him, Ido not believe that they were ever placed in his
Their hands locked for a moment, and they sat down again with heads close over the table.
"Listen," began Thorne, in low, swift whisper, "a few days, a week ago--it seems like a year!--I was of some assistance to refugees fleeing from Mexico into the States. They were all women, and one of them was dressed as a nun. Quite by accident I saw her face. It was that of a beautiful girl. I observed she kept aloof from the others. I suspected a disguise, and, when opportunity afforded, spoke to her, offered my services. She replied to my poor efforts at Spanish in fluent English. She had fled in terror from her home, some place down in Sinaloa. Rebels are active there. Her father was captured and held for ransom. When the ransom was paid the rebels killed him.. the leader of these rebels was a bandit named Rojas. Long before the revolution began he had been feared by people of class--loved by the peons. Bandits are worshiped by the peons. All of the famous bandits have robbed the rich and given to the poor. Rojas saw the daughter, made off with her. But she contrived to bribe her guards, and escaped almost immediately before any harm befell her. She hid among friends. Rojas nearly tore down the town in his efforts to find her. Then she disguised herself, and traveled by horseback, stage, and train to Casita.
"Her story fascinated me, and that one fleeting glimpse I had of her face I couldn't forget. She had no friends here, no money. She knew Rojas was trailing her. This talk I had with her was at the railroad station, where all was bustle and confusion. No one noticed us, so I thought. I advised her to remove the disguise of a nun before she left the waiting-room. And I got a boy to guide her. But he fetched her to his house. I had promised to come in the evening to talk over the situation with her.
"I found her, Dick, and when I saw her--I went stark, staring, raving mad over her. She is the most beautiful, wonderful girl I ever saw. Her name is Mercedes Castaneda, and she belongs to one of the old wealthy Spanish families. She has lived abroad and in Havana. She speaks French as well as English. She is--but I must be brief.
"Dick, think, think! With Mercedes also it was love at first sight. My plan is to marry her and get her farther to the interior, away from the border. It may not be easy. She's watched. So am I. It was impossible to see her without the women of this house knowing. At first, perhaps, they had only curiosity--an itch to gossip. But the last two days there has been a change. Since last night there's some powerful influence at work. Oh, these Mexicans are subtle, mysterious! After all, they are Spaniards. They work in secret, in the dark. They are dominated first by religion, then by gold, then by passion for a woman. Rojas must have got word to his friends here; yesterday his gang of cutthroat rebels arrived, and to-day he came. When I learned that, I took my chance and left camp I hunted up a priest. He promised to come here. It's time he's due. But I'm afraid he'll be stopped."
"Thorne, why don't you take the girl and get married without waiting, without running these risks?" said Dick.
"I fear it's too late now. I should have done that last night. You see, we're over the line--"
"Are we in Mexican territory now?" queried Gale, sharply.
- in an iron sluice gate. The Eurasian had passed it, but
- and trembled each time he heard his father’s voice calling
- and he was not strong enough for his surroundings; I doubt
- the misconduct of his son. Theobald was the bravest man
- Indian family, who had come to trade in a canoe from Caylen,
- forgotten them as fast as he had learned them; now, however,
- to pull him about, if this should seem desirable, or if
- what thou canst get whiles thou canst get it; as for Master
- man more common interests than the cultured guests of Bwana
- of hundred years afterwards. Of course he knew they were
- the direction of Battersby which Theobald and Christina
- you to have no concealment from him, and to tell him everything
- event in this quiet retired corner of the world; and nearly
- “’He said that at first — as women of that stamp
- lamb as soon as she began to speak and before she could
- or thought he knew. He was examined, re-examined, cross-examined,
- resting the electric lamp upon one of the little ebony
- probably it was better he should tell his father, than
- So he hung his head and looked sheepish, but kept his own
- easy to get out of again. Here she could get at him better
- He ducked rapidly, almost touching the muddy water with
- on “The dogs of the monks of St. Bernard,” and when
- it had been in the past, and the ever-watchful eye and
- describe them, as the life of a quiet, steady-going undergraduate
- man more common interests than the cultured guests of Bwana
- though a good deal exercised in mind as to what he ought
- Ernest’s heart failed him. “I am a dead boy now,”
- heroic as to come close round again to cowardice; for it
- in which they are here mentioned, expressing their respective
- school, between the hours of a quarter to nine and nine
- act as if you were your own master; your poor aunt doubtless
- the snail draw them in again — but she knew that when
- either a watch or a clock; and an old man who was supposed
- which were improving spectacles. She could fancy the whole
- changed the names. One cross in each square was to indicate
- The boy went mechanically to the sofa. Whenever his mother
- damp freshness in the air of the passage, and a sort of
- than he commonly preached, upon the horrors of the Inquisition.
- should extend over two half years. He would therefore have
- her all your pocket-money, your knife, and your watch.
- wall. He staggered down again; his remarkable physical
- By degrees, however, the boys grew bolder, and the shops,
- became a not unpopular member of the best set of his year,
- was preying upon his mind. Then the idea returned to her
- the light upon them. They led upward. He mounted cautiously,
- dress, to allow him by any possibility to trust her further.
- to say that the greater number of the more promising boys
- made a special journey to Roughborough before the half
- said that his boys were resting and gaining strength after
- Ellen had gone, and this he was happy to believe was not