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Chapter 20

  • “What!” In the language of the good old romances, Seyd roared the word.
  • In the main, Paulo was not a bad old chap. To further the interests of _arcia he would cheerfully have surrendered his old bones to be boiled in oil,
  • and in his joy at the event he allowed his natural garrulity to dominate hi_rejudice against the gringo.
  • “ _Si_ , señor, they were married at the hacienda by the priest of Chilpancin.
  • On account of the death of Don Sebastien’s mother Don Luis and the señora onl_ere present, and immediately afterward the young couple went home alone to E_uiss. A sensible practice, say I! When young hot blood mixes it should b_eft to cool and settle. Over there at El Quiss the fur will be flying befor_he end of a week, and put me down as a liar if Francesca do not keep hi_usy. She has run too long single not to kick at double harness. But she’l_ettle to it, and like the fine wench she is, there is to be no Europea_ravel or such kickshaws as now are common with our rich young folk. No, i_he good old Mexican fashion she goes from the church straight to her man’_ome, there to stay till the first babe makes us all completely happy.”
  • Over and above his real joy in the event the old fellow was undoubtedly awar_f its effect on Seyd. While speaking, his small red eyes searched hi_ictim’s face for the pain beneath its confusion. But even under the spur o_ace hatred his imagination could not divine a tithe of the torture he wa_nflicting. Like all lovers, Seyd had dreamed long moving pictures of himsel_nd Francesca as husband and wife, and now, with the speed of light, the reel_pun backward, exhibiting her with another in the thousand and one intimacie_f married life. Through all, his stiff Anglo-Saxon reserve persisted, and,
  • finding egress at his heels, the pain that he tried to hide brought th_ituation to a ludicrous close. Springing from the unconscious pressure of hi_purs, his horse, a mettled little beast, collided with Paulo and knocked hi_lat on his back.
  • More hurt in his pride than body, the old fellow scrambled up and stoo_haking his fist and cursing. But Seyd rode on without attempt to check th_nimal, whose top speed ran slower than his own hot thought. Indeed, when,
  • from sheer fatigue, it slowed he laid on with quirt and spur, and kept on at _allop till violent exercise had withdrawn the blood from his swelling brain.
  • In place of pulsing waves of confused pain came the tortures of clear thought.
  • In turn he was ruled by anger, despair, unbelief. The thought of Francesca a_e had seen her on the train, quiet, lovely, sympathetic, inspired the last.
  • It was not possible! Then up would rise the blank ink scores round the divorc_otice to provide the motive and plunge him back into deep despair. Lastl_ame anger, blind and unreasoning, in furious gusts.
  • Occasionally through his welter of feeling there flashed a glimmer of reason.
  • “She’s married now! She’s married! That ends it—for you!” But instead o_espair the thought produced furious reactions. “I don’t care! She’s mine!
  • I’ll have her—I have to take her by force!” It rose again and again, his cr_n the trail of the other day.
  • By instinct rather than conscious thought he had turned his horse into a pat_hich presently curved at a sharp angle into one that led from San Nicolas u_o the rim of the Barranca where at this season ran the only passable trail.
  • At the forks he came on the fresh tracks of shod horses that led up the zigza_taircases.
  • Overlapping each other on the narrow trail, they might have been made by tw_r a half dozen, and not until he saw two sets clearly imprinted side by sid_rossing a small plateau did he think of the riders. If proof were required i_as presently furnished by the little handkerchief that hung, fluttering i_he rain and wind, on a “crucifixion thorn.”
  • As, reining in, he examined the corner initial a whiff of violets rose in hi_ostrils. Under the sudden crush of his hand it shed a rain of tears.
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