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Chapter 9: TWALA THE KING (continued)
"Who knows?" he answered with a shrug; "the mountains are full of caves, and there is a great pit between them. It is there that the wise men of old time used to go to get whatever it was they came for to this country, and it is there now that our kings are buried in the Place of Death."
"What was it they came for?" I asked eagerly.
"Nay, I know not. My lords who have dropped from the Stars should know," he answered with a quick look. Evidently he knew more than he chose to say.
"Yes," I went on, "you are right, in the Stars we learn many things. I have heard, for instance, that the wise men of old came to these mountains to find bright stones, pretty playthings, and yellow iron."
"My lord is wise," he answered coldly; "I am but a child and cannot talk with my lord on such matters. My lord must speak with Gagool the old, at the king's place, who is wise even as my lord," and he went away.
So soon as he was gone I turned to the others, and pointed out the mountains. "There are Solomon's diamond mines," I said.
Umbopa was standing with them, apparently plunged in one of the fits of abstraction which were common to him, and caught my words.
"Yes, Macumazahn," he put in, in Zulu, "the diamonds are surely there, and you shall have them, since you white men are so fond of toys and money."
"How dost thou know that, Umbopa?" I asked sharply, for I did not like his mysterious ways.
He laughed. "I dreamed it in the night, white men;" then he too turned on his heel and went.
"Now what," said Sir Henry, "is our black friend driving at? He knows more than he chooses to say, that is clear. By the way, Quatermain, has he heard anything of--of my brother?"
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