Page:Yule Logs.djvu/407

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391
ON A MEXICAN RANCHE

armed servants rode beside it. On the second day of the journey, as they were passing through a wood in a narrow valley, a shot was fired, and one of the servants fell from his horse; it was followed by a scattered discharge, and six men sprang out from the trees. Another of the servants was shot, the other two were pulled from their horses, while a man climbing on to the box with a pistol in his hand compelled the driver to alight and lie down in the road. The Spaniard and his daughter were then ordered to alight. As the former's pistols were unloaded, he was forced to obey, and was in the act of handing Isabella out when the sound of a horse's tread at full gallop was heard, and a moment later a young man dashed up. He was armed with a revolver, at that time a novel weapon; the pistol cracked twice, and two of the Mexicans fell, both shot through the head. Their companions with loud imprecations rushed at him, discharging their pistols and drawing their knives. He shifted the revolver to his left hand, and two more of the Mexicans fell, while the others with a shout of terror plunged into the wood.

"You had better loose your servants, señor," the young man said quietly. "I don't think the fellows will return; but it is as well to be prepared for them, and just at present I am not up to further fighting."

The Don at once released the two servants, and angrily commanded the maid, who had been screaming loudly from the moment the first shot was fired, to be silent; gave the coachman a kick and told him to rise, and then turned to thank their rescuer. He had dismounted and was leaning against his horse, and Isabella was eagerly inquiring as to his injury.

"Do not alarm yourself, señora," he replied, "it is of no consequence. My right arm is broken by a pistol bullet, and I have got another somewhere near my hip, I think; but do not trouble about me. I know some