“Go?” he asked. “What do you mean?”
Lopez looked at him calmly, “I ’ave much business to do. You shall not ’ear, nor see, because for you is love, romance! Not business, which are soddid. Leave all zat for me, which am a business man.” He smiled upon Lucia. “As I said, life ’as been unkind to you, senora. Ze silly law ... ze foolish custom ... ’ave been around your ’eart, around your soul, like chains. But fear no more,” he assured her. “For I, your frand, shall make you also ’appy.” He put his arm around her.
She was fearful of his plans. “What are you going to do?” she cried.
Lopez laughed. “Wait and see. Life shall be yours. And love! Planty money! All what your ’eart desire. Now go....”
Pedro started to show them out the door. Gilbert, seeing the movement, said:
“But I don’t understand ...”
“I shall call you soon,” Lopez said. “Zen you shall see. Now go.” He got between them, and affectionately directed them to the door.
Gilbert turned to him. “You aren’t going to ...”
The bandit smiled. “Do not worry. I shall do no ’arm. Only good. Please go, my frand.”
Lucia and Gilbert, deeply puzzled, obeyed, and followed Pedro into the open air. What did this portend? There had been a strange look in the eyes of Pancho Lopez.
WHEREIN A MAN PROVES HIMSELF A CRAVEN, A SHOT RINGS OUT, AND THE BAD MAN EXPLAINS ONE LITTLE HOUR
A heavy silence fell upon the men who were left in the room. The bandit, unconcerned, puffed his cigarette. Hardy and Pell felt like rats in a trap. Only Uncle Henry was passive. In the tense stillness, the clock could be heard ticking on and on. Pell was beginning to crack beneath the strain. Suddenly he began to pace the floor, his hands behind his back. No tiger in a cage was ever more impatient in his captivity.
“If you want money,” he finally got out, “for heaven’s sake, tell me how much, and ...”
Lopez quickly interrupted him. His fury boiled over at the insinuation. “Be still!” he cried. “You will please be quiet. I ’ave business to sink out which are ’ard.”
Pell was equally angry. “Why, damn you ...” he sputtered.
He should have known better. Coldly Lopez took him in. “I ’ave been patient wiz you—too patient. I see zat now.” The other returned his keen gaze, and for an instant he did not quail; but finally he could stand the strain no longer. His eyes fell away, and for the first time in all their bitter encounter he felt himself sinking. A terrible uncertainty came over him. This Mexican, this beast, was going to do something desperate. There was not the shadow of a doubt about that. He must go carefully: he must not lose his self-control. To do so would be madness.
Luckily, Uncle Henry broke the tension just then: “Am I going to get my money back?” he cried out. And his chair projected itself into their midst.