Lopez turned and gave him a searching look. A light seemed to come into the bandit’s countenance. It was as if someone had put a lantern behind his face.
“You!” he cried, enraptured. “You ze nephew zat owns zis ranch?”
Gilbert came farther into the room. Everyone now had turned back, stood stock still, listening to these two.
“Yes,” said young Jones. “I am. What of it?” He didn’t understand matters at all. Absent from the house for a little time, he had been called back to find this medley of people.
Lopez searched his face again. “Tell me you ’ave been in Canon Diabalo sometime? ’Ave you?”
“Of course. What of it?” Gilbert was mystified.
“You were there one night, three, mebbe four year ago?” Lopez persisted, hoping there could be no mistake.
“I don’t remember,” was the disappointing answer.
“You remember poor peon was wounded—near bleed to death?”
“What?” said Gilbert, light beginning to dawn upon him.
“You do!” shouted Lopez, delighted. “Where was ’e wounded? Quick! You tell!”
“Shot through the shoulder,” Gilbert answered promptly.
“It is you! Don’t you know me?” He faced him squarely, threw back his shoulders, and waited, breathless, for his look of recognition.
Gilbert studied his face. An instant of doubt,
and then, “Why, you’re
Pancho Lopez!” he said.
The bandit was overjoyed. “I am! But don’t you recognize who is ze Pancho Lopez what I am? Look close! Ze clothes, no! Ze face!”
“Good Lord!” was all Gilbert could utter.
“Now you know me?”
“You’re the man I found wounded that night!”
“And whose life you save!” Lopez added.
“Well, what do you know about that!” young Jones shouted. He was as surprised and happy as the bandit himself. This man, whom he never thought to see again in his whole life was standing here, in his own adobe.
“Now you know me!” Pancho went on. “Ah! my frand! ’Ow glad I am for to see you some more! Pedro! Venustiano! Ees my friend! Sabbe! Orders like my own! Serve ’im as you would me!” He went to Gilbert and frankly embraced him in the Latin fashion. “Eet’s ’ell of a good thing I reckernize you!” he laughed, hugging his old friend close. He could never forget his kindness that night so many years ago; and to think he had run across his deliverer now!
Everyone was relieved. Their troubles would now be ended.
“And you ain’t going to rob him, after all?” Uncle Henry piped up.
“Rob ’im? Rob my frand?” Lopez repeated.
“Ain’t you?” Uncle Henry cried.
The bandit looked at him, wonder in his eyes. “No! Ciertamente no!”
“Hooray!” the old man yelled, and would have risen in his chair could he have done so.
“Say, who the ’ell is that?” said Lopez, addressing himself to Gilbert.