While seeking permission to dress the wound I had received, chance conducted him to a place where he could overhear a conversation that was being carried on between Uraga and one of his lieutenants a ruffian named Roblez, fit associate for his superior. They were in high glee over what had happened, carousing, and in their cups not very cautious of what they said.

Those belonging to Uraga are nearer to the hand of Hamersley having been left upon the saddle which the colonel, in his hasty retreat, had been hindered from occupying. "Carajo!" exclaims Roblez, "there's but one of them after us. The others haven't had time to get mounted, and won't be up for a while. It's some rash fool who's got your horse under him. Let's turn upon him, colonel."

On arriving at its edge, which they do before their followers, Uraga and Roblez see the tracks of the two mules. Not without surprise, and they exchange some words regarding them. But the fast-darkening sky drives the subject out of their thoughts, and they occupy themselves in choosing a spot for pitching the tents.

The horse snorted, and shied back; but the ponderous Mexican spur, with its long sharp rowel-points, soon drove him in; whither he was followed by the mustang of Roblez and the mules the latter going in as unconcernedly as if entering a stable whose stalls were familiar to them.

We've let it go late enough, anyhow, and mustn't delay here any longer. Look well to your mules, mozos! Vamonos!" At the word all started together down the gorge, the speaker, as before, leading the way, Roblez next, and the mozos with their laden mules stringing out in the rear.

You've got a thick skull, teniente; and would be a bad counsellor in any case requiring skilful management. This is one of the kind, and needs the most delicate manipulation." "How so?" "For several reasons. Remember, Roblez, we're not now acting with the Horned Lizard and his painted freebooters. Our fellows here have eyes in their heads, and tongues behind their teeth.

He's one of my muleteers I'd sent as a messenger to the Tenawa town. He returns to tell me there's no Horned Lizard in existence, and only a remnant of his tribe. Himself, with the best of his braves, has gone to the happy hunting grounds; not voluntarily, but sent thither by a party of Tejanos who fell foul of them on a foray." "That's a strange tale," rejoins Roblez, adding, "And Barbato?"

Much as I hate Miranda and wish him out of the way, I don't desire to imbrue my hands in his blood; don't intend to, as I've already hinted to you." Roblez turns upon his superior officer a look of incredulous surprise, interrogating, "You mean to take him back, and let him be tried in the regular way?" "I mean nothing of the kind."

More likely we shall see them gallop off at the first whoop of the Indian assailants. You and I, Roblez, will have to do the same; but, as gallant gentlemen, we must take the women along with us. To abandon them to the mercy of the savages, without making an effort to save them, were absolute poltroonery, and would never bear reporting in the settlements.

The adjutant is a safe target on which to expend the arrows of his spleen, and to soothe his perturbed spirit he gives vent to it. In time, however, he gets somewhat reconciled; the sooner by gulping down two or three glasses of Catalan brandy. Along with the liquor, smoking, as if angry at his cigar, and consuming it through sheer spite, Roblez endeavours to soothe him by consolative speech.