Part 7 out of 7
incorrigibility, and again attempted to withdraw her hands.
"I must go now."
"Well then, good-by."
It was easy to draw her closer by simply lowering her still captive
hands. Then he suddenly kissed her coldly startled lips, and
instantly released her. She as instantly vanished.
"Elsbeth," he called quickly. "Elsbeth!"
Her now really frightened face reappeared with a heightened color
from the dense foliage--quite to his astonishment.
"Hush," she said, with her finger on her lips. "Are you mad?"
"I only wanted to remind you to square me with the Princess," he
laughed as her head disappeared.
He strolled back toward the gate. Scarcely had he quitted the
shrubbery before the same chasseur made his appearance with
precisely the same salute; and, keeping exactly the same distance,
accompanied him to the gate. At the corner of the street he hailed
a droshky and was driven to his hotel.
The landlord came up smiling. He trusted that the Herr had greatly
enjoyed himself at the Schloss. It was a distinguished honor--in
fact, quite unprecedented. Hoffman, while he determined not to
commit himself, nor his late fair companion, was nevertheless
anxious to learn something more of her relations to the Schloss.
So pretty, so characteristic, and marked a figure must be well
known to sightseers. Indeed, once or twice the idea had crossed
his mind with a slightly jealous twinge that left him more
conscious of the impression she had made on him than he had deemed
possible. He asked if the model farm and dairy were always shown
by the same attendants.
"ACH GOTT! no doubt, yes; His Royal Highness had quite a retinue
when he was in residence."
"And were these attendants in costume?"
"There was undoubtedly a livery for the servants."
Hoffman felt a slight republican irritation at the epithet--he knew
not why. But this costume was rather a historical one; surely it
was not entrusted to everyday menials--and he briefly described it.
His host's blank curiosity suddenly changed to a look of mysterious
and arch intelligence.
"ACH GOTT! yes!" He remembered now (with his finger on his nose)
that when there was a fest at the Schloss the farm and dairy were
filled with shepherdesses, in quaint costume worn by the ladies of
the Grand Duke's own theatrical company, who assumed the characters
with great vivacity. Surely it was the same, and the Grand Duke
had treated the Herr to this special courtesy. Yes--there was one
pretty, blonde young lady--the Fraulein Wimpfenbuttel, a most
popular soubrette, who would play it to the life! And the
description fitted her to a hair! Ah, there was no doubt of it;
many persons, indeed, had been so deceived.
But happily, now that he had given him the wink, the Herr could
corroborate it himself by going to the theater tonight. Ah, it
would be a great joke--quite colossal! if he took a front seat
where she could see him. And the good man rubbed his hands in
Hoffman had listened to him with a slow repugnance that was only
equal to his gradual conviction that the explanation was a true
one, and that he himself had been ridiculously deceived. The
mystery of his fair companion's costume, which he had accepted as
part of the "show"; the inconsistency of her manner and her evident
occupation; her undeniable wish to terminate the whole episode with
that single interview; her mingling of worldly aplomb and rustic
innocence; her perfect self-control and experienced acceptance of
his gallantry under the simulated attitude of simplicity--all now
struck him as perfectly comprehensible. He recalled the actress's
inimitable touch in certain picturesque realistic details in the
dairy--which she had not spared him; he recognized it now even in
their bowered confidences (how like a pretty ballet scene their
whole interview on the rustic bench was!), and it breathed through
their entire conversation--to their theatrical parting at the
close! And the whole story of the photograph was, no doubt, as
pure a dramatic invention as the rest! The Princess's romantic
interest in him--that Princess who had never appeared (why had he
not detected the old, well-worn, sentimental situation here?)--was
all a part of it. The dark, mysterious hint of his persecution by
the police was a necessary culmination to the little farce. Thank
Heaven! he had not "risen" at the Princess, even if he had given
himself away to the clever actress in her own humble role. Then
the humor of the whole situation predominated and he laughed until
the tears came to his eyes, and his forgotten ancestors might have
turned over in their graves without his heeding them. And with
this humanizing influence upon him he went to the theater.
It was capacious even for the town, and although the performance
was a special one he had no difficulty in getting a whole box to
himself. He tried to avoid this public isolation by sitting close
to the next box, where there was a solitary occupant--an officer--
apparently as lonely as himself. He had made up his mind that when
his fair deceiver appeared he would let her see by his significant
applause that he recognized her, but bore no malice for the trick
she had played on him. After all, he had kissed her--he had no
right to complain. If she should recognize him, and this
recognition led to a withdrawal of her prohibition, and their
better acquaintance, he would be a fool to cavil at her pleasant
artifice. Her vocation was certainly a more independent and
original one than that he had supposed; for its social quality and
inequality he cared nothing. He found himself longing for the
glance of her calm blue eyes, for the pleasant smile that broke the
seriousness of her sweetly restrained lips. There was no doubt
that he should know her even as the heroine of DER CZAR UND DER
ZIMMERMANN on the bill before him. He was becoming impatient. And
the performance evidently was waiting. A stir in the outer
gallery, the clatter of sabers, the filing of uniforms into the
royal box, and a triumphant burst from the orchestra showed the
cause. As a few ladies and gentlemen in full evening dress emerged
from the background of uniforms and took their places in the front
of the box, Hoffman looked with some interest for the romantic
Princess. Suddenly he saw a face and shoulders in a glitter of
diamonds that startled him, and then a glance that transfixed him.
He leaned over to his neighbor. "Who is the young lady in the
"The Princess Alexandrine."
"I mean the young lady in blue with blond hair and blue eyes."
"It is the Princess Alexandrine Elsbeth Marie Stephanie, the
daughter of the Grand Duke--there is none other there."
He sat silently looking at the rising curtain and the stage. Then
be rose quietly, gathered his hat and coat, and left the box. When
he reached the gallery he turned instinctively and looked back at
the royal box. Her eyes had followed him, and as he remained a
moment motionless in the doorway her lips parted in a grateful
smile, and she waved her fan with a faint but unmistakable gesture
The next morning he left Alstadt. There was some little delay at
the Zoll on the frontier, and when Hoffman received back his trunk
it was accompanied by a little sealed packet which was handed to
him by the Customhouse Inspector. Hoffman did not open it until he
There hangs upon the wall of his modest apartment in New York a
narrow, irregular photograph ingeniously framed, of himself
standing side by side with a young German girl, who, in the
estimation of his compatriots, is by no means stylish and only
passably good-looking. When he is joked by his friends about the
post of honor given to this production, and questioned as to the
lady, he remains silent. The Princess Alexandrine Elsbeth Marie
Stephanie von Westphalen-Alstadt, among her other royal qualities,
knew whom to trust.
THE DEVOTION OF ENRIQUEZ
In another chronicle which dealt with the exploits of "Chu Chu," a
Californian mustang, I gave some space to the accomplishments of
Enriquez Saltillo, who assisted me in training her, and who was
also brother to Consuelo Saitillo, the young lady to whom I had
freely given both the mustang and my youthful affections. I
consider it a proof of the superiority of masculine friendship that
neither the subsequent desertion of the mustang nor that of the
young lady ever made the slightest difference to Enriquez or me in
our exalted amity. To a wondering doubt as to what I ever could
possibly have seen in his sister to admire he joined a tolerant
skepticism of the whole sex. This he was wont to express in that
marvelous combination of Spanish precision and California slang for
which he was justly famous. "As to thees women and their little
game," he would say, "believe me, my friend, your old Oncle 'Enry
is not in it. No; he will ever take a back seat when lofe is
around. For why? Regard me here! If she is a horse, you shall
say, 'She will buck-jump,' 'She will ess-shy,' 'She will not
arrive,' or 'She will arrive too quick.' But if it is thees women,
where are you? For when you shall say, 'She will ess-shy,' look
you, she will walk straight; or she will remain tranquil when you
think she buck-jump; or else she will arrive and, look you, you
will not. You shall get left. It is ever so. My father and the
brother of my father have both make court to my mother when she was
but a senorita. My father think she have lofe his brother more.
So he say to her: 'It is enofe; tranquillize yourself. I will go.
I will efface myself. Adios! Shake hands! Ta-ta! So long! See
you again in the fall.' And what make my mother? Regard me! She
marry my father--on the instant! Of thees women, believe me,
Pancho, you shall know nothing. Not even if they shall make you
the son of your father or his nephew."
I have recalled this characteristic speech to show the general
tendency of Enriquez' convictions at the opening of this little
story. It is only fair to say, however, that his usual attitude
toward the sex he so cheerfully maligned exhibited little
apprehension or caution in dealing with them. Among the frivolous
and light-minded intermixture of his race he moved with great
freedom and popularity. He danced well; when we went to fandangos
together his agility and the audacity of his figures always
procured him the prettiest partners, his professed sentiments, I
presume, shielding him from subsequent jealousies, heartburnings,
or envy. I have a vivid recollection of him in the mysteries of
the SEMICUACUA, a somewhat corybantic dance which left much to the
invention of the performers, and very little to the imagination of
the spectator. In one of the figures a gaudy handkerchief, waved
more or less gracefully by dancer and danseuse before the dazzled
eyes of each other, acted as love's signal, and was used to express
alternate admiration and indifference, shyness and audacity, fear
and transport, coyness and coquetry, as the dance proceeded. I
need not say that Enriquez' pantomimic illustration of these
emotions was peculiarly extravagant; but it was always performed
and accepted with a gravity that was an essential feature of the
dance. At such times sighs would escape him which were supposed to
portray the incipient stages of passion; snorts of jealousy burst
from him at the suggestion of a rival; he was overtaken by a sort
of St. Vitus's dance that expressed his timidity in making the
first advances of affection; the scorn of his ladylove struck him
with something like a dumb ague; and a single gesture of invitation
from her produced marked delirium. All this was very like
Enriquez; but on the particular occasion to which I refer, I think
no one was prepared to see him begin the figure with the waving of
FOUR handkerchiefs! Yet this he did, pirouetting, capering,
brandishing his silken signals like a ballerina's scarf in the
languishment or fire of passion, until, in a final figure, where
the conquered and submitting fair one usually sinks into the arms
of her partner, need it be said that the ingenious Enriquez was
found in the center of the floor supporting four of the dancers!
Yet he was by no means unduly excited either by the plaudits of the
crowd or by his evident success with the fair. "Ah, believe me, it
is nothing," he said quietly, rolling a fresh cigarette as he
leaned against the doorway. "Possibly, I shall have to offer the
chocolate or the wine to thees girls, or make to them a promenade
in the moonlight on the veranda. It is ever so. Unless, my
friend," he said, suddenly turning toward me in an excess of
chivalrous self-abnegation, "unless you shall yourself take my
place. Behold, I gif them to you! I vamos! I vanish! I make
track! I skedaddle!" I think he would have carried his
extravagance to the point of summoning his four gypsy witches of
partners, and committing them to my care, if the crowd had not at
that moment parted before the remaining dancers, and left one of
the onlookers, a tall, slender girl, calmly surveying them through
gold-rimmed eyeglasses in complete critical absorption. I stared
in amazement and consternation; for I recognized in the fair
stranger Miss Urania Mannersley, the Congregational minister's
Everybody knew Rainie Mannersley throughout the length and breadth
of the Encinal. She was at once the envy and the goad of the
daughters of those Southwestern and Eastern immigrants who had
settled in the valley. She was correct, she was critical, she was
faultless and observant. She was proper, yet independent; she was
highly educated; she was suspected of knowing Latin and Greek; she
even spelled correctly! She could wither the plainest field
nosegay in the hands of other girls by giving the flowers their
botanical names. She never said "Ain't you?" but "Aren't you?"
She looked upon "Did I which?" as an incomplete and imperfect form
of "What did I do?" She quoted from Browning and Tennyson, and was
believed to have read them. She was from Boston. What could she
possibly be doing at a free-and-easy fandango?
Even if these facts were not already familiar to everyone there,
her outward appearance would have attracted attention. Contrasted
with the gorgeous red, black, and yellow skirts of the dancers, her
plain, tightly fitting gown and hat, all of one delicate gray, were
sufficiently notable in themselves, even had they not seemed, like
the girl herself, a kind of quiet protest to the glaring flounces
before her. Her small, straight waist and flat back brought into
greater relief the corsetless, waistless, swaying figures of the
Mexican girls, and her long, slim, well-booted feet, peeping from
the stiff, white edges of her short skirt, made their broad, low-
quartered slippers, held on by the big toe, appear more
preposterous than ever. Suddenly she seemed to realize that she
was standing there alone, but without fear or embarrassment. She
drew back a little, glancing carelessly behind her as if missing
some previous companion, and then her eyes fell upon mine. She
smiled an easy recognition; then a moment later, her glance rested
more curiously upon Enriquez, who was still by my side. I
disengaged myself and instantly joined her, particularly as I
noticed that a few of the other bystanders were beginning to stare
at her with little reserve.
"Isn't it the most extraordinary thing you ever saw?" she said
quietly. Then, presently noticing the look of embarrassment on my
face, she went on, more by way of conversation than of explanation:
"I just left uncle making a call on a parishioner next door, and
was going home with Jocasta (a peon servant of her uncle's), when I
heard the music, and dropped in. I don't know what has become of
her," she added, glancing round the room again; "she seemed
perfectly wild when she saw that creature over there bounding about
with his handkerchiefs. You were speaking to him just now. Do
tell me--is he real?"
"I should think there was little doubt of that," I said with a
"You know what I mean," she said simply. "Is he quite sane? Does
he do that because he likes it, or is he paid for it?"
This was too much. I pointed out somewhat hurriedly that he was a
scion of one of the oldest Castilian families, that the performance
was a national gypsy dance which he had joined in as a patriot and
a patron, and that he was my dearest friend. At the same time I
was conscious that I wished she hadn't seen his last performance.
"You don't mean to say that all that he did was in the dance?" she
said. "I don't believe it. It was only like him." As I hesitated
over this palpable truth, she went on: "I do wish he'd do it again.
Don't you think you could make him?"
"Perhaps he might if YOU asked him," I said a little maliciously.
"Of course I shouldn't do that," she returned quietly. "All the
same, I do believe he is really going to do it--or something else.
I looked, and to my horror saw that Enriquez, possibly incited by
the delicate gold eyeglasses of Miss Mannersley, had divested
himself of his coat, and was winding the four handkerchiefs, tied
together, picturesquely around his waist, preparatory to some new
performance. I tried furtively to give him a warning look, but in
"Isn't he really too absurd for anything?" said Miss Mannersley,
yet with a certain comfortable anticipation in her voice. "You
know, I never saw anything like this before. I wouldn't have
believed such a creature could have existed."
Even had I succeeded in warning him, I doubt if it would have been
of any avail. For, seizing a guitar from one of the musicians, he
struck a few chords, and suddenly began to zigzag into the center
of the floor, swaying his body languishingly from side to side in
time with the music and the pitch of a thin Spanish tenor. It was
a gypsy love song. Possibly Miss Mannersley's lingual
accomplishments did not include a knowledge of Castilian, but she
could not fail to see that the gestures and illustrative pantomime
were addressed to her. Passionately assuring her that she was the
most favored daughter of the Virgin, that her eyes were like votive
tapers, and yet in the same breath accusing her of being a
"brigand" and "assassin" in her attitude toward "his heart," he
balanced with quivering timidity toward her, threw an imaginary
cloak in front of her neat boots as a carpet for her to tread on,
and with a final astonishing pirouette and a languishing twang of
his guitar, sank on one knee, and blew, with a rose, a kiss at her
If I had been seriously angry with him before for his grotesque
extravagance, I could have pitied him now for the young girl's
absolute unconsciousness of anything but his utter ludicrousness.
The applause of dancers and bystanders was instantaneous and
hearty; her only contribution to it was a slight parting of her
thin red lips in a half-incredulous smile. In the silence that
followed the applause, as Enriquez walked pantingly away, I heard
her saying, half to herself, "Certainly a most extraordinary
creature!" In my indignation I could not help turning suddenly
upon her and looking straight into her eyes. They were brown, with
that peculiar velvet opacity common to the pupils of nearsighted
persons, and seemed to defy internal scrutiny. She only repeated
carelessly, "Isn't he?" and added: "Please see if you can find
Jocasta. I suppose we ought to be going now; and I dare say he
won't be doing it again. Ah! there she is. Good gracious, child!
what have you got there?"
It was Enriquez' rose which Jocasta had picked up, and was timidly
holding out toward her mistress.
"Heavens! I don't want it. Keep it yourself."
I walked with them to the door, as I did not fancy a certain
glitter in the black eyes of the Senoritas Manuela and Pepita, who
were watching her curiously. But I think she was as oblivious of
this as she was of Enriquez' particular attentions. As we reached
the street I felt that I ought to say something more.
"You know," I began casually, "that although those poor people meet
here in this public way, their gathering is really quite a homely
pastoral and a national custom; and these girls are all honest,
hardworking peons or servants enjoying themselves in quite the old
"Certainly," said the young girl, half-abstractedly. "Of course
it's a Moorish dance, originally brought over, I suppose, by those
old Andalusian immigrants two hundred years ago. It's quite Arabic
in its suggestions. I have got something like it in an old
CANCIONERO I picked up at a bookstall in Boston. But," she added,
with a gasp of reminiscent satisfaction, "that's not like HIM! Oh,
no! HE is decidedly original. Heavens! yes."
I turned away in some discomfiture to join Enriquez, who was calmly
awaiting me, with a cigarette in his mouth, outside the sala. Yet
he looked so unconscious of any previous absurdity that I hesitated
in what I thought was a necessary warning. He, however, quickly
precipitated it. Glancing after the retreating figures of the two
women, he said: "Thees mees from Boston is return to her house.
You do not accompany her? I shall. Behold me--I am there." But I
linked my arm firmly in his. Then I pointed out, first, that she
was already accompanied by a servant; secondly, that if I, who knew
her, had hesitated to offer myself as an escort, it was hardly
proper for him, a perfect stranger, to take that liberty; that Miss
Mannersley was very punctilious of etiquette, which he, as a
Castilian gentleman, ought to appreciate.
"But will she not regard lofe--the admiration excessif?" he said,
twirling his thin little mustache meditatively.
"No; she will not," I returned sharply; "and you ought to
understand that she is on a different level from your Manuelas and
"Pardon, my friend," he said gravely; "thees women are ever the
same. There is a proverb in my language. Listen: 'Whether the
sharp blade of the Toledo pierce the satin or the goatskin, it
shall find behind it ever the same heart to wound.' I am that
Toledo blade--possibly it is you, my friend. Wherefore, let us
together pursue this girl of Boston on the instant."
But I kept my grasp on Enriquez' arm, and succeeded in restraining
his mercurial impulses for the moment. He halted, and puffed
vigorously at his cigarette; but the next instant he started
forward again. "Let us, however, follow with discretion in the
rear; we shall pass her house; we shall gaze at it; it shall touch
Ridiculous as was this following of the young girl we had only just
parted from, I nevertheless knew that Enriquez was quite capable of
attempting it alone, and I thought it better to humor him by
consenting to walk with him in that direction; but I felt it
necessary to say:
"I ought to warn you that Miss Mannersley already looks upon your
performances at the sala as something outre and peculiar, and if I
were you I shouldn't do anything to deepen that impression."
"You are saying she ees shock?" said Enriquez, gravely.
I felt I could not conscientiously say that she was shocked, and he
saw my hesitation. "Then she have jealousy of the senoritas," he
observed, with insufferable complacency. "You observe! I have
already said. It is ever so."
I could stand it no longer. "Look here, Harry," I said, "if you
must know it, she looks upon you as an acrobat--a paid performer."
"Ah!"--his black eyes sparkled--"the torero, the man who fights the
bull, he is also an acrobat."
"Yes; but she thinks you a clown!--a GRACIOSO DE TEATRO--there!"
"Then I have make her laugh?" he said coolly.
I don't think he had; but I shrugged my shoulders.
"BUENO!" he said cheerfully. "Lofe, he begin with a laugh, he make
feenish with a sigh."
I turned to look at him in the moonlight. His face presented its
habitual Spanish gravity--a gravity that was almost ironical. His
small black eyes had their characteristic irresponsible audacity--
the irresponsibility of the vivacious young animal. It could not
be possible that he was really touched with the placid frigidities
of Miss Mannersley. I remembered his equally elastic gallantries
with Miss Pinkey Smith, a blonde Western belle, from which both had
harmlessly rebounded. As we walked on slowly I continued more
persuasively: "Of course this is only your nonsense; but don't you
see, Miss Mannersley thinks it all in earnest and really your
nature?" I hesitated, for it suddenly struck me that it WAS really
his nature. "And--hang it all!--you don't want her to believe you
a common buffoon., or some intoxicated muchacho."
"Intoxicated?" repeated Enriquez, with exasperating languishment.
"Yes; that is the word that shall express itself. My friend, you
have made a shot in the center--you have ring the bell every time!
It is intoxication--but not of aguardiente. Look! I have long
time an ancestor of whom is a pretty story. One day in church he
have seen a young girl--a mere peasant girl--pass to the
confessional. He look her in her eye, he stagger"--here Enriquez
wobbled pantomimically into the road--"he fall!"--he would have
suited the action to the word if I had not firmly held him up.
"They have taken him home, where he have remain without his
clothes, and have dance and sing. But it was the drunkenness of
lofe. And, look you, thees village girl was a nothing, not even
pretty. The name of my ancestor was--"
"Don Quixote de La Mancha," I suggested maliciously. "I suspected
as much. Come along. That will do."
"My ancestor's name," continued Enriquez, gravely, "was Antonio
Hermenegildo de Salvatierra, which is not the same. Thees Don
Quixote of whom you speak exist not at all."
"Never mind. Only, for heaven's sake, as we are nearing the house,
don't make a fool of yourself again."
It was a wonderful moonlight night. The deep redwood porch of the
Mannersley parsonage, under the shadow of a great oak--the largest
in the Encinal--was diapered in black and silver. As the women
stepped upon the porch their shadows were silhouetted against the
door. Miss Mannersley paused for an instant, and turned to give a
last look at the beauty of the night as Jocasta entered. Her
glance fell upon us as we passed. She nodded carelessly and
unaffectedly to me, but as she recognized Enriquez she looked a
little longer at him with her previous cold and invincible
curiosity. To my horror Enriquez began instantly to affect a
slight tremulousness of gait and a difficulty of breathing; but I
gripped his arm savagely, and managed to get him past the house as
the door closed finally on the young lady.
"You do not comprehend, friend Pancho," he said gravely, "but those
eyes in their glass are as the ESPEJO USTORIO, the burning mirror.
They burn, they consume me here like paper. Let us affix to
ourselves thees tree. She will, without doubt, appear at her
window. We shall salute her for good night."
"We will do nothing of the kind," I said sharply. Finding that I
was determined, he permitted me to lead him away. I was delighted
to notice, however, that he had indicated the window which I knew
was the minister's study, and that as the bedrooms were in the rear
of the house, this later incident was probably not overseen by the
young lady or the servant. But I did not part from Enriquez until
I saw him safely back to the sala, where I left him sipping
chocolate, his arm alternating around the waists of his two
previous partners in a delightful Arcadian and childlike
simplicity, and an apparent utter forgetfulness of Miss Mannersley.
The fandangos were usually held on Saturday night, and the next
day, being Sunday, 1 missed Enriquez; but as he was a devout
Catholic I remembered that he was at mass in the morning, and
possibly at the bullfight at San Antonio in the afternoon. But I
was somewhat surprised on the Monday morning following, as I was
crossing the plaza, to have my arm taken by the Rev. Mr. Mannersley
in the nearest approach to familiarity that was consistent with the
reserve of this eminent divine. I looked at him inquiringly.
Although scrupulously correct in attire, his features always had a
singular resemblance to the national caricature known as "Uncle
Sam," but with the humorous expression left out. Softly stroking
his goatee with three fingers, he began condescendingly: "You are,
I think, more or less familiar with the characteristics and customs
of the Spanish as exhibited by the settlers here." A thrill of
apprehension went through me. Had he heard of Enriquez'
proceedings? Had Miss Mannersley cruelly betrayed him to her
uncle? "I have not given that attention myself to their language
and social peculiarities," he continued, with a large wave of the
hand, "being much occupied with a study of their religious beliefs
and superstitions"--it struck me that this was apt to be a common
fault of people of the Mannersley type--"but I have refrained from
a personal discussion of them; on the contrary, I have held
somewhat broad views on the subject of their remarkable missionary
work, and have suggested a scheme of co-operation with them, quite
independent of doctrinal teaching, to my brethren of other
Protestant Christian sects. These views I first incorporated in a
sermon last Sunday week, which I am told has created considerable
attention." He stopped and coughed slightly. "I have not yet
heard from any of the Roman clergy, but I am led to believe that my
remarks were not ungrateful to Catholics generally."
I was relieved, although still in some wonder why he should address
me on this topic. I had a vague remembrance of having heard that
he had said something on Sunday which had offended some Puritans of
his flock, but nothing more. He continued: "I have just said that
I was unacquainted with the characteristics of the Spanish-American
race. I presume, however, they have the impulsiveness of their
Latin origin. They gesticulate--eh? They express their gratitude,
their joy, their affection, their emotions generally, by spasmodic
movements? They naturally dance--sing--eh?" A horrible suspicion
crossed my mind; I could only stare helplessly at him. "I see," he
said graciously; "perhaps it is a somewhat general question. I
will explain myself. A rather singular occurrence happened to me
the other night. I had returned from visiting a parishioner, and
was alone in my study reviewing my sermon for the next day. It
must have been quite late before I concluded, for I distinctly
remember my niece had returned with her servant fully an hour
before. Presently I heard the sounds of a musical instrument in
the road, with the accents of someone singing or rehearsing some
metrical composition in words that, although couched in a language
foreign to me, in expression and modulation gave me the impression
of being distinctly adulatory. For some little time, in the
greater preoccupation of my task, I paid little attention to the
performance; but its persistency at length drew me in no mere idle
curiosity to the window. From thence, standing in my dressing-
gown, and believing myself unperceived, I noticed under the large
oak in the roadside the figure of a young man who, by the imperfect
light, appeared to be of Spanish extraction. But I evidently
miscalculated my own invisibility; for he moved rapidly forward as
I came to the window, and in a series of the most extraordinary
pantomimic gestures saluted me. Beyond my experience of a few
Greek plays in earlier days, I confess I am not an adept in the
understanding of gesticulation; but it struck me that the various
phases of gratitude, fervor, reverence, and exaltation were
successively portrayed. He placed his hands upon his head, his
heart, and even clasped them together in this manner." To my
consternation the reverend gentleman here imitated Enriquez' most
extravagant pantomime. "I am willing to confess," he continued,
"that I was singularly moved by them, as well as by the highly
creditable and Christian interest that evidently produced them. At
last I opened the window. Leaning out, I told him that I regretted
that the lateness of the hour prevented any further response from
me than a grateful though hurried acknowledgment of his
praiseworthy emotion, but that I should be glad to see him for a
few moments in the vestry before service the next day, or at early
candlelight, before the meeting of the Bible class. I told him
that as my sole purpose had been the creation of an evangelical
brotherhood and the exclusion of merely doctrinal views, nothing
could be more gratifying to me than his spontaneous and unsolicited
testimony to my motives. He appeared for an instant to be deeply
affected, and, indeed, quite overcome with emotion, and then
gracefully retired, with some agility and a slight saltatory
He paused. A sudden and overwhelming idea took possession of me,
and I looked impulsively into his face. Was it possible that for
once Enriquez' ironical extravagance had been understood, met, and
vanquished by a master hand? But the Rev. Mr. Mannersley's self-
satisfied face betrayed no ambiguity or lurking humor. He was
evidently in earnest; he had complacently accepted for himself the
abandoned Enriquez' serenade to his niece. I felt a hysterical
desire to laugh, but it was checked by my companion's next words.
"I informed my niece of the occurrence in the morning at breakfast.
She had not heard anything of the strange performance, but she
agreed with me as to its undoubted origin in a grateful recognition
of my liberal efforts toward his coreligionists. It was she, in
fact, who suggested that your knowledge of these people might
corroborate my impressions."
I was dumfounded. Had Miss Mannersley, who must have recognized
Enriquez' hand in this, concealed the fact in a desire to shield
him? But this was so inconsistent with her utter indifference to
him, except as a grotesque study, that she would have been more
likely to tell her uncle all about his previous performance. Nor
could it be that she wished to conceal her visit to the fandango.
She was far too independent for that, and it was even possible that
the reverend gentleman, in his desire to know more of Enriquez'
compatriots, would not have objected. In my confusion I meekly
added my conviction to hers, congratulated him upon his evident
success, and slipped away. But I was burning with a desire to see
Enriquez and know all. He was imaginative but not untruthful.
Unfortunately, I learned that he was just then following one of his
erratic impulses, and had gone to a rodeo at his cousin's, in the
foothills, where he was alternately exercising his horsemanship in
catching and breaking wild cattle and delighting his relatives with
his incomparable grasp of the American language and customs, and of
the airs of a young man of fashion. Then my thoughts recurred to
Miss Mannersley. Had she really been oblivious that night to
Enriquez' serenade? I resolved to find out, if I could, without
betraying Enriquez. Indeed, it was possible, after all, that it
might not have been he.
Chance favored me. The next evening I was at a party where Miss
Mannersley, by reason of her position and quality, was a
distinguished--I had almost written a popular--guest. But, as I
have formerly stated, although the youthful fair of the Encinal
were flattered by her casual attentions, and secretly admired her
superior style and aristocratic calm, they were more or less uneasy
under the dominance of her intelligence and education, and were
afraid to attempt either confidence or familiarity. They were also
singularly jealous of her, for although the average young man was
equally afraid of her cleverness and her candor, he was not above
paying a tremulous and timid court to her for its effect upon her
humbler sisters. This evening she was surrounded by her usual
satellites, including, of course, the local notables and special
guests of distinction. She had been discussing, I think, the
existence of glaciers on Mount Shasta with a spectacled geologist,
and had participated with charming frankness in a conversation on
anatomy with the local doctor and a learned professor, when she was
asked to take a seat at the piano. She played with remarkable
skill and wonderful precision, but coldly and brilliantly. As she
sat there in her subdued but perfectly fitting evening dress, her
regular profile and short but slender neck firmly set upon her high
shoulders, exhaling an atmosphere of refined puritanism and
provocative intelligence, the utter incongruity of Enriquez'
extravagant attentions if ironical, and their equal hopelessness if
not, seemed to me plainer than ever. What had this well-poised,
coldly observant spinster to do with that quaintly ironic ruffler,
that romantic cynic, that rowdy Don Quixote, that impossible
Enriquez? Presently she ceased playing. Her slim, narrow slipper,
revealing her thin ankle, remained upon the pedal; her delicate
fingers were resting idly on the keys; her head was slightly thrown
back, and her narrow eyebrows prettily knit toward the ceiling in
an effort of memory.
"Something of Chopin's," suggested the geologist, ardently.
"That exquisite sonata!" pleaded the doctor.
"Suthin' of Rubinstein. Heard him once," said a gentleman of
Siskiyou. "He just made that pianner get up and howl. Play Rube."
She shook her head with parted lips and a slight touch of girlish
coquetry in her manner. Then her fingers suddenly dropped upon the
keys with a glassy tinkle; there were a few quick pizzicato chords,
down went the low pedal with a monotonous strumming, and she
presently began to hum to herself. I started--as well I might--for
I recognized one of Enriquez' favorite and most extravagant guitar
solos. It was audacious; it was barbaric; it was, I fear, vulgar.
As I remembered it--as he sang it--it recounted the adventures of
one Don Francisco, a provincial gallant and roisterer of the most
objectionable type. It had one hundred and four verses, which
Enriquez never spared me. I shuddered as in a pleasant, quiet
voice the correct Miss Mannersley warbled in musical praise of the
PELLEJO, or wineskin, and a eulogy of the dicebox came caressingly
from her thin red lips. But the company was far differently
affected: the strange, wild air and wilder accompaniment were
evidently catching; people moved toward the piano; somebody
whistled the air from a distant corner; even the faces of the
geologist and doctor brightened.
"A tarantella, I presume?" blandly suggested the doctor.
Miss Mannersley stopped, and rose carelessly from the piano. "It
is a Moorish gypsy song of the fifteenth century," she said dryly.
"It seemed sorter familiar, too," hesitated one of the young men,
timidly, "like as if--don't you know?--you had without knowing it,
don't you know?"--he blushed slightly--"sorter picked it up
"I 'picked it up,' as you call it, in the collection of medieval
manuscripts of the Harvard Library, and copied it," returned Miss
Mannersley coldly as she turned away.
But I was not inclined to let her off so easily. I presently made
my way to her side. "Your uncle was complimentary enough to
consult me as to the meaning of the appearance of a certain
exuberant Spanish visitor at his house the other night." I looked
into her brown eyes, but my own slipped off her velvety pupils
without retaining anything. Then she reinforced her gaze with a
pince-nez, and said carelessly:
"Oh, it's you? How are you? Well, could you give him any
"Only generally," I returned, still looking into her eyes. "These
people are impulsive. The Spanish blood is a mixture of gold and
She smiled slightly. "That reminds me of your volatile friend. He
was mercurial enough, certainly. Is he still dancing?"
"And singing sometimes," I responded pointedly. But she only added
casually, "A singular creature," without exhibiting the least
consciousness, and drifted away, leaving me none the wiser. I felt
that Enriquez alone could enlighten me. I must see him.
I did, but not in the way I expected. There was a bullfight at San
Antonio the next Saturday afternoon, the usual Sunday performance
being changed in deference to the Sabbatical habits of the
Americans. An additional attraction was offered in the shape of a
bull-and-bear fight, also a concession to American taste, which had
voted the bullfight "slow," and had averred that the bull "did not
get a fair show." I am glad that I am able to spare the reader the
usual realistic horrors, for in the Californian performances there
was very little of the brutality that distinguished this function
in the mother country. The horses were not miserable, worn-out
hacks, but young and alert mustangs; and the display of
horsemanship by the picadors was not only wonderful, but secured an
almost absolute safety to horse and rider. I never saw a horse
gored; although unskillful riders were sometimes thrown in wheeling
quickly to avoid the bull's charge, they generally regained their
animals without injury.
The Plaza de Toros was reached through the decayed and tile-strewn
outskirts of an old Spanish village. It was a rudely built oval
amphitheater, with crumbling, whitewashed adobe walls, and roofed
only over portions of the gallery reserved for the provincial
"notables," but now occupied by a few shopkeepers and their wives,
with a sprinkling of American travelers and ranchmen. The
impalpable adobe dust of the arena was being whirled into the air
by the strong onset of the afternoon trade winds, which happily,
however, helped also to dissipate a reek of garlic, and the acrid
fumes of cheap tobacco rolled in cornhusk cigarettes. I was
leaning over the second barrier, waiting for the meager and
circuslike procession to enter with the keys of the bull pen, when
my attention was attracted to a movement in the reserved gallery.
A lady and gentleman of a quality that was evidently unfamiliar to
the rest of the audience were picking their way along the rickety
benches to a front seat. I recognized the geologist with some
surprise, and the lady he was leading with still greater
astonishment. For it was Miss Mannersley, in her precise, well-
fitting walking-costume--a monotone of sober color among the parti-
However, I was perhaps less surprised than the audience, for I was
not only becoming as accustomed to the young girl's vagaries as I
had been to Enriquez' extravagance, but I was also satisfied that
her uncle might have given her permission to come, as a recognition
of the Sunday concession of the management, as well as to
conciliate his supposed Catholic friends. I watched her sitting
there until the first bull had entered, and, after a rather brief
play with the picadors and banderilleros, was dispatched. At the
moment when the matador approached the bull with his lethal weapon
I was not sorry for an excuse to glance at Miss Mannersley. Her
hands were in her lap, her head slightly bent forward over her
knees. I fancied that she, too, had dropped her eyes before the
brutal situation; to my horror, I saw that she had a drawing-book
in her hand and was actually sketching it. I turned my eyes in
preference to the dying bull.
The second animal led out for this ingenious slaughter was,
however, more sullen, uncertain, and discomposing to his butchers.
He accepted the irony of a trial with gloomy, suspicious eyes, and
he declined the challenge of whirling and insulting picadors. He
bristled with banderillas like a hedgehog, but remained with his
haunches backed against the barrier, at times almost hidden in the
fine dust raised by the monotonous stroke of his sullenly pawing
hoof--his one dull, heavy protest. A vague uneasiness had infected
his adversaries; the picadors held aloof, the banderilleros
skirmished at a safe distance. The audience resented only the
indecision of the bull. Galling epithets were flung at him,
followed by cries of "ESPADA!" and, curving his elbow under his
short cloak, the matador, with his flashing blade in hand, advanced
and--stopped. The bull remained motionless.
For at that moment a heavier gust of wind than usual swept down
upon the arena, lifted a suffocating cloud of dust, and whirled it
around the tiers of benches and the balcony, and for a moment
seemed to stop the performance. I heard an exclamation from the
geologist, who had risen to his feet. I fancied I heard even a
faint cry from Miss Mannersley; but the next moment, as the dust
was slowly settling, we saw a sheet of paper in the air, that had
been caught up in this brief cyclone, dropping, dipping from side
to side on uncertain wings, until it slowly descended in the very
middle of the arena. It was a leaf from Miss Mannersley's
sketchbook, the one on which she had been sketching.
In the pause that followed it seemed to be the one object that at
last excited the bull's growing but tardy ire. He glanced at it
with murky, distended eyes; he snorted at it with vague yet
troubled fury. Whether he detected his own presentment in Miss
Mannersley's sketch, or whether he recognized it as an unknown and
unfamiliar treachery in his surroundings, I could not conjecture;
for the next moment the matador, taking advantage of the bull's
concentration, with a complacent leer at the audience, advanced
toward the paper. But at that instant a young man cleared the
barrier into the arena with a single bound, shoved the matador to
one side, caught up the paper, turned toward the balcony and Miss
Mannersley with a gesture of apology, dropped gaily before the
bull, knelt down before him with an exaggerated humility, and held
up the drawing as if for his inspection. A roar of applause broke
from the audience, a cry of warning and exasperation from the
attendants, as the goaded bull suddenly charged the stranger. But
he sprang to one side with great dexterity, made a courteous
gesture to the matador as if passing the bull over to him, and
still holding the paper in his hand, re-leaped the barrier, and
rejoined the audience in safety. I did not wait to see the deadly,
dominant thrust with which the matador received the charging bull;
my eyes were following the figure now bounding up the steps to the
balcony, where with an exaggerated salutation he laid the drawing
in Miss Mannersley's lap and vanished. There was no mistaking that
thin lithe form, the narrow black mustache, and gravely dancing
eyes. The audacity of conception, the extravagance of execution,
the quaint irony of the sequel, could belong to no one but
I hurried up to her as the six yoked mules dragged the carcass of
the bull away. She was placidly putting up her book, the unmoved
focus of a hundred eager and curious eyes. She smiled slightly as
she saw me. "I was just telling Mr. Briggs what an extraordinary
creature it was, and how you knew him. He must have had great
experience to do that sort of thing so cleverly and safely. Does
he do it often? Of course, not just that. But does he pick up
cigars and things that I see they throw to the matador? Does he
belong to the management? Mr. Briggs thinks the whole thing was a
feint to distract the bull," she added, with a wicked glance at the
geologist, who, I fancied, looked disturbed.
"I am afraid," I said dryly, "that his act was as unpremeditated
and genuine as it was unusual."
It was a matter-of-fact question, but I instantly saw my mistake.
What right had I to assume that Enriquez' attentions were any more
genuine than her own easy indifference; and if I suspected that
they were, was it fair in me to give my friend away to this
heartless coquette? "You are not very gallant," she said, with a
slight laugh, as I was hesitating, and turned away with her escort
before I could frame a reply. But at least Enriquez was now
accessible, and I should gain some information from him. I knew
where to find him, unless he were still lounging about the
building, intent upon more extravagance; but I waited until I saw
Miss Mannersley and Briggs depart without further interruption.
The hacienda of Ramon Saltillo, Enriquez' cousin, was on the
outskirts of the village. When I arrived there I found Enriquez'
pinto mustang steaming in the corral, and although I was
momentarily delayed by the servants at the gateway, I was surprised
to find Enriquez himself lying languidly on his back in a hammock
in the patio. His arms were hanging down listlessly on each side
as if in the greatest prostration, yet I could not resist the
impression that the rascal had only just got into the hammock when
he heard of my arrival.
"You have arrived, friend Pancho, in time," he said, in accents of
exaggerated weakness. "I am absolutely exhaust. I am bursted,
caved in, kerflummoxed. I have behold you, my friend, at the
barrier. I speak not, I make no sign at the first, because I was
on fire; I speak not at the feenish--for I am exhaust."
"I see; the bull made it lively for you."
He instantly bounded up in the hammock. "The bull! Caramba! Not
a thousand bulls! And thees one, look you, was a craven. I snap
my fingers over his horn; I roll my cigarette under his nose."
"Well, then--what was it?"
He instantly lay down again, pulling up the sides of the hammock.
Presently his voice came from its depths, appealing in hollow tones
to the sky. "He asks me--thees friend of my soul, thees brother of
my life, thees Pancho that I lofe--what it was? He would that I
should tell him why I am game in the legs, why I shake in the hand,
crack in the voice, and am generally wipe out! And yet he, my
pardner--thees Francisco--know that I have seen the mees from
Boston! That I have gaze into the eye, touch the hand, and for the
instant possess the picture that hand have drawn! It was a sublime
picture, Pancho," he said, sitting up again suddenly, "and have
kill the bull before our friend Pepe's sword have touch even the
bone of hees back and make feenish of him."
"Look here, Enriquez," I said bluntly, "have you been serenading
He shrugged his shoulders without the least embarrassment, and
said: "Ah, yes. What would you? It is of a necessity."
"Well," I retored, "then you ought to know that her uncle took it
all to himself--thought you some grateful Catholic pleased with his
He did not even smile. "BUENO," he said gravely. "That make
something, too. In thees affair it is well to begin with the
duenna. He is the duenna."
"And," I went on relentlessly, "her escort told her just now that
your exploit in the bull ring was only a trick to divert the bull,
suggested by the management."
"Bah! her escort is a geologian. Naturally, she is to him as a
I would have continued, but a peon interrupted us at this moment
with a sign to Enriquez, who leaped briskly from the hammock,
bidding me wait his return from a messenger in the gateway.
Still unsatisfied of mind, I waited, and sat down in the hammock
that Enriquez had quitted. A scrap of paper was lying in its
meshes, which at first appeared to be of the kind from which
Enriquez rolled his cigarettes; but as I picked it up to throw it
away, I found it was of much firmer and stouter material. Looking
at it more closely, I was surprised to recognize it as a piece of
the tinted drawing-paper torn off the "block" that Miss Mannersley
had used. It had been deeply creased at right angles as if it had
been folded; it looked as if it might have been the outer half of a
sheet used for a note.
It might have been a trifling circumstance, but it greatly excited
my curiosity. I knew that he had returned the sketch to Miss
Mannersley, for I had seen it in her hand. Had she given him
another? And if so, why had it been folded to the destruction of
the drawing? Or was it part of a note which he had destroyed? In
the first impulse of discovery I walked quickly with it toward the
gateway where Enriquez had disappeared, intending to restore it to
him. He was just outside talking with a young girl. I started,
for it was Jocasta--Miss Mannersley's maid.
With this added discovery came that sense of uneasiness and
indignation with which we illogically are apt to resent the
withholding of a friend's confidence, even in matters concerning
only himself. It was no use for me to reason that it was no
business of mine, that he was right in keeping a secret that
concerned another--and a lady; but I was afraid I was even more
meanly resentful because the discovery quite upset my theory of his
conduct and of Miss Mannersley's attitude toward him. I continued
to walk on to the gateway, where I bade Enriquez a hurried good-by,
alleging the sudden remembrance of another engagement, but without
appearing to recognize the girl, who was moving away when, to my
further discomfiture, the rascal stopped me with an appealing wink,
threw his arms around my neck, whispered hoarsely in my ear, "Ah!
you see--you comprehend--but you are the mirror of discretion!" and
returned to Jocasta. But whether this meant that he had received a
message from Miss Mannersley, or that he was trying to suborn her
maid to carry one, was still uncertain. He was capable of either.
During the next two or three weeks I saw him frequently; but as I
had resolved to try the effect of ignoring Miss Mannersley in our
conversation, I gathered little further of their relations, and, to
my surprise, after one or two characteristic extravagances of
allusion, Enriquez dropped the subject, too. Only one afternoon,
as we were parting, he said carelessly: "My friend, you are going
to the casa of Mannersley tonight. I too have the honor of the
invitation. But you will be my Mercury--my Leporello--you will
take of me a message to thees Mees Boston, that I am crushed,
desolated, prostrate, and flabbergasted--that I cannot arrive, for
I have of that night to sit up with the grand-aunt of my brother-
in-law, who has a quinsy to the death. It is sad."
This was the first indication I had received of Miss Mannersley's
advances. I was equally surprised at Enriquez' refusal.
"Nonsense!" I said bluntly. "Nothing keeps you from going."
"My friend," returned Enriquez, with a sudden lapse into languish-
ment that seemed to make him absolutely infirm, "it is everything
that shall restrain me. I am not strong. I shall become weak of
the knee and tremble under the eye of Mees Boston. I shall
precipitate myself to the geologian by the throat. Ask me another
conundrum that shall be easy."
He seemed idiotically inflexible, and did not go. But I did. I
found Miss Mannersley exquisitely dressed and looking singularly
animated and pretty. The lambent glow of her inscrutable eye as
she turned toward me might have been flattering but for my
uneasiness in regard to Enriquez. I delivered his excuses as
naturally as I could. She stiffened for an instant, and seemed an
inch higher. "I am so sorry," she said at last in a level voice.
"I thought he would have been so amusing. Indeed, I had hoped we
might try an old Moorish dance together which I have found and was
"He would have been delighted, I know. It's a great pity he didn't
come with me," I said quickly; "but," I could not help adding, with
emphasis on her words, "he is such an 'extraordinary creature,' you
"I see nothing extraordinary in his devotion to an aged relative,"
returned Miss Mannersley quietly as she turned away, "except that
it justifies my respect for his character."
I do not know why I did not relate this to him. Possibly I had
given up trying to understand them; perhaps I was beginning to have
an idea that he could take care of himself. But I was somewhat
surprised a few days later when, after asking me to go with him to
a rodeo at his uncle's he added composedly, "You will meet Mees
I stared, and but for his manner would have thought it part of his
extravagance. For the rodeo--a yearly chase of wild cattle for the
purpose of lassoing and branding them--was a rather brutal affair,
and purely a man's function; it was also a family affair--a
property stock-taking of the great Spanish cattle-owners--and
strangers, particularly Americans, found it difficult to gain
access to its mysteries and the fiesta that followed.
"But how did she get an invitation?" I asked. "You did not dare to
ask--" I began.
"My friend," said Enriquez, with a singular deliberation, "the
great and respectable Boston herself, and her serene, venerable
oncle, and other Boston magnificos, have of a truth done me the
inexpressible honor to solicit of my degraded, papistical oncle
that she shall come--that she shall of her own superior eye behold
the barbaric customs of our race."
His tone and manner were so peculiar that I stepped quickly before
him, laid my hands on his shoulders, and looked down into his face.
But the actual devil which I now for the first time saw in his eyes
went out of them suddenly, and he relapsed again in affected
languishment in his chair. "I shall be there, friend Pancho," he
said, with a preposterous gasp. "I shall nerve my arm to lasso the
bull, and tumble him before her at her feet. I shall throw the
'buck-jump' mustang at the same sacred spot. I shall pluck for her
the buried chicken at full speed from the ground, and present it to
her. You shall see it, friend Pancho. I shall be there."
He was as good as his word. When Don Pedro Amador, his uncle,
installed Miss Mannersley, with Spanish courtesy, on a raised
platform in the long valley where the rodeo took place, the gallant
Enriquez selected a bull from the frightened and galloping herd,
and, cleverly isolating him from the band, lassoed his hind legs,
and threw him exactly before the platform where Miss Mannersley was
seated. It was Enriquez who caught the unbroken mustang, sprang
from his own saddle to the bare back of his captive, and with the
lasso for a bridle, halted him on rigid haunches at Miss
Mannersley's feet. It was Enriquez who, in the sports that
followed, leaned from his saddle at full speed, caught up the
chicken buried to its head in the sand, without wringing its neck,
and tossed it unharmed and fluttering toward his mistress. As for
her, she wore the same look of animation that I had seen in her
face at our previous meeting. Although she did not bring her
sketchbook with her, as at the bullfight, she did not shrink from
the branding of the cattle, which took place under her very eyes.
Yet I had never seen her and Enriquez together; they had never, to
my actual knowledge, even exchanged words. And now, although she
was the guest of his uncle, his duties seemed to keep him in the
field, and apart from her. Nor, as far as I could detect, did
either apparently make any effort to have it otherwise. The
peculiar circumstance seemed to attract no attention from anyone
else. But for what I alone knew--or thought I knew--of their
actual relations, I should have thought them strangers.
But I felt certain that the fiesta which took place in the broad
patio of Don Pedro's casa would bring them together. And later in
the evening, as we were all sitting on the veranda watching the
dancing of the Mexican women, whose white-flounced sayas were
monotonously rising and falling to the strains of two melancholy
harps, Miss Mannersley rejoined us from the house. She seemed to
be utterly absorbed and abstracted in the barbaric dances, and
scarcely moved as she leaned over the railing with her cheek
resting on her hand. Suddenly she arose with a little cry.
"What is it?" asked two or three.
"Nothing--only I have lost my fan." She had risen, and ,was
looking abstractedly on the floor.
Half a dozen men jumped to their feet. "Let me fetch it," they
"No, thank you. I think I know where it is, and will go for it
myself." She was moving away.
But Don Pedro interposed with Spanish gravity. Such a thing was
not to be heard of in his casa. If the senorita would not permit
HIM--an old man--to go for it, it must be brought by Enriquez, her
cavalier of the day.
But Enriquez was not to be found. I glanced at Miss Mannersley's
somewhat disturbed face, and begged her to let me fetch it. I
thought I saw a flush of relief come into her pale cheek as she
said, in a lower voice, "On the stone seat in the garden."
I hurried away, leaving Don Pedro still protesting. I knew the
gardens, and the stone seat at an angle of the wall, not a dozen
yards from the casa. The moon shone full upon it. There, indeed,
lay the little gray-feathered fan. But beside it, also, lay the
crumpled black gold-embroidered riding-gauntlet that Enriquez had
worn at the rodeo.
I thrust it hurriedly into my pocket, and ran back. As I passed
through the gateway I asked a peon to send Enriquez to me. The man
stared. Did I not know that Don Enriquez had ridden away two
When I reached the veranda, I handed the fan to Miss Mannersley
without a word. "BUENO," said Don Pedro, gravely; "it is as well.
There shall be no bones broken over the getting of it, for
Enriquez, I hear, has had to return to the Encinal this very
Miss Mannersley retired early. I did not inform her of my
discovery, nor did I seek in any way to penetrate her secret.
There was no doubt that she and Enriquez had been together, perhaps
not for the first time; but what was the result of their interview?
From the young girl's demeanor and Enriquez' hurried departure, I
could only fear the worst for him. Had he been tempted into some
further extravagance and been angrily rebuked, or had he avowed a
real passion concealed under his exaggerated mask and been
deliberately rejected? I tossed uneasily half the night, following
in my dreams my poor friend's hurrying hoofbeats, and ever starting
from my sleep at what I thought was the sound of galloping hoofs.
I rose early, and lounged into the patio; but others were there
before me, and a small group of Don Pedro's family were excitedly
discussing something, and I fancied they turned away awkwardly and
consciously as I approached. There was an air of indefinite
uneasiness everywhere. A strange fear came over me with the chill
of the early morning air. Had anything happened to Enriquez? I
had always looked upon his extravagance as part of his playful
humor. Could it be possible that under the sting of rejection he
had made his grotesque threat of languishing effacement real?
Surely Miss Mannersley would know or suspect something, if it were
I approached one of the Mexican women and asked if the senorita had
risen. The woman started, and looked covertly round before she
replied. Did not Don Pancho know that Miss Mannersley and her maid
had not slept in their beds that night, but had gone, none knew
For an instant I felt an appalling sense of my own responsibility
in this suddenly serious situation, and hurried after the
retreating family group. But as I entered the corridor a vaquero
touched me on the shoulder. He had evidently just dismounted, and
was covered with the dust of the road. He handed me a note written
in pencil on a leaf from Miss Mannersley's sketchbook. It was in
Enriquez' hand, and his signature was followed by his most
Friend Pancho: When you read this line you shall of a possibility
think I am no more. That is where you shall slip up, my little
brother! I am much more--I am two times as much, for I have marry
Miss Boston. At the Mission Church, at five of the morning, sharp!
No cards shall be left! I kiss the hand of my venerable uncle-in-
law. You shall say to him that we fly to the South wilderness as
the combined evangelical missionary to the heathen! Miss Boston
herself say this. Ta-ta! How are you now?
Your own Enriquez.