“Senor, I never saw five hundred dollars dangling within reach before. Shall I go to your friend and give him information?” asked Pablo.
Dick read the poster through with interest. “Good old Steve. He’s getting busy. Inside of twenty-four hours he’ll ferret out this spot.”
“It may be too late,” Pablo flung back significantly. “If they press us hard we’ll finish the job and make a run for it.”
They were talking in Spanish, as they did most of the time. The prisoner read aloud the offer on the handbill.
“Please notice that I’m worth no more alive than you are if I’m dead. I reckon this town is full of friends of yours anxious to earn five hundred plunks by giving a little information. Let me ask a question of you. Suppose you do finish the job and hit the trail. Where would you go?”
“The hills are full of pockets. We could hide and watch a chance to get out of the country.”
“We wouldn’t have to hide. Jesu Cristo, who would know we did it?” chipped in Sebastian roughly.
“Everybody will know it soon. You made a bad mistake when you didn’t bump me off at the start. All your friends that helped bushwhack me will itch to get that five hundred, Sebastian. As to hiding—well, I was a ranger once. Offer a reward, and everybody is on the jump to earn it. The way these hills are being combed this week by anxious man-hunters you’d never reach your cache.”
“Maybe we would and maybe we wouldn’t. We’ll have to take a chance on that,” replied the bearded Mexican sullenly.
To their prisoner it was plain that the men were I growing more anxious every hour. They regretted the course they had followed and yet could see no way of safety opening to them. Suspicious by nature, Sebastian judged the American by himself. If their positions were reversed, he knew he would break any pledge he might make and go straight to the sheriff with his story. Therefore they could not with safety release the man. To kill him would be dangerous. To keep him prisoner was possible only for a limited time. Whatever course they followed seemed precarious and uncertain. Temperamentally he was inclined to put an end to the man and try a bolt for the hills, but he found in Pablo an unexpected difficulty. The young man would not hear of this. He had made up his mind riot to let Gordon be killed if he could prevent it, though he did not tell the American so.
Menendez made another trip after supplies next day, but he came back hurriedly without them. Pesquiera’s poster offering a reward of one hundred dollars for the capture of him or Sebastian had brought him up short and sent him scurrying back to his hole.
Gordon used the poster for a text. His heart was jubilant within him, for he knew now that Valencia was not back of this attack upon him.
“All up with you now,” he assured them in a genial, offhand fashion. “Miss Valdes must be backing Pesquiera. They know you two are the guilty villains. Inside of twelve hours they’ll have you both hogtied.”