds over Mauna Loa.’ ”
“ ‘Watch the angel birds over Mauna Loa,’ ” Nancy repeated. “Does that mean the volcano Mauna Loa?”
The professors grinned delightedly. Then Nils answered, “We were instructed to say no more.”
It was clear to Nancy that they had no intention of breaking any promise they had given old Mr. Sakamaki. Tactfully she changed the subject and asked the Andersons if they knew whether Nikkio Sakamaki had ever mentioned having a wife and child in California.
“No, he never did,” Nils replied. “In fact, I believe he was in California only a few days before coming to Honolulu.”
Nancy was so excited to hear this that she almost jumped out of her chair. “This is very important news,” she said. “A brother and sister from California have arrived in Honolulu to claim two-thirds of the estate. They say they are grandchildren of Grandfather Sakamaki.”
Once more the brothers looked at each other for several moments before speaking. Then Nils said, “I am amazed to hear this and doubt the story very much. I believe I may be able to help you prove that these people are impostors.”
“Oh, if you only could!” Nancy cried out.
Nils Anderson went on to say that old Mr. Sakamaki had given him several letters containing data about rare Japanese flowers. These letters had been written to Mr. Sakamaki while he was still in Japan.
“He had no further use for them,” the professor explained, “and since he knew I would like to study the letters and could read Japanese, he gave them to me. If my memory serves me correctly, the dates on those letters might prove that Mr. Sakamaki was in Japan at the time these people claim he was married and living in California.”
Nancy was almost beside herself with elation. “Do you have these letters here?” she said eagerly.
“Not in Hana,” Nils Anderson replied. “When we moved here, I put them in the bank vault in Honolulu.” Seeing the excitement on Nancy’s face, he smiled and added, “I’ll be very happy to fly to Honolulu and look at the letters. If I am right in my assumption, I’ll turn the letters over to the executors of Mr. Sakamaki’s estate.”
“That’s very kind, and certainly wonderful news,” said Nancy.
Professor Anderson smiled. “Before getting in touch with the executor, I’ll call you on the phone. Will you be at Kaluakua?”
For an instant Nancy toyed with the idea of returning immediately to Honolulu and awaiting his call. But she decided to postpone the trip back until she had gone to the island of Hawaii and watched the angel birds flying over Mauna Loa. She must figure out the next clue to the secret of Kaluakua! She told her plan to the professor, who said he would put off his flight to Honolulu a day.
The following morning Nancy decided to telephone Kiyabu and tell him of the trip to Hawaii and also find out what had been going on at the estate. The caretaker told her that no messages had come from anyone, including Mr. Drew.
“We are having bad luck here,” Kiyabu reported. “Mr. Jerral was taken ill soon after dinner the day you left. He has been confined to his bed ever since. Mr. Chatley had a doctor for him.”
“Then that means he has not been able to keep watch on Roy Chatley and his sister,” Nancy remarked.
“I am afraid not,” Kiyabu replied, “but I have been guarding the place the best I could. Emma has been helping me, too.”
“Are your guests enjoying themselves?” Nancy asked.
An exclamation of disgust came from Kiyabu. “Miss Drew, those people are impossible. Always they are ordering me to go on errands. I am sure they want me to leave the estate for good. Then they have harsh words for Emma and me and they have threatened us several times.”
“How dreadful!” Nancy exclaimed.
“But that part is not so bad as the rest,” the caretaker went on. “Mrs. Lee and Mr. Chatley have had company here all the time. The people who come are very rough. They have broken much furniture. Emma and I have put away all the small pieces we could.”
Nancy tried to express her sympathy and say that she and her friends would return immediately, but she had no chance. Kiyabu talked fast and loud in his excitement.
“The men make jokes all the time. They say they want double of eggs and. double of coffee. One of them even ordered double cakes of soap for his bathroom. And every time one of them says this, the rest of them laugh so loud it hurts my ears.”
The distraught caretaker went on with his tale of woe, saying how sick poor Mr. Jerral was and what were he and Emma going to do? But Nancy did not answer. A sudden thought had come to her which made her instinctively clutch at her throat.
Were Janet Lee and Roy Chatley knowingly entertaining members of the Double Scorps at Kaluakua?
KIYABU continued to complain bitterly of the unseemly doings at Kaluakua. “Those visitors played some crazy game in the garden and ruined some of my rare plants!” he cried out in despair. “And Mr. Sakamaki was so proud of his flowers!”
Nancy was indignant. Her thoughts traveled to Mr. Jerral. Why had he permitted this? Was he too ill to object? Why had he not sent for a replacement ?
It occurred to her that possibly Mr. Jerral was not so ill as he seemed to be—that he was using this method to allay any suspicion on the part of the “guests” at Kaluakua, and actually was watching them very intently. Nevertheless, she offered to return to the estate at once.
“That will not be necessary, Miss Nancy,” Kiyabu said. “We will manage somehow.”
“Do you think,” Nancy questioned, “that Roy Chatley’s guests are searching for something?”
“No, I do not,” Kiyabu replied. “I just think they are here to have a good time. But they have very bad manners.”
“In any case, we’ll be home late tomorrow,” Nancy promised. “If things get too bad, I suggest you call the police.”
After the young sleuth hung up, she kept wondering whether or not she had made the right decision in not going directly home. When she discussed it with the others in her group, they urged Nancy to go to the island of Hawaii to see the angel birds. Moki and a friend of his drove them to the airport in two cars.
“I have a friend in Hawaii who is a fine guide as well as taxi driver,” Moki told them. “When you arrive at the airport in Hilo, ask for Keaka.”
“We’ll do that,” said Ned. “Thanks, Moki.”
Upon their arrival at Hilo three-quarters of an hour later, Nancy and Ned questioned the taxi drivers until they found Keaka. He was a small, dark, pleasant man about forty years of age.
“Yes, I can take you for a trip at once and give you as much time as you like,” he said. “I am grateful to my friend Moki for sending you to me.”
Learning that they would be able to stay only until the following afternoon, he suggested a general sight-seeing tour at once. They could stay overnight at the Volcano House, and take a look at Mauna Loa the next morning.
Keaka’s car was a station wagon, so there was plenty of room for everyone. Part of the luggage was strapped to the roof. Then everyone got in.
“Have you ever heard of our Fern Forest?” Keaka asked.
Ned said that he had read that the ferns were really as high as trees.
Keaka laughed. “You shall judge for yourself,” he answered, and drove off.
The city of Hilo itself was a busy place, with a fine harbor where steamers unloaded all types of freight. One of the most interesting sections of the waterfront was the bulk-sugar storage plant.
Keaka suggested that they look around inside. He led the way into the building and up a twisting flight of iron steps. At the top was a catwalk from which one could look down into the huge sugar storage vats.
“This place can receive more than three hundred tons of sugar an hour and can load freighters at the rate of six hundred tons an hour,” their guide told them.
“Astounding!” remarked Hannah Gruen.
Two of the bins were filled with brown raw sugar which Keaka said would be refined in California. The other bins were empty.
“You could practically set the Empire State Building from New York City in one of these,” George remarked.
“You sure could,” Burt agreed. Then, grinning, he said, “I’d say this is the sweetest place on earth.”
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