The kisses of Manuel stirred within her new and strange emotions, though she accepted rather than returned them. A faint vague unease chilled her heart. Was it because she had been immodest in letting him so far have his way?
When they returned to the hotel Manuel’s ring was on her finger. She was definitely engaged to him.
It was long before she slept. She thought of Manuel, the man chosen it seemed by Fate to be her mate. But she thought, too, of the lithe, broad-shouldered young American whose eyes could be so tender and again so hard. Why was it he persisted in filling her mind so much of the time? Why did she both admire him and resent his conduct, trust him to the limit one hour and distrust the next? Why was it that he—an unassuming American without any heroics—rather than her affianced lover seemed to radiate romance as he moved? She liked Manuel very much, she respected him greatly, trusted him wholly, but—it was this curly-headed youth of her mother’s race that set her heart beating fast a dozen times a day.
She resolved resolutely to put him out of her mind. Had he not proved himself unworthy by turning the head of Juanita, whom he could not possibly expect to marry? Was not Manuel in every way worthy of her love? Her finger touched the diamond ring upon her hand. She would keep faith in thought as well as in word and deed.
At last she fell asleep—and dreamed of a blond, gray-eyed youth fighting for his life against a swarm of attacking Mexicans.
DICK LIGHTS A CIGARETTE
Gordon met Miss Valdes in the El Tovar dining-room next morning. He was trying at the same time to tell Davis the story of his kidnaping and to eat a large rare steak with French-fried potatoes. The young man had chosen a seat that faced the door. The instant his eyes fell upon her he gave up both the story and the steak. Putting aside his napkin, he rose to meet her.
She had fallen asleep thinking of him, her dreams had been full of his vivid personality, and she had wakened to an eager longing for the sight of his gay, mocking eyes. But she had herself under such good control that nobody could have guessed how fast her heart was beating as her fingers touched his.
“We are glad your adventure is ended, Mr. Gordon, and that it has turned out no worse. Probably Mr. Davis has told you that he and I got our heads together a great many times a day,” she said, a little formally.
“You were mighty good to take so much interest in such a scalawag,” he answered warmly.
The color deepened ever so little in her face. “I couldn’t let my men commit murder under the impression they were doing me a service,” she explained lightly. “There are several things I want to talk over with you. Can you call on me this morning, Mr. Gordon?”
He put the question so forcefully that she smiled and dashed a bucket of cold water over his enthusiasm.