Page:Yule Logs.djvu/438

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422
ON A MEXICAN RANCHE

"The horse is getting restive; I will hold him as you go to the other end of the room and take off your dress, and wrap in it the pillow and blankets as quickly as you can. As soon as you have done so, I will mount your horse, open the door, and ride out with the dummy in front of me. Seeing your dress, they will naturally suppose that it is you, and will all dash off in pursuit of me. I shall make for the cave I spoke of. They are principally below us, and would cut me off from making either for the hacienda or the camp. The moment they are fairly after me, do you make your way off on foot. If you can catch my horse, you might get me help from the camp.

"You will be throwing away your life, señor."

"Not at all. I am a heavy weight for your mare, but I think she will carry me as far as the cave, and they will not like to fire lest they might, as they would suppose, hurt you. At any rate it is a chance for us both, and I see no other. Pray do not lose a moment."

"I will do it," she said.

The hut was full of blinding smoke, the dog barked and howled, and the mare struggled so violently that he had the greatest difficulty in pacifying her. When at last he did so, she was trembling from head to foot. It was not two minutes before Isabella stood beside him and thrust the bundle into his arms.

"I have pulled the blankets up above the dress," she said, "and pinned my riding-hat on the top. Quick, it is stifling here." Then she passionately threw her arms around his neck. "The Holy Virgin shield you!" she exclaimed. "I love you, Harry, I love you. I have brought this upon you, and if you die I will remain a widow all my life for your sake."

"God bless you, Isabella," he said hoarsely.

Isabella took down the bar and unlocked the door. The mare for a moment refused to move. He leaned forward on her neck and struck the spurs into her, and