“I will never allow one the these d---- Americans to even put his foot in our headquarters, or to be initiated into the secrets of our company!” From this declaration had arisen the quarrel between Jack Three Fingers and Mountain Jim. The latter, who alone represented the American element in the gang, replied sourly that although a Yankee by birth, he was Mexican in the depth of his heart, and the interest which he showed on all occasions for the safety of the band was the more sincere because he had not joined it merely to satisfy his lust for blood, but that he had higher aims.
“If you meant that for me,” bawled Garcia, “what you have just said is a lie, and I say that you are a coward.” At the same time the bandit drew his revolver. Seeing his tiger eyes sparkle, and his brow wrinkle, and seeing above all that face of a demon protected by the limbs of a giant, the most valiant man would have hesitated before declaring himself his enemy.
At the word coward Mountain Jim also had drawn his pistol. He was about to shoot when Joaquin got up suddenly and in a very grave and imperious tone ordered the two adversaries to put down their arms and end the controversy.
“With pleasure,” said the mountaineer, “I obey my chief’s orders.”
“One moment,” yelled Jack. “That is not the way I understand the thing.” At the same time a shot was heard, and one of the new arrivals, who was seated at the side of Joaquin, fell to the ground, mortally wounded. Immediately, a shout of indignation arose. All the band jumped up, all revolvers were pointed toward the murderer, and the bandits awaited only the order of their chief for discharging them.
“No!” said Joaquin, extending his hand. “Down with the arms! Down with the arms!”
The order of the leader was executed instantly and all eyes were turned toward Garcia, who, on foot and revolver in hand, looked at