“That’s right. Your head’s level there.”
“And, in the second place, two men can keep a secret, but six or eight can’t. Some one of them is bound to talk to his sweetheart or wife or friend.”
“True enough. That five hundred dollars might get one of ’em, too.”
“Somehow I believe he is alive. His enemies have taken him away somewhere—probably up into the hills.”
“You ought to know that better than I do. What could they gain by it?”
He scratched his gray head. “Search me. They couldn’t aim to hold him till after the trial. That would be a kid’s play.”
“Couldn’t they get him to sign some paper—something saying that he would give up his claim—or that he would sell out cheap?”
“No, they couldn’t,” the old man answered grimly. “But they might think they could. I expect that’s the play. Dick never in the world would come through, though. He’s game, that boy is. The point is, what will they do when they find he stands the acid?”
Miss Underwood looked quickly at him, then looked quickly away. She knew what they would do. So did Davis.
“No, that’s not the point. We must find him—just as soon as we can. Stir this whole town up and rake it with a fine-tooth comb. See if any of Miss Valdes’ peons are in town. If they are have them shadowed.”
They separated presently, she to go to the State House, he to return to the El Tovar. There he found the telegram from Miss Valdes awaiting him. Immediately he dictated an answer.
Before nightfall a second supply of posters decorated walls and billboards. The reward was raised to one thousand dollars for information that would lead to the finding of Richard Gordon alive and the same sum for evidence sufficient to convict his murderers in case he was dead. It seemed impossible that in so small a place, with everybody discussing the mysterious disappearance, the affair could long remain a secret. Davis did not doubt that Miss Underwood was correct in her assumption that the assailants of Gordon had carried him with them into some hidden pocket of the hills, in which case it might take longer to run them to earth. The great danger that he feared was panic on the part of the abductors. To cover their tracks they might kill him and leave this part of the country. The closer pursuit pressed on them the more likely this was to happen. It behooved him to move with the greatest care.
VALENCIA MAKES A PROMISE
When Manuel descended from the El Tovar hack which had brought him from the station to that hotel the first person he saw standing upon the porch was Valencia Valdes. He could hardly believe his eyes, for of course she could not be here. He had left her at Corbett’s, had taken the stage and the train, and now found her waiting for him. The thing was manifestly impossible. Yet here she was.