Her anger blazed as she recalled all this and more. She would show Sebastian that because she had been indulgent he could not trade defiantly upon her kindness.
“No,” she told Manuel. “No. I shall deal with him myself. He will speak or I shall turn him over to the sheriff.”
“Let us at least go to the hotel, Valencia. We do not want to gather a crowd on the street.”
“As you please.”
They reached the hotel parlor and Valencia gave Sebastian one more chance.
The man shuffled uneasily on his feet, but did not answer.
“Very well,” continued Miss Valdes stiffly, “it is not my fault that you will have to go to the penitentiary and leave your children without support.”
Manuel tried to stop her, but Valencia brushed past and left the room. She went straight to a telephone and was connected with the office of the sheriff. After asking that an officer be sent at once to arrest a man whom she was holding as prisoner, she hung up the receiver and returned to the parlor.
In all she could not have been absent more than five minutes, but when she reached the parlor it was empty. Both Manuel and his prisoner had gone.
AN OBSTINATE MAN
When Richard Gordon came back from unconsciousness to a world of haziness and headaches he was quite at a loss to account for his situation. He knew vaguely that he was lying flat on his back and that he was being jolted uncomfortably to and fro. His dazed brain registered sensations of pain both dull and sharp from a score of bruised nerve centers. For some reason he could neither move his hands nor lift his head. His body had been so badly jarred by the hail of blows through which he had plowed that at first his mind was too blank to give him explanations.
Gradually he recalled that he had been in a fight. He remembered a sea of faces, the thud of fists, the flash of knives. This must be the reason why every bone ached, why the flesh on his face was caked and warm moisture dripped from cuts in his scalp. It dawned upon him that he could not move his arms because they were tied and that the interference with his breathing was caused by a gag. When he opened his eyes he saw nothing, but whenever his face or hands stirred from the jolting something light and rough brushed his flesh; An odor of alfalfa filled his nostrils. He guessed that he was in a wagon and covered with hay.
Where were they taking him? Why had they not killed him at once? Who was at the bottom of the attack upon him? Already his mind was busy with the problem.
Presently the jolting ceased. He could hear guarded voices. The alfalfa was thrown aside and he was dragged from his place and carried down some steps. The men went stumbling through the dark, turning first to the right, and then to the left. They groped their way into a room and dropped him upon a bed. Even now they struck no light, but through a small window near the ceiling moonbeams entered and relieved somewhat the inky blackness.