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Excerpt: ... rolled it into a scroll, about which he tied a cord of gold and purple threads. The missive then was handed to the man who had guided them, with an order delivered in the Inca tongue, and the man departed, leaving them alone with the prince. "Be not dismayed," he said, turning to his guests. "I would know what brought you to the Forbidden Land. Few are the men who have come thither, for our fastnesses are impregnable and the outer valley where you were captured can be stumbled upon only by accident. And of those whom I have captured in the past or my fathers before me, none within two hundred years came seeking us, but found their way thither only by accident. You, however, I am certain, came seeking us. Is it not so?" Directly appealed to, Don Ernesto agreed. "Your Highness, it is." "Call me Prince Huaca," said the other, simply. "Yes, it is as I thought. And it was this which led you?" He held a manuscript aloft. It was the de Pereira manuscript, in archaic Spanish, Spanish as old as that spoken by Prince Huaca. "It was that which brought us." "Senor," said Prince Huaca, "I cannot believe that you came expecting to find a nation in existence." "We thought but to find abandoned ruins." Prince Huaca was silent, thoughtful. "Pray, Prince Huaca," said Mr. Hampton, speaking for the first time, "may we not state our surprise to find that a powerful people exists here unknown to the world at large and unsuspected? Moreover, surpassing in my mind the mystery of how you have kept your secret through the centuries--" "Eternal vigilance," interrupted Prince Huaca. "Well," continued Mr. Hampton, "surpassing that mystery, I say, is that of how you have maintained a healthy and, doubtless, growing population within this restricted territory." "State supervision and control of families, lands, everything, but--" Prince Huaca arose abruptly, and moved up and down before them, his face dark, his...