“Give me a gun, too!” the fool prayed.
“Give you a gun! Pedro!” The man had evidently been just outside the door, and came in at once. “Pedro, you ’ear?” And Pedro grinned.
“Yes! Give me a chance!”
“I shall never understand ze American idea. I give you a gun, you say?”
“Yes! That’s the least you can do!” Pell was weeping now.
“But if I should give you a gun, you might shoot me wiz it!” Lopez laughed.
“I am no damn fool!” the bandit cried. And he deliberately raised his gun again.
“You’re not going to kill me? No! for the love of God, don’t!” He plunged forward, groveling at Lopez’s feet. A woman in a melodrama could not have begged harder for mercy. “Spare me!” were the words that fell from his pitiful lips. “For God’s sake, spare me! I’ll do anything! Go anywhere! He can have her! You can have her! Her, and all the money I’ve got, if only you’ll spare my life!”
The bandit looked down in utter disgust at the cringing form. Never had he seen anything in the world that he detested more. Pell’s fingers were on the bandit’s boots.
“I did not know zat even a dog could be so yellow,” he said. Then he turned to Pedro. “I do not ’unt rabbits. You kill ’im, Pedro.” And he would not look again on the miserable specimen of a man that wallowed there on the floor.
“Ah! for the love of God!” came from Pell, who had half risen. At that instant Pedro shot from his hip at the debased creature. The form stiffened and collapsed like a bag, falling partially under the table.
“It is a good deed,” said Lopez, turning. “He was evil man.”
The shot had been heard without. “Red,” Gilbert, Hardy, and a few Mexicans rushed in at the sound.
“Who shot?” cried the former.
“Pedro,” said Lopez.
“But what was he shooting at?” “Red” asked.
Lopez smiled. “Only ze ’usband.”
“What!” cried “Red.” He turned and saw the body of Pell lying sprawled on the floor, and horror came over him. “You’ve killed him!” His voice was husky.
“I ’ave. Most enjoyishly!” said Lopez, lighting a cigarette.
Gilbert went over and stared down at the mute frame. “He’s dead,” he announced. “Completely. Pedro never misses,” was the bandit’s only comment.
“But to kill a man—like that! In cold blood!” Hardy gasped. “Oh, it’s horrible!”
“Why not?” Lopez wanted to know. “Ze skindler, ze coward what beat his wife. Was evil man.” What white-livered folk these Americans were!
Gilbert looked down at Pell’s body, which had now, in death, a certain curious dignity. “But don’t you see what you’ve done?”
Lopez looked at him in bland amazement. “You wouldn’t still fool around wiz ze foolish law, ze silly court?” he inquired. “Do you not see ’ow much better is my way? One hour ago you ’ave no money, no rancho, no woman. One little hour! Ze money she is paid, ze rancho she is yours, and ze woman what you want to marry is free for do so!” He looked Gilbert in the eyes, and came close to him. “Tell me, ’ave I not keep my promise? ’Ave I not make you, in one little hour, a ’appy man?”