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Newspaper Page Text
was heavy with perfume of flowers.
The pair had seated themselves on a
bench that ran beside the old field
"'Another month, mio Ninez," spoke
the young man fervently, "and you
will be mine. Then adios! to all your
needless fears of this terrible Riv
olla." "You do not; know his treacherous
nature," fluttered Ninezshrinking
closer to her manly escort as though
from a sense of protection. "My fatti
er tells me he has broken loose again
with his wicked horde. They have
ravaged one province. They have sent
a demand to the governor of Mitali
demanding large bribe money, else
they "will visit his people next He
has refused. When they march thith
er, my father says a slight detour
from the trail would bring them near
to Piasta. It is like Rivolla's evil na
ture to make a raid upon this peace
ful town out of sheer revenge."
"Rivolla is a braggart and a cow
ard!" declared Luis. 'It was in the
last campaign that he threatened our
little army so direfully, only to run
adhhide when we advanced upon his
Ninez smiled and forgot her tears
as they strolled homewards. Luis
was so brave, so proud of his clear
family name and of herself J He did
not tell Ninez as he bade her good
night, "but he knew there was some
foundation! for her, words.
Others as well were in the secret,
but were not spreading itio alarm the
Thus, it was known to many of the
old guard that Rivolla was once again
on a raid., If his band was of any
numerical strength he might invade
Modiva. Otherwise, he would scarce
ly venture. Each, night for a week
some one of the old war company had
watched the river and its opposite
shore. It was from that direction Riv
olla would come, if at all.
After leaving Ninez, her lover 're
turned to the bluffs. It was his night
for patrol duty. For a long time Jie ,
sat by the side ofvthe cannon, his
mind going over the blissful hour he
had spent that evening with his fair
His cloak wrapped about him to
guard himself from the usual mid
night chill sweeping down the valleys,
Luis suddenly aroused, as chancing
to glance across the broad stream he
saw a faint blue glimmer of blue light.
It changed to red, to amber, back
to blue, and then three miles nearer
to the point, directly opposite the
town, there were responding signals.
Familiar with the tactics of the out
laws Luis in- an instant understood
that peril hovered.
Without disturbing or alarming any
other member of the family, he
aroused Sanchez. A grim smile
crossed the face of the smith as he
listened. His clear eye glowed with
the coherent resolve of a resolute and
intelligent man as he gave his direc
tions. Luis was to carry these out.
"Mount your swift horse," directed
Pietro, "arouser the gunsmith and
Send him to me at once. Then make
for the ford and reach Modiva. Tell
the mayor there to arouse up the old
guard and hurry to surround Rivolla
and his crew."
"But if they cross the river before
then?" submitted Luis quite anx
iously. "They will not cross the river," de
clared Pietro with a grim, determined
flash of his lion eyes.
At daylight over one hundred grim
visaged, determined men were gath
ered on the bluff where the historic
field piece stood. The mists slowly
lifting showed the camp of the out-.
laws on the opposite bank of the
river. xThey had employed the night
in Bcouring ihe shore up and down
stream for every stray raft, yawl and
rowboat they could find. A formid
able flotilla, all centered in a group in
a little cove, showed.
Beside the cannon stood old San
chez, in his hand an unlighted fusee.
His aid companion gunner was sight
ing the field piece.'