“We are but approaching our ’ot season.” The speaker’s eyes snapped.
“Oh, I’ll stand the heat all right, and the mosquitoes, too.”
“Eh! Do not be too sure. The mosquito makes a leetle buzzing-but it is well to take warning. If not, behol’, some day you grow ver’ seeck.”
Heretofore Kirk had hated Ramon in a careless, indifferent sort of way, feeling that he owed him a good drubbing, which he would be pleased to administer if ever a fitting time arrived. But now, since he saw that the jackanapes had the audacity to love Gertrudis, his feeling became intense. The girl, of course, was fully alive to the situation, and, although she evidently enjoyed it, she did her best to stand between the two men.
As for Alfarez, he was quick to feel the sudden fierce hostility he had aroused, and it seemed to make him nervous. Moreover, he conceived that he had scored heavily by his last retort, at which Kirk had only smiled. It therefore seemed best to him to withdraw from the conversation (annoyingly conducted in English), and a few moments later he stalked majestically away. This was just what Kirk wanted, and he quickly suggested the balcony. But Gertrudis was obstinate.
“I must remain with my father,” she said.
“May I sit beside you, then? I’ve been thinking of a lot of things to say. I always think of bully remarks when it’s too late. Now I’ve forgotten them. Do you know, I’m going to nestle up to your father and make him like me?”
“Again you are speaking of that subject. I have known you but an hour, and you talk of nothing but my father, of me, of coming to call.”
“Well, I can’t think of anything else.”
“You are too bold. Spanish fathers do not like such young men. But to hear me talk!” She flushed slightly. “I have lost all modesty to speak of those things. You force me to embarrass myself.”
“I was an instantaneous success with Miss Torres’ father. He was ready to send a dray for my trunks.”
“Let us discuss other things.”
“I haven’t the strength. You once spoke of a chap your people had picked out. It isn’t-Alfarez?”
She let her dark eyes rest upon his a moment, and his senses swam. Then she nodded slowly.
“You do not like him?”
“Just like a nose-bleed. The day you and I are married I’m going to send him a wreath of poison ivy.”
“It pleases you always to joke.”
“No joke about that. You won’t give in, will you?”
“There is no question of force nor of surrender, senor. I insist now that we shall speak of other things.”
A few moments later he was constrained to rejoin his hostess’ party.
“When are you going back to Las Savannas?” he asked, as he reluctantly arose.
“The hunting ought to be good-”