“I’ll stay here till seven o’clock to-morrow morning. Is that late enough? Then I’ll see the sheriff and start things moving.”
Pesquiera bowed in his grand, formal manner. “The terms satisfy. I wish Mr. Gordon a very good night’s sleep. This room formerly belonged to the brother of Miss Valdes. It is curious, but she was here airing this room only to-day. She did not know you were in the house at the time. Adios, Senor.”
“Good night, Mr. Pesquiera. I reckon I’m in your debt quite a bit. Sorry we couldn’t agree about this little matter of what to do with the boys.”
Manuel bowed again and withdrew from the room.
Inside of ten minutes Gordon was fast asleep.
VALENCIA ACCEPTS A RING
Manuel found Valencia pacing up and down the porch of the hotel in a fever of impatience. Instantly at sight of him she ran forward quickly.
“Where have you been? What have you done with Sebastian? Why did you leave without telling me about it?” she demanded.
“One question at a time, my cousin,” he answered, smiling at her. “But let us walk while I tell you.”
She fell into step beside him, moving with the strong, lissom tread that came from controlled and deliberate power.
“What is it you have to tell? If you were called away, why did you not leave a message for me?” she asked, a little imperiously.
“I wasn’t called away, Valencia. You were excited and angry. My opinion was that Sebastian would speak if the matter was put to him right. So I cut the rope that tied him and we ran away through the back door of the hotel.”
Her dark eyes, proud and passionate, began to smoulder. But the voice with which she answered him was silken smooth.
“I see. You pretended to be working with me—and then you betrayed me. Is that it?”
“If you like,” he said with a little shrug. “I backed my judgment against your impatience. And it turns out that I was right.”
“How? What has happened? Where is Sebastian?”
“He is galloping toward the hills as fast as he can—at least I hope he is. What happened is that he told me where Gordon is hidden.”
“At your house. When you were there to-day you must have passed within twenty feet of him.”
“But—do you mean that Pablo and Sebastian took him there?”
“Exactly. They did not foresee that you would come to town, Valencia.” He added, after a moment: “I have seen Mr. Gordon, talked with him, and released him. At this moment he is in your brother’s room, probably asleep.”
All the sharpness had died out of the young woman’s voice when she turned to her cousin and spoke with a humility rare to her.
“Forgive me, Manuel. I always know best about everything. I drive ahead and must have my own way, even when it is not the wise one. You did just right to ignore me.”