Gordon shrugged his shoulders. “We shall see, my friend. The first time I meet him after his leg is all right Master Pedro gets the licking he needs.”
“You are warned, senor.”
Dick nodded and walked away, humming a song lightly.
The black eyes of the Mexicans followed him as long as he was in sight. A passionate hatred burned in those of the elder brother. Those of Pedro were full of a wistful misery. With all his heart he admired this man whom he had yesterday tried to kill, who had to-day saved his life, and in the next breath promised him a thrashing.
He gave him a grudging hero-worship, even while he hated him; for the man trod the world with the splendor of a young god, and yet was an enemy of the young mistress to whom he owed his full devotion. Pedro’s mind was made up.
If this Gordon laid a whip on him, he would drive a knife into his heart.
OF DON MANUEL AND MOONLIGHT
Don Manuel sat curled up in one of the deep window-seats of the living room at the Valdes home, and lifted his clear tenor softly in an old Spanish love-song to the accompaniment of the strumming of a guitar.
It is possible that the young Spaniard sang the serenade impersonally, as much to the elderly duenna who slumbered placidly on the other side of the fireplace as to his lovely young hostess. But his eyes told another story. They strayed continuously toward that slim, gracious figure sitting in the fireglow with a piece of embroidery in the long fingers.
He could look at her the more ardently because she was not looking at him. The fringes of her lids were downcast to the dusky cheeks, the better to examine the work upon which she was engaged.
Don Manuel felt the hour propitious. It was impossible for him not to feel that in the past weeks somehow he had lost touch with her. Something had come between them; some new interest that threatened his influence.
But to-night he had again woven the spell of romance around her. As she sat there, a sweet shadowy form touched to indistinctness by the soft dusk, he knew her gallant heart had gone with him in the Castilian battle song he had sung, had remained with him in the transition to the more tender note of love.
He rose, thumbed a chord or two, then set his guitar down softly. For a time he looked out into the valley swimming in a silvery light, and under its spell the longing in him came to words.
“It is a night of nights, my cousin. Is it not that a house is a prison in such an hour? Let us forth.”
So forth they fared to the porch, and from the porch to the sentinel rock which rose like a needle from the summit of a neighboring hill. Across the sea of silver they looked to the violet mountains, soft and featureless in the lowered lights of evening, and both of them felt it earth’s hour of supreme beauty.