But nothing happened. Lopez looked at the cook, and said casually to Pedro:
“Not till after dinner,” and puffed his cigarette.
“Despues de la comida,” said Pedro.
“I will make for you!” cried the wretched cook, opening his eyes, and so relieved to be still alive that he could scarcely articulate.
“Pronto,” ordered Lopez.
“Si, Madre di Dios!” cried the cook; and fled to his kitchen, tumbling over himself in his eagerness to get a meal for the bandit.
There was a pause. What would Lopez do next? Kill them all? In Spanish he began, turning to Lucia:
“Santa Maria—You come here.”
Angela stepped forward.
“You mean me?” she asked, sweetly.
“No!” came the gruff voice of Lopez. “You!” pointing to the frightened Lucia.
“Why do you want me?” she asked, moving slightly toward him.
“I would look at you,” the bandit replied. He was appraising her already. “Turn around.” She obeyed, like an automaton, “’Ow old are you?”
She would not lie. “Twenty-four,” she answered.
“Ees pretty old,” laughed Lopez. “Let me see your teeth.”
“My teeth!” echoed Lucia. Did he take her for a horse?
Lopez merely nodded; and, with all the self-control she could bring to her aid, she opened her mouth and showed her wonderful teeth.
“Si,” remarked Lopez, evidently pleased at the sight. “An’ now, ’ow much weigh?”
“I don’t know exactly,” Lucia said.
“What’s your name?” the bandit went on.
“Lucia.” “Lucia!” he rolled the name over on his tongue, and smiled. “Lucia!” he repeated. “Ees nice name.” Then, “Come ’ere. Come ’ere!” He did not wait for her to move this time. He put out his hand and drew her close to him. “I would see more of you,” he told her. And, to her amazement and horror, he lifted her skirt delicately, almost tenderly. Her womanhood revolted at his action. This barbarian! She slapped his hand. But Lopez paid no more attention to the blow than if a child had struck him. “Not bad,” he went on, indifferently, referring to her well-turned ankle. “’Ow you like to go wiz me to Mexico? Well?” when she did not answer. “You ’eard what I said.”
That she should be insulted thus! “But—oh, I couldn’t do that!” she cried out, in terror.
“Why not?” Lopez demanded.
“Well, we will not take ze ‘usband! Just you an’ me. We go to ze bull-fight. I rob ze jewelry store for you. We get plenty dronk.” She shuddered. “Sure! I show you ’ell of a good time. Well, ’ow you say?” He glared at her, almost winked, smiled, and let a ring of smoke curl upward.
Lucia turned away, ashamed, mortified. “I never heard of such a thing!” she cried. Lopez laughed. “Deedn’t nobody ever offer you good time before?”
“Not like this.” Lucia thought if he didn’t stop soon, she would shriek.