The Young Engineers in Mexico
H. Irving Hancock
Part 4 out of 4
The next morning Don Luis, Mr. Haynes and a New York capitalist
in the party departed in an automobile, going back to the railway
town. Two days later they returned. The entire deal had been
put through. The mine had become the property of this group of
American capitalists. Don Luis's home was included in the sale.
The money had been paid over on telegraphic advice from New York.
Don Luis, in turn, had transferred his huge credit to Mexico
City by wire, and this fortune now awaited his orders at the capital
of the republic.
Soon after Don Luis had returned he called the young engineers aside.
"_Caballeros_," he murmured, "I am delighted with the loyal service
you have rendered me. Before to-day is over I shall hand you
drafts on my bank at the capital for twenty thousand dollars each,
gold. Then the transaction will be closed. Again I thank you.
Be good enough to remain about, for I shall soon want you."
Over the hills a white-clad figure rode on horseback. As he came
nearer, still at a gallop, the man was seen to be a soldier.
"I wonder if there is any treachery in this?" muttered Harry,
in Tom's ear. "Does Don Luis intend to have us arrested, after
all, and sent to prison to be held _incommunicado_, and so make
sure of keeping us out of the way?"
"I don't believe so," Tom replied. "It wouldn't be a wise move
on his part. He'd be afraid that we'd denounce him even as we
were being led away."
"Then why the soldier?"
"Let's wait and see."
No one else appeared to have paid any heed to the horseman. A few
minutes later the soldier rode up the driveway.
"Senor--Haynes?" called the soldier, holding up an envelope.
Tom passed the word. Messrs, Haynes and Ellsworth were absent,
it seemed, on a walk.
"If it's a telegram," said Mr. Hippen, "I'm a director in the same
road. It may be on railroad business. I'll take the telegram."
It was turned over to him. Mr. Hippen broke the seal of the envelope,
took out the enclosure and read it. Then he read it aloud, as
"Train thirteen wrecked this forenoon." It was signed by President
"Humph!" said Mr. Hippen. "I don't see the need of wasting the
railroad's money to send that despatch here."
He folded it and placed it in his pocket, against Mr. Haynes's
"I shall want to talk with you two for a few minutes," Don Luis
presently whispered to Tom. "I shall have my car here soon.
When you see it, both of you come forward and be ready to take
a short ride with me."
In the background stood Dr. Tisco, looking on with cynical eyes.
"Of course, the poor American fools haven't any idea that they
will set out on the ride, but will never return," murmured Don
Luis's secretary, to himself. "Pedro Gato, turned loose on the
same day he was arrested, has waited a long time for his revenge.
He and the dozen bandits he has gathered around him will shoot
the American engineers full of holes out on the road, and Don
Luis, when he returns, deluged in his own tears, will tell the
awful story of the encounter with the bandits. What a clever
scoundrel Don Luis is!"
Fifteen minutes later the automobile stood before the steps to
the big porch.
"You two, my friends," called Don Luis, resting a hand on Tom's
shoulder and beckoning to Harry. "You will take one last ride
with me, will you not? And, while we are gone, I shall discuss
a few more of my plans with you."
Wholly unsuspicious of this final tragic touch to the drama, Tom
Reade and Harry Hazelton went down the steps, following Don Luis
Montez into the car.
MR. HAYNES ASKS A FEW QUESTIONS
Slowly the car started clown the drive. "Oh, Don Luis!" called
Mr. Hippen, running to the corner of the porch.
"Stop!" said Montez to his chauffeur. "Mr. Haynes is signaling you,"
continued Mr. Hippen. "I think he wants to say something to you."
Don Luis turned, and beheld the president and the general manager
of the A.G.& N.M. Railroad hastening toward the gate.
"Drive down to the gate and await the gentlemen there," was Don
Luis's next order.
Mr. Hippen, too, started down the roadway, seeing which Dr. Tisco
reached his side and went with him.
There was a general meeting of the different parties at the gate.
"I signaled you, Don Luis, to inquire if Ellsworth and myself
might go on your drive with you?" explained Mr. Haynes.
"Gentlemen, I am truly sorry," began Don Luis Montez, in his most
honeyed tones, "but the truth is that I desire to have a private
conference with Senores Reade and Hazelton."
"Then we won't ask to accompany you, this time." said Mr. Haynes,
"We would be glad to take you, but our business conversation would
then be delayed," Don Luis explained. "However, if you wish--"
"I don't want to spoil your talk," laughed Mr. Haynes. "But I
have this to say to Reade and Hazelton. We gentlemen have been
discussing the new management of the mine, and we are united in
feeling that we want these young men to remain here and manage
our new property for us. In fact, with such a valuable mining
property on our hands we wouldn't feel in the least easy with
any one else in charge."
"Here is a telegram that came for you, Mr. Haynes," said Mr. Hippen,
quietly, handing over the sheet. "Of course, Reade and Hazelton
are not going to sign with any one else."
"Pardon me," said Mr. Haynes, and let his glance fall on the telegram.
Any one noting the railway president's face at that moment would
have noted a quick, though suppressed, change there.
"Don Luis," went on Mr. Haynes, quickly, "I fear that I really
shall have to interrupt your drive for a little while. I have
just received news that I shall want to discuss with you."
"Why, your news refers to nothing more than a wreck on your Arizona
railway system, doesn't it?" inquired Don Luis, who was eager
to get away and attend, as speedily as possible, to the impending
assassination of the young engineers.
"You will oblige me by coming back to the house, won't you, Don
Luis?" insisted Mr. Haynes, who seemed, somehow, a changed man
within the last minute.
"Certainly," agreed the Mexican courteously, and the chauffeur
turned the car.
As they walked along, Mr. Haynes managed to whisper a few words
in Mr. Ellsworth's ear.
"I have sent Ellsworth to call all our associates together," explained
Mr. Haynes, as he joined Don Luis and the young engineers on the
porch. Something in the changed atmosphere of the place made
Don Luis Montez feel decidedly uneasy.
The Americans responded quickly to Mr. Ellsworth's rounding up.
Each of them, as he came forward, looked unusually grave. Mr.
Haynes waited until he saw all of his associates around him.
Then he began:
"Don Luis, in my recent absence a telegram came for me. Mr. Hippen,
though a director of our railway, is not familiar with the telegraph
code that we use in our inner office. This telegram, sir"--unfolding
it--"is from my private secretary, a most careful and trustworthy
man of affairs. I feel certain, Don Luis, that he would not have sent
this telegram unless he had had the strongest reasons. Now, in our
office code a wire relating to a wreck of Train Thirteen--there's
no such train on our schedule--means always just one thing. The
significance of this telegram is, 'Don't on any account put through
the impending deal.'"
If Don Luis Montez felt any inward start he controlled his facial
"Senor Haynes," he replied, "I don't understand the meaning of
your code message. You have no deal here to put through. You
have made and closed the only deal here about which I have the
honor to know anything."
"But my secretary doesn't yet know the state of affairs here,"
continued Mr. Haynes, gravely, "and he doesn't know that we have
yet bought the _El Sombrero_ Mine. Therefore, his despatch can't
refer to anything else. My private secretary is certainly warning
me not to buy _El Sombrero_ Mine until we have further information."
"But you have bought it," cried Don Luis, in a voice pitched rather
higher than usual. "You have bought it and have the deed to all
this property. The money has been paid, and is now mine, subject
to my order."
"Don Luis," continued the American railway president, "I ask you,
before all my associates, to consider the matter still open until
I can receive further particulars from my private secretary.
If there is any good and sound reason why we should not have bought
"But you have bought it, paid for it, and the money is mine!"
cried Don Luis Montez. "There is no more to be said about it."
"Sir," went on Mr. Haynes, gravely, "there is but one question
of fact that can affect the sale. Suppose--I hate to say it,
but suppose that the mine is not a rich one, not worth any such
price as we paid for it, and that you sold it to us, knowing--"
"The mine is a rich one--one of the richest in Mexico," insisted
Montez, "and you have secured a very great bargain."
"I trust and hope that all that is true," continued Mr. Haynes.
"Yet, if such should not be the case, and if we have bought a
property under conditions that would make it certain swindle had
"Senor!" warned Don Lids, taking a step forward, a deadly light
in his eyes. "Be Careful!"
"I am only stating a supposition," resumed Mr. Haynes, coolly.
"Don Luis, I believe I have stated enough of that supposition
to make it all clear. If that supposition is true, then you would
have to buy the mine back from us again."
"Would I?" sneered the Mexican.
"Yes, Don Luis, or we could bring the matter about in another
way. I know the name of the bank in Mexico City to which you
have transferred the funds received from us. Our attorneys, acting
through Mexican lawyers, can tie that money up and keep it in
the bank until the question has been decided as to whether--"
"Be careful, senor!" again warned Don Luis.
"Sir," demanded Mr. Haynes, bluntly, "is the mine a valuable one,
or is it a swindle?"
"You should not ask me," Montez retorted, bitterly. "You have
your own engineers on the ground--engineers whom you trust.
Ask them! They will tell you."
"Thank you," assented Mr. Haynes, bowing. Then, turning to Tom,
the American railway president went on:
"Reade, tell me the truth about this matter in a word. Have we
been defrauded in any way?"
"You have not, Mr. Haynes," Tom answered steadily. "You have
now in your possession a property that is worth far more than
has been paid for it."
"You agree with that statement, do you, Hazelton?" asked Mr. Haynes.
"I do, sir," Harry nodded.
Dr. Tisco, standing in the background, had all he could do to keep
himself from dancing a few jig-steps.
"Decidedly, these young Americans are champion liars!" he thought
to himself. "They can readily outlie Don Luis or myself. Now,
if Don Luis still insists on having these gifted young engineers
killed I am afraid I shall look upon him as being a man without
"You have heard your own engineers, senores," broke in Don Luis.
"You trust them. Now, are you not satisfied that I have dealt
fairly with you?"
"Somehow, I ought to be satisfied," agreed Mr. Haynes. "And yet
my private secretary is such a very careful and dependable man
that I shall have to await further advices. Of course, I place
the fullest confidence in the honesty of our American engineers,
Reade and Hazelton. Tom, do you believe that you could possibly
have been deceived as to the valued of this mining property?"
"I do not believe it possible, sir," Tom replied, as steadfastly
as before. "In the face of anything that might be said, Hazelton
and I will continue to claim that you have bought a property here
worth more than you have paid for it."
"Then I apologize, Don Luis, for what might have seemed to be
slighting language," Mr. Haynes continued, bowing to the Mexican.
"You will understand, of course, what good reason I had to be
"Say no more, senor. You had most excellent reasons," smiled
Don Luis, at ease once more. "I cannot blame you in the least for
your passing doubts, but I am glad they have been set at rest by
these capable and honest young engineers. And now, Senores Reade
and Hazelton, shall we resume our interrupted ride in the car?"
THE ENGINEER TURNS
"You are about to have more visitors, I see," announced Mr. Hippen,
from a corner of the porch.
Barely five hundred yards from the house, on one of the roughest
roads coming down the mountains, were some forty or fifty horsemen.
Nor did it require more than a second glance to show that the
newcomers were cavalry troops of the Mexican army.
At the head of the cavalcade rode three or four men who had an
"It is one of the periodical visits of the governor of the state
of Bonista," explained Don Luis. "Ah, if the governor is with
that party, Senor Haynes, you will soon have more reason to know
that it would be impossible for me to defraud you. The governor
himself will assure you that I am of an old Spanish family and
of the highest personal honor."
"I shall be most glad to meet the governor," remarked Mr. Haynes,
Don Luis Montez stepped to where he could obtain a better view
of the horsemen, who were moving their horses at a walk. He held
his hands over his eyes to keep the light from interfering with
"I am afraid, after all, that his excellency, the governor of
the state, is not one of the horsemen," said Montez, regretfully.
"Not unless he is riding at the rear of the party. But we shall
Just inside the limits of the estate all of the cavalrymen except
a half dozen halted. Three officers, six troopers and a gentleman
in citizen's dress rode on up to the porch.
"Is Don Luis Montez of your number?" called the man in citizen's
"I am Don Luis," responded Montez, going forward and raising his
"I am Manuel Honda," continued the stranger, raising his hat in
return. "Will you be good enough to have one of your servants
take my horse?"
This was done at a gesture from Montez. Senor Honda dismounted,
then came up the steps.
"You are very welcome, senor," said Don Luis, holding out his hand,
which the other accepted. Then the stranger swept his glance over
the others grouped on the porch.
"These are your American visitors?" inquired Honda.
"Yes," nodded Don Luis.
"We will withdraw if you two gentlemen have business to discuss,"
suggested Mr. Haynes.
"I beg that all of you gentlemen will remain," urged Senor Honda.
"I wish to show you every courtesy, senor," said Montez, quickly,
"but it seems to me that you are taking the liberty of giving orders
in my home."
"Have you sold your mine?" asked Honda.
"Yes," Montez acknowledged.
"And this estate was part of the mine property?"
"Then I would suggest, Don Luis," Honda answered, with a smile,
"that this place is no longer your home."
"Senor, are you making fun of me?" demanded Don Luis, with heightening
"By no means, Don Luis. But you have observed that I have an escort
of our country's troops."
"From that what would you infer?"
"You may very likely hold some government commission," guessed Don Luis.
"Assuredly I do," Honda replied.
"In the state of Bonista especially?"
"Then if you hold a commission in the state of Bonista," replied
Don Luis Monte; "you must represent my very good friend, his excellency,
the governor of this state."
"Just at present the governor of Bonista is in difficulties," hinted
Senor Manuel Honda.
"How?" demanded Don Luis.
"Yes; in difficulties," continued the visitor. "At least, his
excellency, the governor, is not able to leave his house."
"Ah! He is ill, then?"
"Ill in spirit, yes," smiled Senor Honda.
"Will you be good enough to explain?" Montez asked, anxiously.
"Don Luis, it was I, Manuel Honda, who confined his excellency
to his official dwelling and placed a guard about the buildings."
"Oh? Is there a revolution, then, in the state of Bonista?"
"None that I know of," Honda rejoined. "Don Luis, I am from the
national capital. I represent the government of the Republic
of Mexico, and I have considerable power in this state. I am
solely in command, at present, of all the national troops within
this state. These army officers will assure you that I hold a
national commission to investigate affairs even in this remote
state of Bonista. I could show you my credentials from the national
government, if it were worth while."
"Then will you be good enough, Senor Honda, to tell me what you
"Don Luis, I am here because I believe this to be one of the central
points in the investigation that I am about to hold. I will come
to the point at once. You have sold your mining property here.
One of my first acts will be to make sure that you do not draw the
proceeds of the sale from any Mexican bank until after the national
government is satisfied."
"That is a high-handed proceeding, Senor Honda!" cried Montez, a
deadly glitter in his eyes.
"It is such a proceeding as a national government may take at
need," replied Senor Honda, calmly. "Of course, Don Luis, if
your conduct in selling the mine is found to be blameless, then
you will soon be able to use your money in any way that you please.
But, first of all, the government must be satisfied."
"Have you any further questions that you wish to ask me at present?"
Montez demanded, suddenly.
Though he had kept himself rather calm up to the present, the
rascal felt that he must soon vent the spite and hate welling
up within him, or explode from the pent-up force of his own emotions.
The late mine owner, though he could not penetrate the mysteries
of the present situation, was now sure that Tom Reade and Harry
Hazelton must be in some way behind it. No matter what happened
to him afterwards, Don Luis was now furiously bent on getting
the young engineers off on the lonely mountain trail where Gato
and his comrades were lying in wait for the two young Americans.
"I shall have no more questions for you, for the present," Senor
Honda replied. "Just now I wish to have some conversation with
"Then come, senores," cried Don Luis, with forced gayety, as he
thrust a hand under the arms of Tom and Harry. "Come, we will
have our ride and our talk. We will be back here in half an hour
and then we shall hear this affair through. Come!"
Tom Reade threw off the fellow's arm, exclaiming, warningly:
"If you touch me again, you snake in the grass, I'll reduce you
to powder with a fist that's fairly aching to hit you!"
The vehemence of Tom's declaration made every one within hearing
gasp with astonishment.
"What does this mean, Reade?" gasped President Haynes, looking
"It means, sir," reported Tom, wheeling about, "that this fellow,
Montez, threatened us with death if we did not sign a glaringly
false report concerning _El Sombrero_ Mine. We were also to be
killed if we did not stand by our report to the fullest degree
after you and your friends arrived."
"Then _El Sombrero_ Mine is worthless?" cried Mr. Haynes, his
face turning a ghastly white.
"As far as I know, sir, or as far as Hazelton knows," Tom Reade
made prompt answer. "_El Sombrero_ isn't worth the cost even
of filling up the shaft."
"And you, Reade--and you, Hazelton--the men we trusted
implicitly--you stood by and saw us robbed!"
"I don't blame you for being angry," Tom answered, quickly. "However,
you may safely go a bit slow on the idea that we stood by to see
you robbed, merely to save our lives. We had tried to escape
from here. We even sent out two letters by secret messengers,
these letters to be mailed at points distant from here. The letters
would have told our friends in the United States what was up.
But, in some way of his own, Don Luis managed to catch the messengers
and get hold of the letters."
"Then," added Harry Hazelton, "we thought we were doomed if we
didn't yield to Don Luis's commands. Even at that, we were prepared
to accept death sooner than sell ourselves out. Death would have
been the cheapest way out of the scrape. But at last we found
a way of helping Don Luis in the way he wanted, and of getting
square with the rascal at the same time. Tell them what I mean,
"Why, it was like this," said Tom, seating himself on the railing
of the porch, and facing the assemblage. "Harry and I began to
roam all over this property, as though to kill time. Out in Nevada,
as it happens, we two and a friend of ours own a mine that seemed
almost worthless. Almost by accident we discovered that we were
working the mine just a little off from the real vein. Now, we
didn't find that _El Sombrero_ was being worked off the vein.
What we did find was in that big strip of forest over to the
east of _El Sombrero_--"
Tom turned, for an instant, to point to the forest that he meant.
"You will remember, Mr. Haynes, that we had Don Luis include that
forest tract in the title of the _El Sombrero_ purchase. That
forest is really a jungle. One has the greatest time forcing
his way through it. When you open it up on a big scale you'll
have to send hundreds of men in there with machetes to chop paths
through and clear off the tangled brush. We spent days in that
jungle, at first because we had nothing better to do. Mr. Haynes,
and gentlemen, if we know anything about mining, then that forest
land is worth an immense fortune in the minerals it will yield.
You paid two and a half millions of dollars for the entire property.
That great forest stretch, in our opinion as engineers, is worth
as much and perhaps more than that."
"That's right!" leered Don Luis. "Jest with them, Senor Reade,
to your heart's content."
"I'm telling these countrymen of mine the truth, fellow," retorted
Tom Reade, casting a look of withering scorn at Don Luis Montez.
"Had you been square and decent with us, we would have told you
of the mineral wealth in yonder forest. As it is, we've punished
your conduct by beating you at your own game."
"If I believed you, Senor Reade--" began Don Luis, bending his
head low as he thrust it forward and gazed piercingly at Tom's face.
"I don't care anything about your believing me," retorted Tom.
"But Harry and I will prove to these real men every word that we've
"You have robbed me!" hissed Don Luis, now believing.
His hand flew to a rear pocket. He drew a pistol. But two soldiers
had crept up behind Montez at a sign from Senor Honda. Now, one
of the barefooted soldados struck the weapon down. It clattered
on the porch, and the other soldier picked it up.
There was a struggle between Don Luis and the soldiers. Two other
soldiers came to their aid, and--Click! snap! Montez was
"Take them off!" screamed Montez, paling like one about to die.
"Senor Honda, this is an outrage, and you shall--"
"Peace, fellow! Hold your tongue!" ordered Honda. "Do you not
understand? You are a prisoner, nor are you ever likely to be
much better off than that. A complaint of the treatment of these
Americans, Reade and Hazelton, was forwarded to our government
by the American minister in Mexico City. The complaint mentioned
that the governor of Bonista was a confederate of yours in more
than one underhanded bit of business. On account of the urgings
of the American minister to this country, I was despatched here
to investigate, and with authority to arrest the governor of Bonista,
if necessary, and any other rogues."
"That's a lie!" snarled Don Luis. "How could the American minister
learn what was going on in this country? These mountains of Bonista
have never told my secrets."
"They did, for this one time," Tom broke in, gleefully. "And
I can tell you how it happened. Harry, do you remember the day
that Nicolas was gone so long that you were uneasy about him?
Well, I knew where Nicolas was, for I had sent him off. He thought
he had found a messenger who would have more success in getting
our letters mailed than had fallen to the lot of the messengers
with our first two letters. Nicolas's messenger, from to-day's
developments, must have got through. While I was sending one
letter I thought it as well to send two. One letter was to our
home offices, directing that the matter contained in my letter
be taken on the jump to the government at Washington. The other
letter, Mr. Haynes, was directed to you, sir, for I did not then
know that you were one of the Americans expected here. I thought,
Mr. Haynes, that your active hustling with the Washington government
might help in rushing matters. For some unknown reason, my letter
to our offices must have gotten through before the letter did
that was sent to Arizona. Your private secretary, Mr. Haynes,
must have opened my letter addressed to you. He realized that
he could not with safety to us send you more than the telegraphic
code warning to keep out of the deal. I never told Hazelton,
until just now, in the presence of you all, that I had ordered
Nicolas to send off more letters by a messenger whom Nicolas felt
that he could trust. But you remember the day well enough, Harry?"
"I do," nodded Hazelton. "I was fussing about the long absence of
Nicolas just before you turned up with that stranger whom we nursed."
"And speaking of strangers," muttered Reade, glancing off down
the driveway, "there's the identical stranger, at this moment
talking with the soldiers halted by the gate."
Almost as though he had heard himself called the stranger glanced
up at the group on the porch, then came forward. He walked briskly,
despite his lean, wasted frame.
"How? So this fellow is in irons?" queried the stranger, halting
as he saw the handcuffs on Don Luis's wrists. "Justice is sometimes
very tardy, though in this instance she has not failed. Handcuffs
become this felon; they are his natural jewelry!"
"Then you know Don Luis?" questioned Tom, after an instant's silence.
"I should know Don Luis well," boasted the stranger, drawing himself
up proudly. "Also I know this fellow!"
"My father!" cried a startled feminine voice from the doorway.
Then Francesca, her eyes filled with fright, hastened across
the porch. She would have thrown her arms around the neck of
the manacled man had not the stranger caught her by one arm and
held her back.
"How dare you, senor?" panted the girl, turning upon the stranger.
"And who are you?"
"Do not touch this felon with your clean hands," warned the stranger,
with a sternness that was tempered with gentleness.
"Who are you, senor?" the girl insisted.
"Can't you guess?" broke out Tom Reade, wonderingly. "Senorita
Francesca, I helped take care of this man while he was ill in
our cook tent. In his fever I heard some words fall from his
lips that started me to wondering. But the other day I beheld
this gentleman gazing upon you from a distance. In his eyes,
as he looked at you, Senorita, I saw a light that I had never
seen in the eyes of this manacled brute. Then my guess was turned
"Then, Senor Reade," begged the girl, "who is this man who would
hold me back from my--"
"Tell her, sir," Tom urged the stranger.
"Child," said the latter, with wonderful gentleness and tenderness,
"I am the real Don Luis Montez--your father!"
"Then who is _he_?" cried Francesca, pointing to the handcuffed
Mexican, who had sunk upon a chair looking more dead than alive.
"His true name," said the stranger, "is Paulo Rabasco. He was
born of good family, but was always dissolute and criminal. Once
he was my friend, I am ashamed to say; at least, I believed myself
his. We traveled, once, in a part of Mexico in which we were
both strangers. While there Rabasco became engaged in a budding
revolution, that was quickly nipped by the central government.
In my efforts to shield my supposed friend from the consequences
of supposed rebellion, I myself became suspected. In the night
Rabasco stole my papers, putting his own in my pocket. When the
police came they searched us both. I was believed to be Rabasco,
and this scoundrel insisted that I was. The papers in our respective
pockets seemed to prove it. The papers in mine connected me with
the intended rebellion. A swift military trial, and within a
few hours I was on my way to serve a life sentence of imprisonment
"Rabasco, the self-asserted Don Luis, was turned loose. We looked
not unlike in those days. Rabasco, as I have since learned, grew
a beard. Then he went back to my home. My wife had died within
a few days. Most of the old servants had gone. Rabasco, the
unutterable scoundrel, set himself up as Don Luis Montez. He
imposed on the nurse, and took her away with my infant child whom
I had never seen after she was three months old. Rabasco went
to the United States as soon as he had established a flimsy title
to my modest property. In after years he returned, an older and
more successful impostor. Yet he feared to live on my estate,
dreading that some day his treachery might be discovered. So,
still calling himself Don Luis Montez, this scoundrel sold my
estate and took my child away to other parts of Mexico. My estate
was a modest one. On that foundation this fellow has been building
a larger fortune--but fate has overtaken him at last. There
are still friends of mine alive who will help me to unmask this
scoundrel and prove him Paulo Rabasco. He never would have been
known, had I not, after many years, escaped from Yucatan. I did
not dare proclaim myself at once, for fear of being arrested as
Paulo Rabasco and sent back to Yucatan. But now I no longer fear.
I am Don Luis Montez. I shall prove it without difficulty at last."
"Then, if this be so, we haven't bought this mining property of
the rightful owner," interposed Mr. Haynes. "I imagine that the
real Don Luis will establish full claim to a property that was
founded on his stolen fortune. We shall recover our money from
the sham Don Luis, but I fear we shall not be able to obtain this
rich mineral property."
"Tell me the particulars," begged the real Don Luis.
Tom Reade stated the case fully, though in the fewest words that
would accomplish the telling.
"You shall have the property by transferring the purchase price
to me after I have recovered this estate at law," promised the
real Don Luis simply.
"But, my dear sir," objected Mr. Haynes, honestly, "do you realize
that we paid two and a half millions for the property, and that
our trusted engineers assure us that it may be worth more."
"That makes no difference, Senor," replied the new Don Luis.
"The money you were first willing to pay is far more money than
I shall ever need. I crave only life and my child. If you journeyed
down into Mexico, expecting to buy a property at a certain figure,
and if you did do it, acting in perfectly good faith, then that
is enough. I will ratify the bargain."
"But that would hardly be good business," smiled Mr. Haynes.
"Business is a word that will interest me but little after I have
established my rights in the world," remarked Don Luis, mildly.
The true Don Luis Montez did establish his rights. He secured
the estate built by Rabasco on the looted Montez fortune. The
money paid Rabasco for the mining property was easily recovered
through the courts and turned over to the rightful Don Luis.
Then the Americans secured the property at the original figure.
Don Luis soon won the affection of his daughter, and the two were
wonderfully happy together.
Rabasco, the impostor, was sentenced to twenty years of penal
servitude. On his way to begin serving his sentence he broke
away from the military guard, and was shot to death.
Dr. Carlos Tisco died, of fever, within six months of the time
of the real Don Luis's arrival. The governor of Bonista was discovered
guilty of so much corruption in office that he died, while serving
a sentence in prison.
Pedro Gato became an avowed outlaw. Senor Honda, while acting
for the government in Bonista, sent the troops in pursuit of the
outlaw. He was caught and shot by the soldiers.
As for Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton, they were happy indeed when
they found themselves wholly reestablished in the respect of Mr.
Haynes and his friends. The young engineers had played a most
daring game throughout, and would have gone to their deaths at the
hands of the sham Don Luis sooner than to have betrayed their own honor.
Tom and Harry spent days showing the American investors through
that forest stretch. It proved an amazingly wonderful mineral
claim, and has since paid enormous dividends.
"Mr. Haynes," Tom asked, anxiously, one day, "would you have done
the same as we did, had you been in our place?"
"I don't know, my boy," replied the railway president, with a
frank smile. "I'd hope that I would have done the same, but I
don't know that I would have had the same magnificent courage
that you two displayed throughout. It isn't every man who has
the courage to back his conscience with his life."
Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton remained some three months longer
in the mountains of Bonista. Finally, when they could be spared
from the task of superintending the start of this rich mineral
claim they returned to the United States.
"And what is to become of me, _caballeros_?" Nicolas mournfully
inquired, the day before their departure.
"Do you think you could stand life with us, in the United States?"
"Could I?" exclaimed the poor fellow, clasping his hands. "Senor,
do not jest with me! Can it be that you mean it?"
"I certainly do," nodded Tom.
Ambition's lure led the young engineers back to the home country.
We shall speedily find them engaged again in the great fields
of their calling, and we shall find them, too, in a setting of
truly extraordinary adventure. All that happened to them will
be stirringly told in the next volume of this series, which is
published under the title, "_The Young Engineers On The Gulf; Or,
The Dread Mystery of the Million-dollar Breakwater_."
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