They watched it, the diminution continued, and presently its bed remained bare and dry, with the exception of a slight trickling, which each moment lessened. At the same instant, Paco and El Tuerto re-appeared on the summit of the precipice, and began to descend the water-course.
"'Ah! upon my word! Are you my rom, pray that you give me orders? If El Tuerto is pleased, what have you to do with it? Oughtn't you to be very happy that you are the only man who can call himself my minchorro?* * My "lover," or rather my "fancy." "'What does he say? inquired the Englishman.
The Mochuelo rode along the flank of the little column, which in dead silence, and with rapid steps, followed El Tuerto, who, with Paco and Velasquez, marched at its head.
"'Hark! she said, 'this is gipsy business. 'We shall pass by a particular spot which I shall make known to you. Then you must fall upon him and strip him to the skin. Your best plan would be to do for him, but, she added, with a certain fiendish smile of hers, which no one who saw it ever had any desire to imitate, 'do you know what you had better do? Let El Tuerto come up in front of you.
The gates had been taken out and concealed amongst the brushwood, where Paco and El Tuerto had found them, and, by forcing them down the grooves, had stopped the waterfall.
There was also a red fiery-faced individual, with a nose very much turned on one side, who was the blacksmith of the village, and was called in general El Tuerto, from the circumstance of his having but one eye. Making the assembly a low bow, I pulled out my passport, and thus addressed them:
These fond hopes were changed to gloomy foreboding only a few weeks after Huerta's assumption of the presidency, when he was seen to surround himself with notorious wasters of all kinds, and when he was seen to fall into Madero's old error of extending the "glad hand" to unrepentant rebels and bandits like Orozco, Cheche Campos, Tuerto Morales, and Salgado.
It seemed probable, from the appearance of the platform, that it had been unvisited, certainly unfrequented, since the dissolution of the honourable society to which El Tuerto had belonged. The grass was long and untrodden; no woodman's axe had been busy with the trees; save foxes and birds, no living creature had left traces of its presence.
This city fell into the hands of Tarik el Tuerto in his conquering progress through the realm of Spain, and the emerald table, whose fame had reached the shores of Africa, was sought by him far and near. It had disappeared from the church, perhaps carried off by the bishop in his flight.
They did sustain it, however; and, thanks to that circumstance, to the darkness, and to the skilful guidance of El Tuerto, to whom each tree and rock of that wild district was familiar, the Mochuelo's predictions were but partially realized.