As though he had heard his name spoken, the ubiquitous Pedro ambled in, slowly, and with a bored expression upon his ugly countenance.
“Azcooze, my general,” he said. His chief turned. “It is ze damn ranger. Zey is after us some more.”
Lopez never turned a hair. Lucia heard him say: “It is time. I was agspectin’ zem. Ze ’osses?”
“Zey are ready,” Pedro informed him.
Pancho paused and considered a moment. “Zey come from ze souse, zose rangers?”
“Si,” was the quick answer.
Lopez rose. “Felipe Aguilaw becomes more hefficient hevery day. I shall make general of ’im yet. Bueno, we go.”
“Red” had gone over and looked out of the window. Twilight had definitely come, and the sky was a great sheet of flame. Orange, pink, purple, and red, the clouds shifted over the face of the dying sun. A king going down to his death could not have passed in greater glory. While men and women fought their little battles, waged their puny quarrels, this stately miracle occurred once more. Unmindful of the grief of mortals, the day was about to pass into the arms of the waiting night.
“What’s it all about?” “Red” asked, turning from the wonderful scene without to the frightened people within.
“It is ze ranger what chase me some more again,” smiled Lopez. He seemed wholly unconcerned.
“Texas rangers after you?” asked “Red,” startled.
“Si!” laughed Lopez.
“And you don’t even get excited?”
“For why? It is not my habit. I give not a damn for any man.” He snapped his fingers, as though at life itself.
Two horses could be seen through the door. The men were bringing them up to their leader. “We should take our time—is no hurry.” He took his big sombrero from the peg where he had put it long ago, and turned to Gilbert. “Well, I go now. Adios, my frand.”
“Wait a minute,” the other tried to detain him. “You’ve killed him. You wouldn’t go and leave things this way, would you?”
“As I say, no trouble for me,” Lopez boyishly said, and smiled, shrugging his broad shoulders.
Gilbert was astonished. “Yes; but how about me?” he wanted to know, “You do not think of that.”
The bandit turned, amazed. “What ze matter? Are you not satisfied? You all what you say: zit—zot—zet!” He pinched his fingers, and made a funny little noise.
“I can’t think,” said Gilbert, sitting down, one hand on his forehead. “It’s all so strange, so confusing to me. The world seems to be rocking beneath my feet. What does it all mean—this life we live for so brief a time? What does anything mean?”
Lopez came over to him and put his hand on his shoulder affectionately. “You Americanos so queer,” he said, “For why you waste time thinking? Are you not rich? ’Ave you not ze beautiful lady to love like ’ell yourself personal?”