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Adore Has Only One D








From: Bucky O'connor

After all, adventures are to the adventurous. In this prosaic twentieth
century the Land of Romance still beckons to eager eyes and gallant
hearts. The rutted money-grabber may deny till he is a nerve-racked
counting-machine, but youth, even to the end of time, will laugh to
scorn his pessimism and venture with elastic heel where danger and
mystery offer their dubious hazards.

So it was that Bucky and his little comrade found nothing of dulness
in the mission to which they had devoted themselves. In their task of
winning freedom for the American immured in the Chihuahua dungeon they
already found themselves in the heart of a web of intrigue, the stakes
of which were so high as to carry life and death with them in the
balance. But for them the sun shone brightly. It was enough that they
played the game and shared the risks together. The jocund morning was in
their hearts, and brought with it an augury of success based on nothing
so humdrum or tangible as reason.

O'Connor carried with him to the grim fortress not only his permit for
an inspection, but also a note from O'Halloran that was even more potent
in effect. For Colonel Ferdinand Gabilonda, warden of the prison, had
a shrewd suspicion that a plot was under way to overthrow the unpopular
administration of Megales, and though he was an office-holder under the
present government he had no objection to ingratiating himself with
the opposition, providing it could be done without compromising himself
openly. In other words, the warden was sitting on the fence waiting to
see which way the cat would jump. If the insurgents proved the stronger
party, he meant to throw up his hat and shout "Viva Valdez." On the
other hand, if the government party crushed them he would show himself
fussily active in behalf of Megales. Just now he was exerting all his
diplomacy to maintain a pleasant relationship with both. Since it was
entirely possible that the big Irishman O'Halloran might be the man on
horseback within a very few days, the colonel was all suave words and
honeyed smiles to his friend the ranger.

Indeed he did him the unusual honor of a personally conducted
inspection. Gabilonda was a fat little man, with a soft, purring voice
and a pompous manner. He gushed with the courteous volubility of his
nation, explaining with great gusto this and that detail of the work.
Bucky gave him outwardly a deferent ear, but his alert mind and eyes
were scanning the prisoners they saw. The ranger was trying to find in
one of these scowling, defiant faces some resemblance to the picture his
mind had made of Henderson.

But Bucky looked in vain. If the man he wanted was among these he had
changed beyond recognition. In the end he was forced to ask Gabilonda
plainly if he would not take him to see David Henderson, as he knew a
man in Arizona who was an old friend of his, and he would like to be
able to tell him that he had seen his friend.

Henderson was breaking stone when O'Connor got his first glimpse of him.
He continued to swing his hammer listlessly, without looking up, when
the door opened to let in the warden and his guests. But something in
the ranger's steady gaze drew his eyes. They were dull eyes, and sullen,
but when he saw that Bucky was an American, the fire of intelligence
flashed into them.

"May I speak to him?" asked O'Connor.

"It is against the rules, senor, but if you will be brief--" The colonel
shrugged, and turned his back to them, in order not to see. It must be
said for Gabilonda that his capacity for blinking what he did not think
it judicious to see was enormous.

"You are David Henderson, are you not?" The ranger asked, in a low
voice.

Surprise filtered into the dull eyes. "That was my name," the man
answered bitterly. "I have a number now."

"I come from Webb Mackenzie to get you out of this," the ranger said.

The man's eyes were no longer dull now, but flaming with hatred. "Curse
him, I'll take nothing from his hands. For fifteen years he has let me
rot in hell without lifting a hand for me."

"He thought you dead. It can all be explained. It was only last week
that the mystery of your disappearance was solved."

"Then why didn't he come himself? It was to save his little girl I got
myself into this place. If I had been in his shoes I would have come if
I'd had to crawl on my hands and knees."

"He doesn't know yet you are here. I wrote him simply that I knew where
you were, and then I came at once." Bucky glanced round warily at the
fat colonel gazing placidly out of the barred window. "I mean to
rescue you, and I knew if he were here his impulsiveness would ruin
everything."

"Do you mean it? For God's sake! don't lie to me. If there's no hope
for me, don't say there is." The prisoner's voice shook and his hands
trembled. He was only the husk of the man he had been, but it did
Bucky's heart good to see that the germ of life was still in him. Back
in Arizona, on the Rocking Chair Ranch, with the free winds of the
plains beating on his face, he would pick up again the old strands of
his broken life, would again learn to love the lowing of cattle and the
early morning call of the hooter to his mate.

"I mean it. As sure as I stand here I'll get you out, or, if I don't,
Webb Mackenzie will. We're calling the matter to the attention of the
United States Government, but we are not going to wait till that time to
free you. Keep up your courage, man. It is only for a little time now."

Tears leaped to the prisoner's eyes. He had been a game man in the dead
years that were past, none gamer in Texas, and he could still face his
jailers with an impassive face; but this first kindly word from his
native land in fifteen years to the man buried alive touched the fount
of his emotions. He turned away and leaned against the grating of his
cell, his head resting on his forearm. "My God! man, you don't know what
it means to me. Sometimes I think I shall go mad and rave. After all
these years But I know you'll fail--It's too good to be true," he
finished quietly.

"I'll not fail, though I may be delayed. But I can't say more. Gabilonda
is coming back. Next time I see you it will be to take you out to
freedom. Think of that always, and believe it."

Gabilonda bowed urbanely. "If the senor has seen all he cares to of this
department we will return to the office," he suggested suavely.

"Certainly, colonel. I can't appreciate too much your kindness in
allowing me to study your system so carefully."

"Any friend of my friend the Senor O'Halloran is cherished deeply in my
heart," came back the smiling colonel, with a wave of his plump, soft
hand.

"I am honored, sir, to receive such consideration at the hands of so
distinguished a soldier as Colonel Gabilonda," bowed Bucky gravely, in
his turn, with the most flowery Spanish he could muster.

There was another half-hour of the mutual exchange of compliments before
O'Connor could get away. Alphonse and Gaston were fairly outdone, for
the Arizonian, with a smile hidden deep behind the solemnity of his blue
eyes, gave as good as he got. When he was at last fairly in the safety
of his own rooms he gave way to limp laughter while describing to his
little friend that most ceremonious parting.

"He pressed me to his manly bay window, Curly, and allowed he was plumb
tickled to death to have met me. Says I, coming back equal strong, 'twas
the most glorious day of my life."

"Oh, I know YOU," answered young Hardman, with a smile.

"A friend of his friend O'Halloran--"

"Mr. O'Halloran was here while you were away. He seemed very anxious
to see you; said he would call again in an hour. I think it must be
important."

Came at that instant O'Halloran's ungentle knock, on the heels of which
his red head came through the open door.

"You're the very lad I'm wanting to see, Bucky," he announced, and
followed this declaration by locking all the doors and beckoning him to
the center of the room.

"Is that tough neck of yours aching again, Reddy?" inquired his friend
whimsically.

"It is that, me bye. There's the very divil to pay," he whispered.

"Cough it out, Mike."

"That tyrant Megales is onto our game. Somebody's leaked, or else he has
a spy in our councils--as we have in his, the ould scoundrel."

"I see. Your spy has told you that his spy has reported to him--"

"That the guns are to be brought in to-night. He has sent out a guard
to bring them in safely to him. If he gets them, our game is up, me son,
and you can bet your last nickle on that."

"If he gets them! Is there a chance for us?"

"Glory be! there is. You see, he doesn't know that we know what he has
done. For that reason he sent out only a guard of forty men. If he sent
more we would suspect what he was doing, ye see. That is the way the old
fox reasoned. But forty--they were able to slip out of the city on
last night's train in civilian's clothes and their arms in a couple of
coffins."

"Why didn't he send a couple of hundred men openly, and at the same time
arrest you all?"

"That doesn't suit his book at all. For one thing, he probably doesn't
know all of us, and he doesn't want to bag half of us and throw the rest
into immediate rebellion. It's his play not to force the issue until
after the election, Bucky. He controls all the election machinery and
will have himself declared reelected, the old scamp, notwithstanding
that he's the most unpopular man in the State. To precipitate trouble
now would be just foolishness, he argues. So he'll just capture our
arms, and after the election give me and my friends quiet hell. Nothing
public, you know--just unfortunate assassinations that he will regret
exceedingly, me bye. But I have never yit been assassinated, and, on
principle, I object to being trated so. It's very destructive to a man's
future usefulness."

"And so?" laughed the ranger.

"And so we've arranged to take a few lads up the line and have a train
hold-up. I'm the robber-in-chief. Would ye like to be second in command
of the lawless ruffians, me son?"

Bucky met his twinkling eye gaily. "Mr. O'Connor is debarred from taking
part in such an outrageous affair by international etiquette, but he
knows a gypsy lad would be right glad to join, I reckon."

"Bully for him. If you'll kindly have him here I'll come around and
collect him this evening at eight-thirty sharp."

"I hope you'll provide a pleasant entertainment for him."

"We'll do our best," grinned the revolutionist. "Music provided by
Megales' crack military band. A lively and enjoyable occasion guaranteed
to all who attend. Your friend will meet some of the smartest officers
in the State. It promises to be a most sumptuous affair."

"Then my friend accepts with pleasure."

After the conspirator had gone, Frank spoke up. "You wouldn't go away
with him and leave me here alone, would you?"

"I ce'tainly shouldn't take you with me, kid. I don't want my little
friend all shot up by greasers."

"If you're going, I want to go, too. Supposing--if anything were to
happen to you, what could I do?"

"Leave the country by the next train. Those are the orders."

"You're always talking about a square deal. Do you think that is one? I
might say that I don't want YOU shot. You don't care anything about my
feelings." The soft voice had a little break in it that Bucky loved.

He walked across to his partner, that rare, tender smile of his in his
eyes. "If I'm always talking about a square deal I reckon I have got to
give you one. Now, what would you think a square deal, Curly? Would it
be square for me to let my friend O'Halloran stand all the risk of this
and then me take the reward when Henderson has been freed by him? Would
that be your notion of the right telling?"

"I didn't say that, though I don't see why you have to mix yourself
up in his troubles. Why should you go out and kill these soldiers that
haven't injured you?"

"I'm not going to kill any of them," he smiled "Besides, that isn't the
way I look at it. This fellow Megales is a despot. He has made out
to steal the liberty of the people from them. President Diaz can't
interfere because the old rascal governor does everything with that
smooth, oily way of his under cover of law. It's up to some of the
people to put up a good strong kick for themselves. I ain't a bit sorry
to give them the loan of my foot while they are doing it."

"Then can't I go, too? I don't want to be left alone here and you away
fighting."

Bucky's eyes gleamed. He dared an experiment in an indifferent drawl.
"Whyfor don't you want to stay alone, kid? Are you afraid for yourself
or for me?"

His partner's cheeks were patched with roses. Shyly the long, thick
lashes lifted and let the big brown eyes meet his blue ones. "Maybe I'm
afraid for both of us."

"Would you care if one of their pills happened along in the scrimmage
and put me out of business? Honest, would you?"

"You haven't any right to talk that way. It's cruel," was the reply that
burst from the pretty lips, and he noticed that at his suggestion the
roses had died from soft cheeks.

"Well, I won't talk that way any more, little partner," he answered
gaily, taking the small hand in his. "For reasons good. I'm fire-proof.
The Mexican bullet hasn't been cast yet that can find Bucky O'Connor's
heart."

"But you mustn't think that, either, and be reckless," was the next
injunction. The shy laugh rang like music. "That's why I want to go
along, to see that you behave yourself properly."

"Oh, I'll behave," he laughed; for the young man found it very easy to
be happy when those sweet eyes were showing concern for him. "I've got
several good reasons why I don't aim to get bumped off just yet. Heaps
of first-rate reasons. I'll tell you what some of them are one of these
days," he dared to add.

"You had better tell me now." The gaze that fell before his steady eyes
was both shy and eager.

"No, I reckon I'll wait, Curly," he answered, turning away with a
long breath. "Well, we better go out and get some grub, tortillas and
frijoles, don't you think?"

"Just as you like." The lad's breath was coming a little fast. They had
been on the edge of some moment of intimacy that Bucky's partner both
longed for and dreaded. "But you have not told me yet whether I can go
with you."

"You can't. I'm sorry. I'd like first-rate to take you, if you want to
go, but I can't do it. I hate to disappoint you if you're set on it, but
I've got to, kid. Anything else you want I'll be glad to do."

He added this last because Frank looked so broken-hearted about it.

"Very well." Swift as a flash came the demand: "Tell me these heaps of
first-rate reasons you were mentioning just now."

Under the sun-tan he flushed. "I reckon I'll have to make another
exception, Curly. Those reasons ain't ripe yet for telling."

"Then if you are--if anything happens--I'll never know them. And you
promised you would tell me--you, who pretend to hate a liar so," she
scoffed.

"Would it do if I wrote those reasons and left them in a sealed
envelope? Then in case anything happened you could open it and satisfy
that robust curiosity of yours." He recognized that he had trapped
himself, and he was making the best bargain left him.

"You may write them, if you like. But I'm going to open the letter,
anyway. The reasons belong to me now. You promised."

"I'll make a new deal with you, then," he smiled. "I'll take awful good
care of myself to-night if you'll promise not to open the envelope for
two weeks unless--well, unless that something happens that we ain't
expecting."

"Call it a week, and it's a bargain."

"Better say when we're back across the line again. That may be inside of
three days, if everything goes well," he threw in as a bait.

"Done. I'm to open the letter when we cross the line into Texas."

Bucky shook the little hand that was offered him and wished mightily
that he had the right to celebrate with more fervent demonstrations.

That afternoon the ranger wrote with a good deal of labor the letter
he had promised. It appeared to be a difficult thing for him to deliver
himself even on paper of those good and sufficient reasons. He made
and destroyed no less than half a dozen openings before at last he
was fairly off. Meanwhile, Master Frank, busy over some alterations in
Bucky's gypsy suit, took pleasure in deriding with that sweet voice the
harassed correspondent.

"It might be a love letter from the pains you take with it. Would you
like me to come and help you with it?" the sewer railed merrily.

"I ain't used to letter writing much," apologized the scribe, wiping his
bedewed brow, which had suddenly gone a shade more flushed.

"Apparently not. I expect, from the time you give it, the result will be
a literary classic."

"Don't you disturb me, Curly, or I'll never get done," implored the
tortured ranger.

"You're doing well. You've only been an hour and a half on six lines,"
the tormentor mocked.

Womanlike, she was quite at her ease, since he was very far indeed from
being at his. Yet she had a problem of her own she was trying to decide.

Had he discovered, after all, that she was not a boy, and had
his reasons--the ones he was trying to tell in that disturbing
letter--anything to do with that discovery? Such a theory accounted
for several things she had noticed in him of late. There was an added
respect in his manner for her. He never now invaded the room recognized
as hers without a specific invitation, nor did he seem any longer to
chafe at the little personal marks of fastidiousness that had at first
appeared to annoy him. To be sure, he ordered her about, just as he had
been in the habit of doing at first. But it was conceivable that this
might be a generous blind to cover up his knowledge of her sex.

"How do you spell guessed--one s or two?" he presently asked, out of the
throes of composition.

She spelled it, and added demurely: "Adore has only one d"

Bucky laid down his pen and pretended to glare at him. "You young
rascal, what do you mean by bothering me like that? Act like that, you
young imp, and you'll never grow up to be a gentleman."

Their glances caught and held, the minds of each of them busy over that
last prediction of his. For one long instant masks were off and both
were trying to find an answer to a question in the eyes opposite. Then
voluntarily each gaze released the other in a confusion of sweet shame.
For the beating of a lash, soul had looked into naked soul, all disguise
stripped from them. She knew that he knew. Yet in that instant when his
secret was surprised from him another secret, sweeter than the morning
song of birds, sang its way into both their hearts.



CHAPTER 10. THE HOLD-UP OF THE M. C. P. FLYER

Agua Negra is twelve miles from Chihuahua as the crow flies, but if one
goes by rail one twists round thirty sinuous miles of rough mountainous
country in the descent from the pass to the capital of the State. The
ten men who slipped singly or by twos out of the city in the darkness
that evening and met at the rendezvous of the Santa Dolorosa mission did
not travel by rail to the pass, but followed a horseback trail which was
not more than half the distance.

At the mission O'Halloran and his friend found gathered half a dozen
Mexicans, one or two of them tough old campaigners, the rest young
fellows eager for the excitement of their first active service.

"Is Juan Valdez here yet?" asked O'Halloran, peering around in the
gloom.

"Not yet; nor Manuel Garcia," answered a young fellow.

Bucky was introduced to those present under the name of Alessandro
Perdoza, and presently also to the two missing members of the party who
arrived together a few moments later. Juan Valdez was the son of the
candidate who was opposing the reelection of Megales, and Manuel Garcia
was his bosom friend, and the young man to whom his sister was engaged.
They were both excellent types of the honorable aristocratic young
Mexican. They were lightly built, swarthy your men, possessed of that
perfect grace and courtesy which can be found at its best in the Spanish
races. Gay, handsome young cavaliers as they were, filled with the
pride of family, Bucky thought them almost ideal companions for such a
harebrained adventure as this. The ranger was a social democrat to the
marrow. He had breathed in with the Southwest breezes the conviction
that every man must stand on his own bottom, regardless of adventitious
circumstance, but he was not fool enough to think all men equal. It had
been his experience that some men, by grace of the strength in them,
were born to be masters and others by their weakness to be servants. He
knew that the best any civilization can offer a man is a chance. Given
that, it is up to every man to find his own niche.

But though he had no sense of deference to what is known as good blood,
Bucky had too much horse sense to resent the careless, half-indifferent
greeting which these two young sprouts of aristocracy bestowed on the
rest of the party. He understood that it was the natural product of
their education and of that of the others.

"Are we all here?" asked Garcia.

"All here," returned O'Halloran briskly. "Rodrigo will guide the party.
I ride next with Senor Garcia. Perdoza and Senor Valdez will bring up
the rear. Forward, gentlemen, and may the Holy Virgin bring a happy
termination to our adventure." He spoke in Mexican, as they all did,
though for the next two hours conversation was largely suspended, owing
to the difficulty of the precipitous trail they were following.

Coming to a bit of the road where they were able to ride two abreast,
O'Connor made comment on the smallness of their number. "O'Halloran must
have a good deal of confidence in his men. Forty to ten is rather heavy
odds, is it not, senor?"

"There are six more to join us at the pass. The wagons have gone round
by the road and the drivers will assist in the attack."

"Of course it is all in the surprise. I have seen three men hold up a
train with five hundred people on it. Once I knew a gang to stick up a
treasure train with three heavily armed guards protecting the gold.
They got them right, with the drop on them, and it was good-by to the
mazuma."

"Yes, if they have had any warning or if our plans slip a cog anywhere
we shall be repulsed to a certainty."

By the light of a moon struggling out from behind rolling clouds Bucky
read eleven-thirty on his watch when the party reached Agua Negra.
It was still thirty minutes before the Flyer was due, and O'Halloran
disposed his forces with explicit directions as to the course to be
followed by each detail. Very rapidly he sketched his orders as to the
present disposition of the wagons and the groups of attackers. When
the train slowed down to remove the obstacles they placed on the track,
Garcia and another young man were to command parties covering the train
from both sides, while Rodrigo and one of the drivers were to cover the
engineer and the fireman.

O'Halloran himself, with Bucky and young Valdez, rode rapidly in the
direction of the approaching train. At Concho the engine would take on
water for the last stiff climb of the ascent, and here he meant to board
the train unnoticed, just as it was pulling out, in order to emphasize
the surprise at the proper moment and render resistance useless. If the
troopers were all together in the car next the one with the boxes of
rifles, he calculated that they might perhaps be taken unawares so
sharply as to render bloodshed unnecessary.

Concho was two miles from the summit, and when the three men galloped
down to the little station the headlight of the approaching engine was
already visible. They tied their horses in the mesquit and lurked in
the thick brush until the engine had taken water and the signal for the
start was given Then O'Halloran and Bucky slipped across in the darkness
to the train and swung themselves to the platform of the last car. To
Valdez, very much against his will, had fallen the task of taking the
horses back to Agua Negra Since the track wound round the side of the
mountain in such a way as to cover five miles in making the summit from
Concho, the young Mexican had ample time to get back to the scene of
action before the train arrived.

The big Irishman and Bucky rested quietly in the shadows of the back
platform for some time. Then they entered the last car, passed through
it, and on to the next. In the sleeper they met the conductor, but
O'Halloran quietly paid their fares and passed forward. As they had
hoped, the whole detail of forty men were in a special car next to the
one containing the arms consigned to Michael O'Halloran, importer of
pianos.

Lieutenant Chaves, in charge of the detail sent out to see that the
rifles reached Governor Megales instead of the men who had paid for
them, was finding his assignment exceedingly uninteresting. There was at
Chihuahua a certain black-eyed dona with whom he had expected to enjoy a
pleasant evening's flirtation. It was confounded luck that it had fallen
to him to take charge of the escort for the guns. He had endured in
consequence an unpleasant day of dusty travel and many hours of boredom
through the evening. Now he was cross and sleepy, which latter might
also be said of the soldiers in general.

He was connected with a certain Arizona outfit which of late had been
making money very rapidly. If one more coup like the last could be
pulled off safely by his friend Wolf Leroy he would resign from the army
and settle down. It would then no longer be necessary to bore himself
with such details as this.

There was, of course, no necessity for alertness in his present
assignment. The opposition was scarcely mad enough to attempt taking the
guns from forty armed men. Chaves devoutly hoped they would, in order
that he might get a little glory, at least, out of the affair. But of
course such an expectation would be ridiculous. No, the journey would
continue to be humdrum to the end, he was wearily assured of that,
and consequently attempted to steal a half hour's sleep while propped
against a window with his feet in the seat opposite.

The gallant lieutenant was awakened by a cessation of the drumming of
the wheels. Opening his eyes, he saw that the train was no longer in
motion. He also saw--and his consciousness of that fact was much more
acute--the rim of a revolver about six inches from his forehead. Behind
the revolver was a man, a young Spanish gypsy, and he was offering the
officer very good advice.

"Don't move, sir. No cause for being uneasy. Just sit quiet and
everything will be serene. No, I wouldn't reach for that revolver, if I
were you."

Chaves cast a hurried eye down the car, and at the end of it beheld
the huge Irishman, O'Halloran, dominating the situation with a pair of
revolvers. Chaves' lambs were ranged on either side of the car, their
hands in the air. Back came the lieutenant's gaze to the impassive
face in front of him. Taken by and large, it did not seem an auspicious
moment for garnering glory. He decided to take the advice bestowed on
him.

"Better put your hands up and vote with your men. Then you won't be
tempted to play with your gun and commit suicide. That's right, sir.
I'll relieve you of it if you don't object."

Since the lieutenant had no objections to offer, the smiling gypsy
possessed himself of the revolver. At the same instant two more men
appeared at the end of the car. One of them was Juan Valdez and another
one of the mule-skinners. Simultaneously with their entrance rang out
a most disconcerting fusillade of small arms in the darkness without.
Megales' military band, as O'Halloran had facetiously dubbed them to
the ranger, arrived at the impression that there were about a thousand
insurgents encompassing the train. Chaves choked with rage, but the rest
of the command yielded to the situation very tranquilly, with no desire
to offer themselves as targets to this crackling explosion of Colts. Muy
bien! After all, Valdez was a better man to serve than the fox Megales.

Swiftly Valdez and the wagon driver passed down the car and gathered the
weapons from the seats of the troopers. Raising a window, they passed
them out to their friends outside. Meanwhile, the sound of an axe could
be heard battering at the door of the next car, and presently the crash
of splintering wood announced that an entrance had been forced.

"Breaking furniture, I reckon," drawled Bucky, in English, for the
moment forgetful of the part he was playing. "I hope they'll be all
right careful of them pianos and not mishandle them so they'll get out
of tune."

"So, senor, you are American," said Chaves, in English, with a sinister
smile.

O'Connor shrugged, answering in Spanish: "I am Romany. Who shall say,
whether American, or Spanish, or Bohemian? All nations call to me, but
none claim me, senor."

The lieutenant continued to smile his meaning grin. "Yet you are
American," he persisted.

"Oh, as you please. I am what you will, lieutenant."

"You speak the English like a native."

"You are complimentary."

Chaves lifted his eyebrows. "For believing that you are in costume, that
you are wearing a disguise, Mr. American?"

Bucky laughed outright, and offered a gay retort. "Believe me,
lieutenant, I am no more disguised as a gypsy than you are as a
soldier."

The Mexican officer flushed with anger at the suggestion of contempt
in the careless voice. His generalship was discredited. He had been
outwitted and made to yield without a blow. But to have it flung in his
teeth with such a debonair insolence threw him into a fury.

"If you and I ever meet on equal terms, senor, God pity you," he ground
out between his set jaws.

Bucky bowed, answering the furious anger in the man's face as much as
his words. "I shall try to be careful not to offer myself a sheath for a
knife some dark night," he scoffed.

A whistle blew, and then again. The revolver of Bucky rang out almost on
the same instant as those of O'Halloran. Under cover of the smoke they
slipped out of the car just as Rodrigo leaped down from the cab of the
engine. Slowly the train began to back down the incline in the same
direction from which it had come. The orders given the engineer were to
move back at a snail's pace until he reached Concho again. There he was
to remain for two hours. That Chaves would submit to this O'Halloran did
not for a moment suspect.

But the track would be kept obstructed till six o'clock in the morning,
and a sufficient guard would wait in the underbrush to see that the
right of way was not cleared. In the meantime the wagons would be
pushing toward Chihuahua as fast as they could be hurried, and the rest
of the riders would guard them till they separated on the outskirts of
the town and slipped quietly in. In order to forestall any telegraphic
communication between Lieutenant Chaves and his superiors in the city,
the wires had been cut. On the face of it, the guns seemed to be safe.
Only one thing had O'Halloran forgotten. Eight miles across the hills
from Concho ran the line of the Chihuahua Northern.





Next: Stone Walls Do Not A Prison Make

Previous: First Blood!



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