The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 255

witness of some unhappy event which should carry Senor
Bridge to the arms of his fathers.

Rozales called a soldier to saddle and bridle their horses and shortly
after the two were riding abreast down the trail out of the hills. Where
it was necessary that they ride in single file Bridge was careful to
see that Rozales rode ahead, and the Mexican graciously permitted the
American to fall behind.

If he was inspired by any other motive than simple espionage he was
evidently content to bide his time until chance gave him the opening he
desired, and it was equally evident that he felt as safe in front of the
American as behind him.

At a point where a ravine down which they had ridden debauched upon a
mesa Rozales suggested that they ride to the north, which was not at all
the direction in which Bridge intended going. The American demurred.

"But there is no shooting down in the valley," urged Rozales.

"I think there will be," was Bridge's enigmatical reply, and then, with
a sudden exclamation of surprise he pointed over Rozales' shoulder.
"What's that?" he cried in a voice tense with excitement.

The Mexican turned his head quickly in the direction Bridge's index
finger indicated.

"I see nothing," said Rozales, after a moment.

"You do now, though," replied Bridge, and as the Mexican's eyes returned
in the direction of his companion he was forced to admit that he did see
something--the dismal, hollow eye of a six-shooter looking him straight
in the face.

"Senor Bridge!" exclaimed Rozales. "What are you doing? What do you
mean?"

"I mean," said Bridge, "that if you are at all solicitous of your health
you'll climb down off that pony, not forgetting to keep your hands above
your head when you reach the ground. Now climb!"

Rozales dismounted.

"Turn your back toward me," commanded the American, and when the other
had obeyed him, Bridge dismounted and removed the man's weapons from his
belt. "Now you may go, Rozales," he said, "and should you ever have an
American in your power again remember that I spared your life when I
might easily have taken it--when it would have been infinitely safer for
me to have done it."

The Mexican made no reply, but the black scowl that clouded his face
boded ill for the next gringo who should be so unfortunate as to fall
into his hands. Slowly he wheeled about and started back up the trail in
the direction of the Pesita camp.

"I'll be halfway to El Orobo," thought Bridge, "before he gets a chance
to tell Pesita what happened to him,"

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