At three o`clock he passed through Atenas and at six in the morning he and his companion arrived at the gates of San Mateo. But now the horses could endure no more. It was part of the fugitive`s plan to pass the day hidden in a friendly and secure house on the plains#of Surubres, although now this was not possible, on account of the fatigue of the horses and the danger of the young conspirator`s being recognized in passing through the village, in spite of the fact that he was wearing the costume of a countryman. It was necessary then to decide on something.
“Don Salvador,” said the guide, “three hundred yards from here there lives an acquaintance of mine, who is a man you can trust. If you like we can dismount here, so that we shan`t have to pass through San Mateo in the daytime.”
“Very well, let us go there.”
The two men spurred their horses and a few minutes afterwards arrived at a house situated a short distance from the road. Through the unbarred gate they entered, saluted by the barking of three thin, mangy dogs. At this disturbance an old and corpulent countryman came out on the veranda.
“Buenos dfas, `Nor Josd,” said the guide.
“Buenos dfas, Pedro,” replied the old man.. “How goes it?”
“Well; and how are you? How are the girls getting on?”
“Very well, thank you. Why don`t you get off a while and rest?” added the old fellow.
The horseman dismounted and Salvador dropped, half dead with fatigue, on the settle that stood on the veranda. While he was stretching his aching legs, `Nor Jos and Pedro unsaddled the horses and the latter confided to the old man that his companion was fleeing the country. Hurriedly he told him a story which he made up as he went on; something about a quarrel in which machetes had been flourished in the air. The old man did not insist on the details, promising to keep quiet about the unlooked for guests in his house.
Pedro went to take the horses to the pasture and Salvador accepted with pleasure the coffee which the youngest daughter of `Nor Jos6 served him. The old man was proud of having a son-in-law the jefe politico of San Mateo, who had married his oldest daughter, a handsome girl, so people said. Noticing that his guest was getting sleepy he conducted him to a cot bed that he might rest.
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