“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from sheer fatigue, it slowed he laid on with quirt and spur, and kept on at _allop till violent exercise had withdrawn the blood from his swelling brain.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.