“Perhaps I’d better. And now”—Alaire extended her hand—“won’t you and Montrosa come to see me once in a while? I’m very lonesome.”
“We’d love to,” Dave declared. He had it on his lips to say more, but at that moment an eager whinny and an impatient rattle of a bridle-bit came from the driveway, and he smiled. “There’s her acceptance now.”
“Oh no! She merely heard your voice, the fickle creature.”
Alaire watched her guest until be had disappeared into the shadows, then she heard him talking to the mare. Benito’s words at the rodeo recurred to her, and she wondered if this Ranger might not also have a way with women.
The house was very still and empty when she re-entered it.
THE GUZMAN INCIDENT
Ricardo Guzman did not return from Romero. When two days had passed with no word from him, his sons became alarmed and started an investigation, but without the slightest result. Even Colonel Blanco himself could not hazard a guess as to Guzman’s fate; the man had disappeared, it seemed, completely and mysteriously. Meanwhile, from other quarters of the Mexican town came rumors that set the border afire.
Readers of this story may remember the famous “Guzman incident,” so called, and the complications that resulted from it, for at the time it raised a storm of indignation as the crowning atrocity of the Mexican revolution, serving further to disturb the troubled waters of diplomacy and threatening for a moment to upset the precariously balanced relations of the two countries.
At first the facts appeared plain: a citizen of the United States had been lured across the border and done to death by Mexican soldiers—for it soon became evident that Ricardo was dead. The outrage was a casus belli such as no self-respecting people could ignore; so ran the popular verdict. Then when that ominous mailed serpent which lay coiled along the Rio Grande stirred itself, warlike Americans prepared themselves to hear of big events.
A motive for Ricardo Guzman’s murder was not lacking, for it was generally known that President Potosi had long resented Yankee enmity, particularly as that enmity was directed at him personally. A succession of irritating diplomatic skirmishes, an unsatisfactory series of verbal sparring matches, had roused the old Indian’s anger, and it was considered likely that he had adopted this means of permanently severing his relations with Washington.
Of course, the people of Texas were delighted that the long-delayed hour had struck; accordingly, when the State Department seemed strangely loath to investigate the matter, when, in fact, it manifested a willingness to allow Don Ricardo ample time in which to come to life in preference to putting a further strain upon international relations, they were both surprised and enraged. Telegraph wires began to buzz; the governor of the state sent a crisply sarcastic message to the national capital, offering to despatch a company of Rangers after Guzman’s body just to prove that he was indeed dead and that the Mexican authorities were lying when they professed ignorance of the fact.