"That is as much as I dare take," said Alessandro, when she put down the fourth. "Will you trust me for so much?" he added sadly. "You know I have nothing left now. Mrs. Hartsel, I am only a beggar, till I get some work to do."
The tears came into Mrs. Hartsel's eyes. "It's a shame!" she said,-- "a shame, Alessandro! Jim and I haven't thought of anything else, since it happened. Jim says they'll never prosper, never. Trust you? Yes, indeed. Jim and I'd trust you, or your father, the last day of our lives."
"I'm glad he is dead," said Alessandro, as he knotted the gold into his handkerchief and put it into his bosom. "But he was murdered, Mrs. Hartsel,-- murdered, just as much as if they had fired a bullet into him."
"That's true." she exclaimed vehemently. "I say so too; and so was Jose. That's just what I said at the time,-- that bullets would not be half so inhuman!"
The words had hardly left her lips, when the door from the dining-room burst open, and a dozen men, headed by the drunken Jim, came stumbling, laughing, reeling into the kitchen.
"Where's supper! Give us our supper! What are you about with your Indian here? I'll teach you how to cook ham!" stammered Jim, making a lurch towards the stove. The men behind caught him and saved him. Eyeing the group with scorn, Mrs. Hartsel, who had not a cowardly nerve in her body, said: "Gentlemen, if you will take your seats at the table, I will bring in your supper immediately. It is all ready."
One or two of the soberer ones, shamed by her tone, led the rest back into the dining-room, where, seating themselves, they began to pound the table and swing the chairs, swearing, and singing ribald songs.
"Get off as quick as you can, Alessandro," whispered Mrs. Hartsel, as she passed by him, standing like a statue, his eyes, full of hatred and contempt, fixed on the tipsy group. "You'd better go. There's no knowing what they'll do next."
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