Lucia could say nothing. What was there to say? Suddenly Uncle Henry’s sharp voice was heard: “I’ll tell you why!”
Lopez turned to him. “And why?”
“She ain’t got no money,” Uncle Henry informed the room.
Lucia lifted her face. “Oh, do you think that would make any difference?”
“So!” Lopez was interested, “’Er ’usband? ’E ’as money?”
“He’s richer’n mud,” Uncle Henry declared.
Pell started to speak; but Pedro stopped him by lifting his gun.
“How much?” Lopez asked, not noticing.
Uncle Henry was bursting with information. “He’s worth millions, the big bum!”
The bandit’s eyes opened wide. “Millions!” he repeated. He looked at Lucia. “Yet ’e give nozzing to ze wife. H’m! Senora, tell me.... Does a widow in your country get any of ’er ’usband’s money when ’e dies?”
Pell, listening intently, drew a sharp breath. He caught the significance of the question. His lips contracted. This damned bandit was capable of anything.
Lopez paid no attention to him. He asked for enlightenment from Hardy. “Senor Loan Fish, do you know?”
Pell ventured to get out part of a sentence. “Say, what the ...” But Pedro’s active gun came against his ribs, and he paused, as who would not?
“She gets it all—the wife,” Hardy told Lopez. “That is, if the husband hasn’t made a will.”
“’Ave you?” the bandit turned on Pell. “’Ave you made a will?” His tone was incisive. “Do not lie.”
“No, damn you!” Pell in his rage cried out. “But I’m going to, the first min—”
“Good!” smiled Lopez.
Pell was puzzled, “What do you mean ... good?”
Lopez did not answer him; instead, he addressed Lucia: “Senora, your ’usband ’e is bad frand for you. ’E beat you, sometimes?”
Lucia was startled. “Why do you think that?” she asked.
“I ’ave known ladies what are beaten. It is in ze eyes ... as in dogs and ’orses.” He waited a second before he went on, came close to her, and peered earnestly into her eyes. “Si, I sink your ’usband a evil man.” He turned on Pell again. “Say, who are you? Your business, I mean?”
“I’m in Wall Street,” Pell said, in a low voice. What in God’s name was this bandit going to do? What was his game?
“Wall Street? ’Aven’t you never done anything honest? You go to ze war, per’aps, like my frand, Senor Jones?”
“I was in Washington,” Pell winced. “A dollar-a-year man.”
“You use your money, your power, to escape ze war? So! You are not only a skindler, but a coward. While my frand fight, you stay to home, to torture ze woman, H’m! I see it all now. Nice boy, you!”
Pell could scarcely articulate now, but he managed to get out, “By God, I’ve had enough of this—just about enough!”
Lopez looked at him coldly, a glint in his eye that should have warned Pell. “Do not worry,” he said. “You are about through.” He turned to his friend, Gilbert. “And now, my frand, you shall go.” Young Jones did not understand him.