"Don Carlos can count upon one powerful partisan already in Sonora, and there will soon be many. But it is getting late, Don Vicente, and I have yet much business to do before I can go to sleep. You will excuse me, then, if I bid good-night to you." After exchanging the usual buenas noches, the Senator returned to his own chamber and couch, to dream of his future riches and grandeur.
And the girl seeing what he would be at stopped every time, raising the smoky light in each doorway patiently. Meantime she observed him with sustained attention. The last door of all she threw open herself. "You sleep here, senor," she murmured in a voice light like a child's breath, offering him the lamp. "Buenos noches, senorita," he said politely, taking it from her.
The finding of the stocking-footed roan near Noches so soon after the robbery disposed of Healy's lie, though it did not prove that Keller had not been riding it at the time of the holdup. As for Healy, Yeager confessed he saw no way of implicating him. His alibi was just as good as that of any of them.
Without another word, she turned her back on him and went into the store. All night she had lain sleepless and longed for and dreaded the coming of the day. Over the wire from Noches had come at dawn fuller details of the robbery, from her brother Phil, who was spending two or three days in town. It appeared that none of the wounded men would die, though the president had had a narrow escape.
Every spare man was called upon to help comb the hills for the wild steers that ran the wooded water-sheds, as untamed as the deer and the lynx. Even the storekeeper, Benwell, was pressed into the service. 'Rastus and the nester were the only men about the place, the deputy sheriff having been recalled to Noches on the collapse of Healy's story.
The strangers had been making their way along a lower level of the terraced plain, hidden by the grain, not twenty yards away, and parallel with the road they were now ascending to join. Their figures were alike formless in long striped serapes, and their features undistinguishable under stiff black sombreros. "Buenas noches, senor," said the second voice, in formal and cautious deliberation.
Posses had been out all night, and a fresh one was just starting from Noches. It was generally believed, however, that the bandits would be able to make good their escape with the loot. Her father was absent, making a round of his sheep camps, and would not be back for a week. Hence her hands were very full with the store and the ranch.
They gave the bronchs a good scare, and started them into the hills, knowing they would find their way back home all right in a couple of days. At Willow Creek they found hawsses waiting for them, and Mr. Spiker hit the back trail for Noches, with his car, and slid into town while everybody was busy about the robbery." "Sure. That would be the way of it," his friend nodded.
Other charges also lay against the hill outlaws. A stage had been robbed with a gold shipment from the Diamond Nugget mine. A cattleman had been held up and relieved of two thousand dollars, just taken as part payment for a sale of beef steers. The sheriff of Noches County, while trying to arrest a rustler, had been shot dead in his tracks.
I always thought I'd marry a lord or a rich gentleman coming with a private yacht. Buenas noches, señorita. El hombre ama la muchacha hermosa. Why me? Because you were so foreign from the others. Better not stick here all night like a limpet. This weather makes you dull. Must be getting on for nine by the light. Go home. Too late for Leah, Lily of Killarney. No. Might be still up.