“Keep your hands off, I tell you. Hello! Is that you, Tad?” Again Austin thrust his wife violently aside. “Listen! I’ve just learned that Dave Law and old man Jones have crossed over to dig up Ricardo’s body. Yes, to-night! They’re over there now—be back inside of an hour.”
Alaire leaned weakly against the table, her frightened eyes fixed upon the speaker. Even yet she could not fully grasp the meaning of her husband’s behavior and tried to put aside those fears that were distracting her. Perhaps, after all, she told herself, Ed was taking his own way to—
“Yes! They aim to discover how he was killed and all about it. Sure! I suppose they found out where he was buried. They crossed at my pumping-plant, and they’ll be back with the body to-night, if they haven’t already—” The speaker’s voice broke, his hand was shaking so that he could scarcely retain his hold upon the telephone. “How the hell do I know?” he chattered. “It’s up to you. You’ve got a machine—”
“Ed!” cried the wife. She went toward him on weak, unsteady feet, but she halted as the voice of Longorio cut in sharply:
“What’s this I hear? Ricardo Guzman’s body?” Husband and wife turned. The open double-door to the living-room framed the tall figure of the Mexican general.
Longorio stared first at the huddled, perspiring man beside the telephone and then at the frightened woman. “Is that the truth?” he demanded, harshly.
“Yes,” Austin answered. “They are bringing the body to this side. You know what that means.”
“Did you know this?” The general turned upon Alaire. Of the four he was the least excited.
From the background Paloma quavered: “You told us Ricardo was not dead, so—it is all right. There is no—harm done.”
A brief silence ensued, then Longorio shrugged. “Who knows? Let us hope that he suffered no harm on Mexican soil. That would be serious, indeed; yes, very serious, for I have given my word to your government. This—David Law—” he pronounced the name carefully, but with a strange, foreign accent—“he is a reckless person to defy the border regulations. It is a grave matter to invade foreign territory on such a mission.” Longorio again bent his brilliant eyes upon Alaire. “I see that you are concerned for his safety. You would not desire him to come to trouble, eh? He has done you favors; he is your friend, as I am. Well”—a mirthless smile exposed his splendid white teeth—“we must think of that. Now I will bid you good night.”
“Where are you going?” demanded Miss Jones.
“To the river, and then to Romero. I may be needed, for those men of mine are stupid fellows and there is danger of a misunderstanding. In the dark anything may happen. I should like to meet this David Law; he is a man of my own kind.” Turning to “Young Ed,” he said: “There is reason for haste, and a horse moves slowly. Would you do me the favor, if you have an automobile—”