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The Penance of Magdalena & Other Tales of the California Missions by J. Smeaton Chase

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Produced by David A. Schwan

The Penance of Magdalena

And Other Tales of the California Missions

By J. Smeaton Chase

With Illustrations

Foreward

Among the California Missions the southern group form a natural unit,
just as does, geographically, Southern California itself--the region
covered by the familiar California formula, "South of the Tehachapi." It
is thought that this little set of tales, extracted from the larger
work, The California Padres and Their Missions, in which Mr. Charles F.
Saunders and the writer collaborated, may be welcomed by those many
persons whose interest in Mission affairs is more or less limited to the
five here included, which are, probably, the most notable, historically
and architecturally, of the whole chain of these venerable monuments of
Franciscan zeal.

J. S. C.

San Juan Capistrano

The Penance of Magdalena

Slowly, very slowly, the greatest and most beautiful of the Missions of
Alta California had risen among the swelling lomas of the valley of the
San Juan. Brick by brick and stone by stone the simple Indian laborers,
under the tutelage of the Fathers, had reared a structure which, in its
way and place, might not unfitly be compared with those great cathedrals
of Europe in which we see, as in a parable, how inward love and faith
work out in material beauty. Huge timbers of pine and sycamore, hewn on
Palomar, the Mountain of Doves, many miles away, had been hauled by oxen
over trackless hill and valley, to form the joists and rafters that one
sees to-day, after the lapse of more than a century, firm and
serviceable, fastened with wooden spikes and stout rawhide lashings.

In all these labors Te--filo had taken a principal part. As a child he
had been christened with the name of Lucas, and had carried it through
boyhood. But when about fourteen years of age, he had been transferred
from the duties of a herder to learn the simple crafts taught in the
workshops; and his industry and intelligence had so commended him to the
overseers and Padre Josef that one day the latter, praising him for some
task especially well performed, had said, half in jest, "Hijo mio, we
must christen you over again. You are excelent'simo, as San Lucas said
of San Te--filo in the superscription to his holy evangel; so I shall
call you Te--filo, excelent'simo Te--filo, instead of Lucas; why not?" And
Te--filo the boy became from that day, though Lucas he remained in the
record of baptisms kept in the tall sheepskin volume in the Father's
closet.

So useful and diligent was the boy that the Father soon took him to be
his own body servant, and many an hour did Te--filo pass handling with
religious care the sacred vessels and vestments and books in the
sacristy and in the Father's rooms. One day the Father noticed with
displeasure that on the blank flyleaf of his best illuminated missal,
lately sent to him by a friend in his old college at Cordoba, in Spain,
there were some rough drawings in red and blue. Evidently the person who
had drawn them had tried to obliterate his work, but had only partly
succeeded. The Father could not help noticing, however, that, crude as
were the formal floral designs and sacred emblems that had been copied
by the culprit from the emblazoned letterings and chapter headings of
the missal, the work showed undoubted taste and talent; and this gave
him an idea. Why should he not adorn with frescoes, in color, the
cornices, and perhaps even the dome, of the new church? It would be a
notable addition, and would give a finishing touch to the beauty of the
building, if it could be done. And here, evidently, was a hand that
might be trained to do it--the hand, probably, of his favorite,
Te--filo, for he alone had access to the book-shelves in the Father's
room.

So when next he saw the boy he asked, "Te--filo, who has been drawing in
my new missal?" The boy hung his head, and the Father, taking his
silence as an admission of guilt, added, "That was wrong of you,
Te--filo, and I must give you some penance to remind you not to do such
mischief again. Do you know, boy, what that book is worth? Not less than
twenty pesos, Te--filo, or even more. That is one year's wages of Agust'n
the mayordomo, so you can see such things must be left alone. But come
to me this evening after the Doctrina, and I will set you your penance."

When the boy, with downcast look, came to him in his room that evening,
the Father said to him, "What made you do it, Te--filo?" And the boy
answered "I did not mean to do harm, Padre, but the pictures are so
beautiful, and I tried to make some like them. Then I tried to rub them
out, but they would not come off." The Father smiled indulgently. "No,
my son," he said, "the wrong things we do, even innocently, do not come
off. You must remember that in future. But they can be forgiven by the
good God, Te--filo, and even so I forgive you for the book. And your
penance shall be to come each evening at this time and learn to draw
properly. What do you say?"

"Oh, Padre!" cried the boy; and he took the Father's hand and put it,
Indian fashion, to his forehead in token of gratitude.

Agust'n the mayordomo was, next to the Father, the most important man
about the Mission. He it was who, under the priest's supervision, had
charge not only of the labors and general governance of the Indians, but
also of the business affairs of the establishment, even to the care and
sale of the cattle, hides, and tallow, which, produced in enormous
quantity, were almost the only, but a quite considerable, source of
revenue to all the California Missions. Agust'n was a half-breed, or
mestizo, the son of one of the Spanish soldiers who had come to Alta
California with Serra and Portola. His mother was an Indian woman, to
whom his father had been married by Father Serra himself. That was in
1776, the year of the establishment of the Mission, and Agust'n, the
oldest son of the marriage, had risen before the age of thirty-five to
his important post, partly by natural ability, and partly by the fact of
his mixed Spanish blood, which of itself gave him prestige and authority
with the Indians. He had quarters adjoining those of the Father, on the
main corridor of the cuadro.

His family consisted of his wife, Juana, chief of the lavanderas, or
washwomen, and several children, the oldest of whom, Magdalena, was now
growing into the fresh and early womanhood of these Southern races.
Already she had lovers, who took such opportunities as the strict
discipline of the Mission life allowed (and they were rare) to endeavor
to awake a response in her heart. But she held herself aloof from all.
Proud of the Spanish blood in her veins, though that blood was but that
of a common soldier, she counted herself to be of the gente de razon,
far above the level of the mere Indians, her mother's people. And,
indeed, in her finer features, quick glance, and more spirited bearing,
the difference of strain was manifest: the Latin admixture, though only
fractional, justified itself in evident supremacy over the aborigine.

This proud element in Magdalena's nature had the unfortunate effect of
bringing her into conflict with the Father and the Church. Not that she
would, out of mere perverseness, have refused obedience, but the Father,
himself a Spaniard, viewed all who were not of the sangre pura as
Indians, all alike. This the girl felt and resented, and her resentment,
though unexpressed, showed in numberless ways; while the Father, on his
part, viewed her only as an obstinate Indian child, naturally averse to
good influences.

It chanced one day that Agust'n, overlooking the making of adobe bricks
at the clay pits a mile from the Mission, needed to send a message to
the Father on some point concerning the work; and, Magdalena having been
sent to carry their midday meal to the brick-makers, he entrusted her
with the errand. Failing to find the Father in his private room, she
went to the next door of the corridor. It was half open, and she glanced
in. The Father was not there, but she saw, bending over a table set
against the window, a young man. His back was turned to her, and he was
so intent upon his occupation that he had not heard her step. She should
have turned and gone, for the rules were strict, and forbade
conversation between the girls and young men of the Mission: but her
curiosity was keen to know what the Indian boy (as she knew he must be)
was doing in the Father's quarters, and what it could be that kept him
so absorbed. Moreover, a spirit of defiance was in her. If the Father
found her loitering there he would reprimand her. Well, she would break
the rules: she was no Indian; and if he caught her there she would tell
him so. Yes, she would see what the young man was doing; she wanted to
know, and she would know. Quietly she stole into the room and edged
round to one side go that she could see partly across the table. The
young man was painting, in wonderful colors, on a sheet of parchment,
painting wonderful things--beasts, and birds, and flowers, and even
angels, a wonder of wonders to the simple girl.

At some involuntary sound that she made, the young man--it was Te--filo
--turned and saw her. Her eyes were fixed upon him, wide with wonder,
and her hands half raised in childlike rapture, while her slender
figure, so different from the heavier forms of the Indian girls, gave
her, to his eyes, the look and bearing of one of the very angels he had
been copying. It was a marvel on his side, too; and for a few moments
the two regarded each other, while love (that is born so often of sudden
wonder in innocent hearts) awoke and stirred in both their breasts. They
had often met before, but it had been casually, and the hour had not
been ripe. Now he saw her and loved her; she saw him, an Indian, indeed,
but transfigured, for he was an Indian who worked wonders. And the
Spaniard in her gave way, that moment, to the Indian, and she loved an
Indian, as her father had done.

He was the first to recover his self-possession. "The Father is not
here," he said. "He will be back soon, for he set me my task until he
should return, and I have almost done it." "Is that your task?" she
asked. "How beautiful! How wonderful!" And she stepped nearer the table.
"Show me, how do you make them? I never thought that Indians could make
such things. I have heard my father say that holy men in Spain could
make angels, but you are an Indian: how can you do it?" "I cannot tell
you," he said slowly: then "Yes, I will tell you," and a flush came on
his dark face, and a light into his eyes, as he looked at her. "I do not
make them, these angels; they come to me because the Father has taught
me to love them. He says the angels come to those who love them, and any
one can love them. And when I saw you," he went on, his eyes upon her
eager face, "I thought you were the angel I was painting, for you are
like an angel, too; and now I shall always love you, and it will be easy
to paint. Listen! the Father is coming. You must go quickly, but now I
have seen you I must see you again. You are Magdalena, Agust'n's
daughter. I shall find you to-morrow when I take the orders for the work
to your father."

Magdalena slipped away, and thus was begun the short but happy love of
Te--filo and Magdalena short, like the history of the beautiful Mission
itself; happy, as all love is happy, let its end be what it may. Many a
time they met in secret, for sweet interviews or even a hurried word or
glance; but love grows best in the shade. And meanwhile, the great
church had been growing too, and now it was Te--filo's proud task to
paint the frescoes on the walls and dome, as the Father had hoped.
Simple designs they were to be at first,--floral emblems and the
symbols used for ages by the Church, but later Te--filo was to essay much
more ambitious things, perhaps even the archangels, and San Juan, the
soldier-saint, himself.

It was the winter of 1812, and Te--filo and Magdalena had loved each
other for over a year, when Te--filo one day spoke to the Father of
Magdalena, and said that he wished to marry her. For months Magdalena
had tried to be dutiful and to engage the Father's interest, on her
side, in their favor, in preparation for Te--filo's broaching of the
subject to him. But she felt always that he remembered her old
hostility, and that he still considered her a mere disaffected Indian of
his flock. They had often talked of this, but Te--filo, who loved the
Father for the special kindness he had always shown him, believed that
he would agree to the marriage. Why should he not? he said. It would
make no difference to him, and he, Te--filo, would work better than ever,
to show his gratitude.

When at last he spoke of the matter, the Father peremptorily denied his
request. Agust'n's daughter was an obstinate, perverse child, and would
only lead Te--filo away too. He would give thought to the matter, and
would see what girl there was suitable for him, and then, if he wished
to marry, well and good. He would give them two rooms in the corridor,
near his own, and would allow him pay as his body servant and for his
work, and perhaps other privileges as well. And that was all; for
Te--filo knew that he would not be moved from his decision. Good man as
the Father was, he had the Spaniard's failing in dealing with a subject
race a certain hardness arising from a position of authority not allied
with responsibility--except to God, and that, indeed, the Father felt,
but he conceived that his duty to his Indians, apart from his spiritual
ministrations, was entirely comprised in the teaching, feeding, and just
governing of them.

When Te--filo told Magdalena, at their next meeting, what the Father had
said, the girl was enraged. "So he thinks I am not good enough for you!"
she cried: "And I have done everything to please him. But he is only a
priest, and has no heart. Ah! those Spaniards, I hate them!" And then,
with a woman's illogical turn--"Well, he shall see that I am Spanish
too. We will go away to the Mission at San Diego, Te--filo. My father's
brother is there, and I have heard my father say that he has influence
with the priest. He will marry us, and you can work there as well as
here."

But Te--filo was in doubt. His love for Magdalena and his love and
reverence for the Father contended. He was a simple, guileless soul, and
the thought of ingratitude to his benefactor was a misery to him. Some
other way must be found: the saints would help them; he would pray to
San Lucas, who, the Father had told him, was his patron, for he had been
born on his day and christened by his name: and Magdalena must pray,
too.

Magdalena, however, took up now an attitude of open rebellion, and
absented herself entirely from the services of the Church. This was
another trouble to Te--filo, and daily over his work he prayed to San
Lucas, and pondered what was best to do. But days and weeks went on, and
his inward disquiet began to take effect in his appearance and behavior.
The Father, busy with the multitudinous affairs of the Mission, had
entirely forgotten the matter of Te--filo's request: but one day he
chanced to notice his favorite's listless air, and it recalled the
affair to his mind. A day or two afterwards he said to Te--filo, as the
latter was with him in the sacristy, "Te--filo, you are dull and not
yourself. You were right, it is time you were married, and I have the
very one for you. It is Ana, the daughter of Manuel, who works in the
smith's shop. She is a good girl. I will speak of it to her father."

"Padre," said Te--filo, "I cannot marry Ana, nor any one else but
Magdalena, for I love her. Oh, Padre,"--and he dropped on his knees
before the priest,--"let us be married. You do not know, she has tried
hard to be good, and to please you. And I will work for you all my life.
I have been praying to San Lucas ever since I told you, but he has not
done anything."

The priest was moved by the earnestness of the boy--for boy he had
always considered him, and indeed he was little more in age. "Well, hijo
mio," he said, "I do not know about that. The saints always hear us, as
I have told you, and perhaps--who knows?--San Lucas may do something
yet. Or, perhaps," he added with a smile, "it is because we changed your
name, and he does not look on you as his son. Well, that was my fault.
But you say that Magdalena has tried to please me? Good, then we will
see. I will set her a penance, for she has not behaved well; then I
shall see if she wishes to please me. To-morrow will be a day of
observance, and there will be early mass in the church. Tell Magdalena,
Te--filo, that she must come to mass and carry a penitent's candle. Let
her be in the front row of the women. If I see her there I shall know
she is obedient, and perhaps, yes, perhaps,--well, we will see about
the rest."

"Oh, Padre," Te--filo exclaimed, "you are my padre, indeed;" and he put
the priest's hand to his forehead. "I know she will come, and I know she
wishes to please you. And Padre," he said, "I have made a picture of the
angels of La Navidad. I did it to please you" (he was about to add, "and
Magdalena," but prudence stopped him in time). "I thought--I
thought--"

"Well, what did you think, hijo mio?" asked the priest.

"I thought, Padre, that if you liked it, and said it was done well, it
would be fine on the high roof, Padre, the angels, four of them, in the
middle of the roof: like this, Padre, see!" An he raised his hands in
the attitude in which he had seen Magdalena when she met him in the
Father's room. "I could do it, Padre, if you like it."

"Angels, Te--filo!" said the Father. "Hm! I do not know. It is hard to
paint the holy angels, and diligent as you have been, I hardly think you
are an Angelico. But go and bring what you have done, and I will see.
Indeed, it is just what I would have, but it must be well done, or it
will spoil the rest."

The boy ran off, and returned quickly with a large sheepskin on which he
had drawn in colors a really fine design: four angels in attitudes of
worship, with uplifted hands, and eyes that expressed, crudely yet well,
the wonder that the Holy Ones might well feel at the Miracle of the
Manger.

"Ah, and did you really draw this?" asked the priest. "It is excellent,
Te--filo; we must make a painter of you in earnest; perhaps we might even
send you to Mexico to be taught by a good artist. There is one of the
Brothers at the College of San Fernando who would train you well. I
think this is what San Lucas has been doing for you, after all. But how
did you do it, Te--filo? What did you draw from?"

"Padre," said Te--filo tremblingly, "I will tell you, but do not be
angry. It was Magdalena. I saw her once, at first, and she was like
that, yes, exactly like that, with her hands up, so. She was like one of
the angels in your new missal, and I remembered, and drew it many times
over, and do you really think it will do for the church, Padre?" he
finished eagerly, his face aflush with excitement.

"Yes, it is certainly good enough, Te--filo," said the Father. "We will
have gold round the heads and golden stars on the robes, and San Juan's
church shall be the finest in California. Though how it comes that the
girl Magdalena can have been your model passes my understanding. Indeed,
I think it is the good San Lucas, or San Juan himself, who has helped
you. Well, you deserve praise, Te--filo, and perhaps some reward. But go
now, and tell Magdalena to come to first mass to-morrow, as I said. You
may take a candle from the sacristy and give it to her."

That evening Te--filo told Magdalena all that had happened. But her
Spanish blood was in hot rebellion, and in spite of her love and
Te--filo's entreaties, she would not give in. To carry a candle, as if
she were one of the Indian girls, caught in disgrace! No, it was too
much. Why, the whole pueblo would see her, and laugh (which, indeed, was
true for she had held herself above the girls of the Mission, and was
not loved by them). In vain Te--filo told her of the Father's words about
sending him to Mexico to become a real painter. No, it would be a
victory for the Father if she gave in, and he should see that she was
Spanish as well as he. And contemptuously she tossed the candle aside
into the chia bushes in the courtyard, where they talked in the shadow
of the arches.

It was with a heavy heart that Te--filo left her, yet with a faint hope
that she might repent and come to mass in the morning. It was a dull,
oppressive night, such as comes rarely in California, even in the summer
heats. Te--filo slept but little, and twice during the night he got up
from his bench bed and prayed to San Lucas, for this seemed to be the
final chance for his and Magdalena's happiness, and after his interview
with the Father all had seemed so bright that it was hard now to give up
hope. Magdalena, on her part, slept not at all, but she did not pray.
Instead, she lay with wide-open eyes in the darkness of her little
windowless room, looking up at the low ceiling and fighting over in her
heart the old battle of love and pride. One might say that love stood
for the Indian and pride for the Spaniard in her, and that it was an
incident in the old feud that began with Cortes and Malinche. And then
she thought of what Te--filo had told her, how he had told the Father
about painting the angels for the church because he had seen her
standing with upraised hands, like an angel, that day. Poor Te--filo! how
he loved her! and how she loved him, too! It was hard, very hard, that
there was so much trouble. How happy they might be! And he was so
clever, and might be a real painter, not working in the fields or at the
workshops, but only painting angels and beautiful things. And she was
the cause, in a way, of his being so clever she was proud of that, and
the thought made her glow, simple Indian girl as she was, with a woman's
sweetest thrill--he was clever because of her! Yet now she must spoil
it all, and all for the Father's hardness.

But then, must she?--for she knew that it lay with her, after all. She
could make all so happy why not? Ah, but the humiliation! No, she could
not. But could she not? The humiliation would soon be over, and the
prize was so great. They might be married, and even at once. Yes and no,
yes and no--so the fight went on, as the hours dragged past and the
heavy air pressed upon her restless nerves and forbade sleep.

It would soon be dawn, and now she must decide. Then the thought came to
her, should she pray to San Lucas, as Te--filo had been doing? Perhaps
after all he would help them. She got up, and creeping quietly into the
adjoining room, where her father and mother were asleep, she knelt at
the little crucifix that hung on the wall, and tried to pray. But no
words would come, and she was about to rise and go back to her bed when
it seemed as if words were whispered in her ear, echoes carried in the
brain from something she had once heard, no doubt, in the church--". . .
levant-- a los humildes . . . raised up the humble. . ." She had noticed the
words, because they were so averse to her ways of thought: the humble,
why, that was like the Indians whom she had always despised. But, after
all, perhaps that was San Lucas's answer; for she saw that it would
settle all her trouble. Well, be it so she would be humble, if San Lucas
told her; and she would obey the Father, and then, at last, all would be
well.

She rose, and, remembering the hateful candle, went into the quadrangle
and searched for it. There it lay among the chias, and she picked it up
and carried it to her room. Light was dawning in the east, and she did
not lie down again, but stood in her door, making up her mind to the
humiliation she was to undergo for the sake of Te--filo and their love.
She did not waver now; indeed, in her young, strong passion she gloried
in the sacrifice she would make for love's sake. She dressed herself
with care. They ate no meal that day before mass, which was to be at six
in the morning. If only, she thought, she could tell Te--filo that she
had resolved to do the penance, it would make it so much easier; but
there would be no way of seeing him until they were at the service, and
then the men would be on one side and the women on the other; so he
would not know until he saw her, and perhaps he would not look, for she
had said she would not go. Then a thought came to her with delicious
joy: she would make up to him, and punish herself, for having refused,
by waiting till the people were all in the church, and then going in
alone, so that everybody would see her, and Te--filo would see what she
could do for him.

Solemnly the great bell sounded out the summons to prayer. It was a
special day, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and all were
expected to come to mass, old and young. The morning was heavy and
airless, and the people, rising from sleepless or restless beds, moved
languidly and in hardly broken silence toward the church, and, entering,
ranged themselves, men and women separately, on either side of the
building, facing the altar. Te--filo was in his usual place, near the
front, and on the margin of the open aisle that divided the sexes. All
had gathered before the bell ceased to sound, but Magdalena was not
there. With a sinking heart Te--filo had watched, hoping against hope
that she would repent and come. He saw Agust'n and Juana come in, and
Agust'n go to the place near the altar which he held as mayordomo, while
Juana merged in the crowd of undistinguished Indian women. So Magdalena
was obstinate, and the prospect of happiness that had looked so bright
yesterday was all over and spoiled. But he must not blame her: she was
not just an Indian, like him. And with a sigh he ceased to watch the
doorway and turned to face the altar.

The Father entered, and bent the knee before the altar in view of the
congregation, who also had knelt on his appearing. The church was in
darkness but for the illumination of candles about the altar and a gray
and sickly daylight that came in at the open door. As the Father turned
to the people there was a stir among the women who had taken places near
the entrance, and a figure appeared, carrying a lighted candle. It was
Magdalena. She walked steadily up the passageway between the men and the
women toward the priest, who stood facing her. A black shawl was thrown
over her head, and her face, pale with sleeplessness and trouble, and
lighted by the candle she carried, seemed to glow against its dark
background as if illuminated from within. Te--filo had turned at the
sound of her entrance, and watched her as if fascinated during her
passage up the aisle. She did not see him, for her eyes were on the
ground: but she knew his place, for he had often told her; and as she
came near to where he was kneeling she turned a little toward him, and
murmured, so that only he should understand, "It is for thee, Te--filo."

As she came close to the altar step, the Father's eyes rested on her
with a glance that seemed to say, "It is well, my daughter." Then he
began the service, while Magdalena knelt in the front row of the women.
There was an unusual stillness among the people, for the incident of
Magdalena's penance had not been known, and had taken all but Te--filo
and the Father by surprise; while the sultry half darkness and the
stagnant air seemed to add to the feeling of awe. So the service
proceeded.

Suddenly, without warning, at the offertory, destruction broke. There
came a shock; a pause of terror; another shock, that made the solid
walls rock to and fro; a terrible cry, "El temblor!" and in panic the
people rose from their knees and rushed toward the door. A third shock
came, heavier than the other two; and cornices and masses of plaster
began to fall.

At the first cry of the frightened people Te--filo had risen to his feet.
He looked to where Magdalena had been kneeling, and saw her standing,
still holding her penitent's candle alight in her hand. As the people
rushed toward the door both he and Magdalena were almost carried away by
the panic-stricken throng; but he made his way to her, and they two were
for a few moments alone, but for the priest, near the altar. When the
third shock came he threw his arms about her. She seemed to have no
fear, nor had he. The spirits of both had been under strain, and one
thing only had been in their thoughts for hours before, so that they
were in great degree oblivious to the general terror. As Te--filo put his
arms about her, a bright smile came on her white face, and she said,
pointing to the candle, "It was hard, but I prayed to San Lucas, and he
told me to do it, and now we can be married." The shock continued, and
became more violent. Pointing to the candle she said again, "I did it
for thee, Te--filo mio." As she spoke, there came a terrifying sound from
above: the great stone dome above them parted, and looking up they saw
for a moment the calm face of the sky through a jagged rent in the roof;
then the ponderous structure crashed down in ruin upon them and the
huddled crowd of Indians that still struggled for escape.

They were found the next day, their bodies crushed together. In her hand
was still the penitent's candle.

In one grave the Father, who escaped the death that fell that day upon
twoscore of his flock, buried Te--filo and Magdalena; for, said he,
making over them the Holy Sign, they were married, indeed, though in
death. Still may be seen on the shattered walls and roof of the Mission
church some faded, simple frescoings, the unfinished task and the
memorial of Te--filo, the painter-neophyte of San Juan Capistrano.

San Diego De Alcala

Padre Urbano's Umbrella

Padre Urbano, priest in charge of the Mission of San Diego, was in a bad
humor. If he had been asked what was the most necessary article in the
cargo of the supply ship Santiago on the first of her half-yearly visits
in the year 1830, he would almost certainly have said, the umbrella. The
candles were important, no doubt; so was the new altar-cloth, for the
present one had become shockingly worn under the unskillful treatment of
the Indian lavanderas; so were the seeds, all the more so because he had
included in the list seeds for an onion-bed, and onions were a delicacy
to which his soul had long been a stranger. And many others of the
articles he had named in his requisition had passed from a state of
shortage into one of absolute vacancy on the storeroom shelves. But
foremost in his thoughts was the umbrella. He had specified it with
care,--such an umbrella as he had used in Spain, before ever he came to
this destitute and heathen land; the size, a vara and a half across; the
material, silk; the color, yellow; and as the warm spring sun smote ever
more fervently upon his tonsured head, his thoughts had daily turned
with yearning towards the good, ample quitasol that was to shield him
from the fiery persecutions of his enemy, the prince of the power of the
air.

Well, the vessel had come that day, and with it the umbrella; and now,
most cruelly dashing his long-cherished hopes, one of his Indians had
stolen it! Moreover, to-morrow he was to start on his annual visitation
of the outlying stations, and he had especially relied for comfort, on
that long, hot, dusty round, upon the umbrella,--the fiend fly away
with the miscreant who had taken it! thought the Father in his wrath.

This is how it happened: The ship had sailed into the bay at early
morning, and the lieutenant at the fort had straightway sent a runner up
to the Mission with the cheering news, adding that the articles for the
Father's personal use had been thoughtfully packed separately from the
heavier goods, and the captain had obligingly kept the special package
in his own cabin, so that it could be delivered to the expectant
consignee at once on arrival. The Father had immediately dispatched two
of his most trusted Indians, Pio and Jose, to receive the goods, which
the captain had promised to have brought ashore in the first boat-load.

The sergeant who delivered the goods to the Indians, in order to make
the unwieldy package easy of transportation by the two men over the two
leagues of road that lay between the bay and the Mission, had unwisely
opened it in the presence of the Indians, so as to arrange the contents
in two loads. The men had each taken one of the bundles and started for
the Mission. In due course, Jose had arrived with his load, but alone,
and in explanation had reported that at a mile or two from the bay his
companion had fallen behind--to rest, as he supposed--while he
continued on his way. After a time he had waited for Pio to come up, but
the latter had not rejoined him. Jose had left his own load by the
roadside and gone back to see what had become of him, but no trace was
to be found of either Pio or his burden. There was nothing for him,
Jose, to do but to continue on his way with his own part of the Padre's
property, and here he was. Pio would doubtless come soon with the
remainder.

But Pio had not come, and the Father's fears, born as he listened to
Jose's story, grew into angry certainty as hours passed and no Pio
appeared. Examination of Jose's bundle had revealed the altar-cloth, the
ink, the sugar, the onionseed, some books, and a few of the articles of
clothing he expected, but the umbrella and part of the clothes were
numbered with the missing; and though the clothes were not only valuable
but much needed, somehow it was the umbrella that made the head and
front of the crime in the Father's mind. Calling the Indians together
after vespers, he announced the theft, denounced the thief, and
pronounced his severest displeasure, with punishments proportionate,
against any who should fail to do all in his or her power toward the
apprehension of that ungrateful sinner, Pio.

Let us see what had become of the rascal from the time when he
disappeared. He had really dropped behind to rest, as Jose had supposed;
but while resting, the desire had come to him to look again at that
strange thing in his package. What could it be? He had seen the sergeant
take it out of the box, along, thin object; then he put his hand
somewhere on it, and pushed, and, wonderful! it had changed in an
instant into a huge flower! Such a flower! Yellow like a sunflower, nay,
like a thousand sunflowers, or the sun itself. Then he had done
something again, and all at once it was as it had been at first. Talk
about magic! All the things his father, old Kla-quitch, the medicine-man,
used to do were nothing to this. He simply must have another look at it,
and now was his chance, while Jose, who might tell the Padre, could not
see. He slipped the cords from the bundle and took out the thing of
mystery. A long stick, with some yellow cloth rolled round one end: but
how to turn it into the other wonderful thing? He could not resist
trying, and he felt about the stick, pushing this way and that, as he
had seen the soldier do, and it began to open. He pushed again--it was
done; behold the magic sunflower, beautiful, wonderful! And turning it
round and round he feasted his eyes on it, the most astonishing thing he
had ever seen; yes, and done, for he, Pio, knew how to make the Big
Flower open.

That is where the tempter caught him. What power that would give him
over the other Indians! What was Kla-quitch, with his painted sticks and
bones, compared with him, if only he were the possessor of this marvel!
He should need no other stock in trade as medicine-man. The people would
pay well to have it opened--that would be good medicine:--and simply
keeping it shut would be bad medicine:--delightfully easy! How did it
shut, by the by? He fumbled at the stick, but it did not close: he
pushed and pulled, it made no difference. He pressed on the cloth; an
ominous creaking warned him that Big Flower objected to being shut by
force, and threatened to break.

A nice fix he was in now: the genie he had raised would not down! He
grew hot and cold by turns. Jose was far ahead by now: he ought to
overtake him, but he could not appear before the Padre like this. He did
not know what the purpose of the thing was, but most likely it had
something to do with the Church, and he knew how strict the Padre was
about even the handling of such objects. What should he do? The tempter
had the answer ready,--there was only one thing he could do,--run away
with the magic thing and be a medicine-man, as his father had been, only
he would be a much more powerful and cunning one. Sly tempter! Poor Pio!
He had only meant to nibble, and here he was, fairly hooked.

Well, since he was in for it, he had better get away before any one saw
him. He caught up the clothes and the umbrella and hurried off into the
brush. It was not easy for him to make his way along with the
obstreperous load, and he soon discovered that the best way to manage
the umbrella was to carry it over his head. Very comforting he found it,
too, though it did not for a moment occur to him that this was its real
purpose. His plan was to go to his father's tribe, the Elcuanams, in the
mountains far away. There he should be safe from the Padre, and should
also have the prestige of his father's reputation. If there were another
medicine-man in the tribe Pio could easily outrank him and capture the
business. So he made a long detour, and came back by evening to the
valley, but a mile or two above the Mission. It would be easier to
travel with Big Flower by keeping to the river-bed instead of going
through the brush, which constantly threatened to tear it. He had a
faint idea that it might close of its own accord at evening, and glanced
up anxiously several times to see if it was doing so; but evidently it
was not that kind of flower.

He heard the bells of the Mission ringing the Angelus, and shuddered as
he thought of the wrathful Padre, no doubt now denouncing him publicly
as a thief and renegade, and he hurried on till dark, when he found a
sheltered spot and lay down. The night was chilly, and after a time the
thought came to him that Big Flower would make a fine shelter: so he got
up and arranged it so as to keep off the wind. Another idea: the
clothes, why not put them on and be warm? It seemed a terrible thing to
do, but he was running away from the Padre anyhow, so he might as well
be comfortable as not. He got up again and spread out the clothes in the
dim light: two woolen undershirts, two pairs of unmentionables to match,
four large handkerchiefs of red silk, three pairs of blue woolen
stockings, and a queer, three-cornered article, white, with strings,
which he took to be some kind of pouch, but, by a happy thought, found
to make an agreeable protection for the head. Also there was a pair of
thick slippers of dark felt. He rolled the handkerchiefs up in a ball,
and then drew on all the other garments except the slippers, not
troubling to first remove his own scanty clothes consisting of a cotton
jacket and pantaloons. He now felt pretty comfortable, and lying down
again was soon fast asleep.

When he awoke it was early morning. It was still cold, and he kept the
clothes on. Indeed, it occurred to him that this was just the thing to
do; it was much easier than carrying the bundle in one hand while Big
Flower occupied the other. He would still have the slippers to carry,
for he saw that they would soon be worn out if he wore them. With a few
edible roots and berries he made a sort of breakfast, not without
pensive recollection of the warm atole now being dished out at the
Mission. When he was ready to go on he thought of the morning prayers at
the Mission, and believing Big Flower to be something connected with the
Church, the natural thing to do was to say his prayers before it, which
he did, and then started on his way. After a few miles he knew he was
near the shut-in valley (which we call El Cajon) and he remembered that
there were Indians there who might know him. It is doubtful, really,
whether any of his acquaintances would have stopped to recognize him had
they caught sight of the figure he made, for it is safe to say that no
such spectacle had ever been seen thereabouts as our friend Pio made,
attired in the Father's underclothes, adorned with a nightcap, and
carrying in one hand a vast yellow umbrella and in the other a pair of
slippers. The handkerchiefs, much too fine to be wasted, he had tied
together by the corners and made into a sash, such as be had seen the
Mexican caballeros wear; and in his piebald of red, white, and blue, he
made altogether a decidedly striking appearance.

As he was considering turning aside and making another detour, he had an
object lesson of the effect he produced upon his countrymen. An Indian
appeared at a little distance. He was gathering wood, and as he
straightened from stooping his eyes fell upon Pio. With a yell he
dropped his load and fled at topmost speed, emitting such sounds as we
try, but vainly, to utter in a nightmare. This, though a tribute to
Pio's impressive aspect, and a gratifying omen of his success in the
role of medicine man, was also a warning of danger. He dived again into
the brush and devoted strenuous hours to threading his way through
thickets of chaparral until he emerged on the trail that led northeast
into the heart of the mountains. Big Flower was happily intact, and the
nightcap also except for a missing string, but the outer layer of the
other garments had paid toll to many an affectionate scrub-oak and
manzanita, and the stockings that had stood the brunt were practically
footless. Pio surveyed the damage ruefully, and rebuked himself for not
having preserved his new property by wearing his own clothes outside. He
would make the change now, and as it was getting hot he decided to wear
only one set of the undergarments (the damaged ones) under his own
clothes, and to carry the others. When the change was made, he hurried
on. He had made one or two more attempts to make Big Flower close, but
had not succeeded, so he now marched along in a businesslike way under
the great parasol, apparently an Indian gentleman more than usually
careful of his complexion, taking a brisk walk.

One thing, however, he had to attend to, the question of food, for he
was getting very hungry. He was now on a steep trail that led up to the
valley now known as the Santa Mar'a, and there, he knew, was another
rancher'a, or village. Here, too, he might be known, but he must take
the chance: he must have food, and would boldly go and ask for it. As he
pushed his way through the trees he came unexpectedly upon three fat
squaws who were sitting beside the creek, pounding acorns and grass
seeds into meal. Just as he saw them, they saw him, umbrella, nightcap,
slippers, and all. There was one shriek, or rather, a trio of shrieks
that sounded like one, and the women rushed like deer (albeit very fat
deer) down the creek, and Pio heard them gabbling at top voice to what
he knew must be the assembled and startled rancher'a.

Our friend was a philosophical fellow, as we have seen, and as the
natural thing to do was to gather up the little piles of meal, tie them
up in the extra shirt, and make off with them, he did it. There was no
need now for him to trouble the village, so he quietly withdrew by the
way he had come, and, guided by the excited sounds that still reached
his ears, made a roundabout way back to the trail, striking it beyond
the village. At the next water, he mixed some of the meal into a gruel
and ate it. It was not very palatable, and again he thought of the good
food at the Mission, from which he was now forever debarred. But a look
at Big Flower, gleaming like a great golden mushroom in the sun,
consoled him, as he thought of the wealth and power he would enjoy among
his tribe by means of this unparalleled marvel.

Night found him halfway between the Santa Mar'a Valley and the next
higher one, to which the Spaniards who had first seen it had given the
name of Ballena, from the long mountain, like a whale in outline, that
shuts it in on the northwest. He found water, made a fire in the
time-honored Indian way by rubbing two dry sticks together, and cooked
the remaining meal. There was enough for a good supper, and some over,
which he made into little cakes, drying them hard on the hot stones. He
put on all the clothes again to sleep in, and made a wind-break as
before with the umbrella. It was really more comfortable than the hard
bed in his hut at the Mission, and he felt more than contented, even
jubilant, over the change in his fortunes.

In the morning he said his prayers again before Big Flower, and started
on his way early. He had pulled on the extra clothing at night over what
he was then wearing, and as the morning was cold, and the trail good, so
that the clothes would not be harmed, he did not take them off, except
the extra stockings, nor change so as to wear his own outside. Thus he
again presented the tricolor aspect that had paralyzed the natives he
had met. It now occurred to him to make a little experiment, a sort of
trial canter, of his new profession, upon the Indians in the next
valley. He was not far now from his own village of the Elcuanams, and
might as well be getting into training. He would avoid surprising any
stragglers at the next village, and would get into touch with the head
men, explaining that he was the long-lost son of Kla-quitch, who had
escaped after all these years from the Mission, and had come back,
learned in all the knowledge of the white men and armed further with
this most wonderful appliance of magic, to take his place as hereditary
medicine-man of his tribe. He should see by that means what sort of
impression he would be likely to make on his own people. Nominally they
were Christians; but they were hardly ever visited by the priest, and he
knew that the bulk of them were still much as in his father's day, and
still placed reliance on the fetishes of the shamans.

Accordingly he made his approaches to the Ballena village with caution.
It was about noon when he came near, and he could see, as he
reconnoitered, that a group of men were talking together in the open
space about which the houses were irregularly placed. That was
excellent. He crept cautiously near, having some trouble to keep the
umbrella out of sight till the psychological moment: and then, holding
it high overhead with one hand and the slippers and extra garments in
the other, in token of amity, he uttered the orthodox Indian greeting
which answers to our "How d' ye do?" and advanced upon them.

They looked up all together: there was a yell that wakened echoes that
had slept for many a year; and in a twinkling the plaza (so to call it)
was empty but for himself, and the braves were dodging about behind the
houses in mortal terror of the hideous monster, worse than the white
men, for he was an unheard-of, polychromatic kind of being, not only
white, but red, blue, and yellow as well. It was no doubt the monster of
whom the priest had warned them, who would appear one day, if they were
not careful of their Christian duties (and they could not say they had
been), and destroy them all and burn their village. The thing he had in
his hand was doubtless the torch--see how it shone, just like fire! In
vain poor Pio declaimed his speech: it fell on ears too demoralized to
hear; and when one or two of them began to fit arrows to their
bowstrings, the best thing to do was plainly to beat a prompt retreat.
This he did, holding Big Flower ignominiously behind him to catch the
arrows that he expected every moment to hear whizzing about him.

He ran for some distance till he was out of sight of the inhospitable
village, and then sat down to rest and think. The adventure began to
take on an unpleasant complexion. If every one he came near acted like
this he could not be a medicine-man, for there would be no one on whom
to practice; and the bow and arrow episode was really alarming. What if
his own people refused to hear him? No one would recognize him there,
for he was a boy when he had been taken to the Mission, and he had never
been chosen to accompany the Padre on his rare visitations to the
Elcuanams, as it had been thought wise not to allow him to return to the
old surroundings. What had he better do? Of course he might discard Big
Flower and all the other fine things, and return to his people an
undistinguished runaway from the Mission (as not a few others had done,
to the scandal of good Father Urbano); but he could not bring himself to
that, not yet, at least. Well, he would go on: probably the
well-remembered name of Kla-quitch would make it all right.

His discouragement over the Ballena reception caused him to travel
slowly, and it was nearly sunset when he drew near the Elcuanam village.
It had been a cool day, so he had kept all the clothes on (except the
extra stockings). The village was in an open place, near the upper end
of a wide valley, and he could see it and be seen from it for a good
distance. He could not think of a better plan of operations than the one
he had tried at Ballena, badly as it had worked there: namely, to
maneuver so as to make his first appearance when a number of the chief
men were together, and then get the name of Kla-quitch to their ears as
quickly as possible. That would arrest their attention, and further
particulars could follow.

When he came in sight of the rancher'a he stopped and sat down to bide
his time. Only a few women and children and an old man or two were
about: the braves were probably out hunting, or, perhaps, bravely
sleeping until the squaws should announce that supper was served. So he
waited, hidden behind a rise of ground. At last the men, to the number
of ten or a dozen, had congregated for the evening lounge and pow-wow.
Pio slipped into the shadow of one of the little houses whence he could
issue in full view of the conclave. He settled the nightcap on his head,
grasped the umbrella in one hand and the slippers and stockings in the
other, and at a lull in the conversation advanced. He had decided to
dispense with the "How d' ye do?" in order to play his best card at
once: so as he stepped into the light of the fire he merely uttered in a
loud tone the word "Kla-quitch," to catch their attention. He succeeded.
A dozen startled heads turned toward him, and as he spoke his talisman
again, and moved toward them, there came a hysterical howl from a dozen
most unmusical throats, and his audience, followed by the women,
children, and dogs of the village, all shrieking in chorus, vanished
into the night. It was a striking tribute to the memory and prowess of
Kla-quitch (who, it was naturally supposed, had appeared and announced
his return from the spirit world); but it was far from being what his
son and intending successor had hoped.

This was the very dickens (or whatever the Elcuanam equivalent may be),
for poor Pio! Whatever was he to do now? He prowled about among the
houses trying to find some one to whom to explain, but the panic had
swept even the old men and women away. He could hear the people calling
to one another from their spots of refuge, and ever the burden of the
shout was either "Kla-quitch!" or "Yellow!"--that is to say, the
Elcuanam word for that suddenly unpopular color. He began to feel
bitterly toward Big Flower, the cause, it seemed, of so much trouble,
and even toward his departed parent, whose name, so long after his
death, was such very bad medicine as to wreck his son's chances
everywhere.

He squatted down by the fire, hoping that some of the men would return
after a time, but none came. After sitting again by the fire for two
hours or so, hoping vainly for company and pondering on his doubtful
future, he felt sleepy, and stretched out with his feet to the blaze,
not forgetting to set up his wind-break, really the only thing, he began
to think, that Big Flower was good for.

He did not wake till morning, when he looked round anxiously. He could
see the whole population gathered a quarter of a mile away, pointing
toward him and skirmishing for the best positions for viewing his
actions. Evidently he was taboo for good and all, and the vision he had
had of himself, as the feared and prosperous medicine-man of his tribe
had been a very fancy portrait: feared he certainly was, but there it
ended. It looked as if he had to choose between being a medicine-man all
by himself, or abandoning all his paraphernalia and, after a day or
two's judicious absence, rejoining his tribe in the humble capacity of a
mere runaway from the Mission.

Meanwhile he found some food--with difficulty, for the proprietors had
removed their valuables during the night and made a middling breakfast.
He had not fully determined what to do, so he stayed where he was until
his next step should become clearer. The morning passed slowly, with no
developments. He kept an eye on the crowd of watchers, and once or twice
he was puzzled to see that they pointed not only at him, but along the
trail to the south, by which he had come.

Let us now go back a few hours, and take a look at Padre Urbano. We
shall find him, not at the Mission, but only a few miles away--in fact,
at Ballena. He had started on his visitations the next day after Pio's
defalcation, and in anything but good temper. He had come, with his
little party of half a dozen Indians, by the same general route that Pio
had traveled, and had been only a few hours behind him. He did not stop
at the Cajon and Santa Mar'a villages, as he meant to attend to his
pastoral duties in those places on his return; but rumors reached him of
some apparition having been seen by the natives. He knew these
superstitious people only too well, however, and smiled at their
credulity. At Ballena he stayed for the night, and was entertained with
a more circumstantial account of a parti-colored demon who had been
chased out of the village at arrow's point: but as he had not had time
to check up the shortage in his clothes before leaving home, he did not
recognize Pio under the description. He told the Indians, on general
principles, that it was, as they supposed, a monster who had scented
their slackness in religious affairs, and who would certainly call again
if they did not amend, and next time would not be so easily put off.

He left the Ballena rancher'a early and started for Elcuanam. This was
the farthest from headquarters of all his parishes. An outpost station
had been established there nine years before, under the name of Santa
Ysabel, but, with only yearly visits since then, it was in a moribund
condition and had not progressed beyond the architectural stage of a
ramada, or brush shelter. A message had been sent a few days before
(without Pio's knowledge, as it happened), telling the Indians to get
the ramada ready for use, and giving the time of the Padre's intended
arrival.

The little procession, Padre, six Indians, and two burros carrying the
necessaries for the observance of mass, wound its way slowly up from the
lower to the higher valley, and just before noon arrived at the top of
the last rise before the Elcuanam, or Santa Ysabel, village should be
reached. The Father was in the lead, our early acquaintance Jose close
behind. They halted for a moment to rest before going on to the village.
The Father noticed with gratification that the whole population was
stationed on a hillock just beyond the village, evidently in expectation
of his arrival; but he wondered why the foolish people waited there,
instead of hastening to meet him. They had caught sight of him, for he
saw them gesticulate, and it seemed to him that they pointed toward the
houses, as if to draw his attention to something. So he looked, and his
eyes caught the gleam of a large yellow object, set up as if it were a
shrine, in the center of the village. Very odd, he thought; what had the
silly Indians been up to now? They moved on toward the village, and as
they approached, the Elcuanams cautiously approached also. When the
Father arrived pretty near, he stopped, gazed hard, rubbed his eyes,
gazed again, and then said to Jose, "Jose, your eyes are better than
mine: what is that in the village?" Jose's eyes were already starting
from his head, as if to get a better focus on what he saw. "Padre," he
said, almost in a whisper, "I think it is the yellow thing that Pio
stole. The sergeant made it open when we went for the package, and it
was like that." "Holy Saints!" cried the Father; "it looks like that to
me, too, but it cannot be. How could my umbrella get to Santa Ysabel?
And what has become of Pio? If it is the umbrella, he must have brought
it here." "Padre," said Jose, "there he is. I think it is Pio, but he
looks very funny, and he is kneeling in front of the yellow thing as if
he was saying his prayers." "Saying his prayers!" said the priest with
warmth; "indeed, he had better say his prayers if it is he!" And the
party hurried forward.

As we know, there was no mistake about its being Pio. As for the
prayers,--an unusual demonstration from the Elcuanams had caused him to
glance again to the trail where they were pointing. There his horrified
eyes had seen what seemed a miracle, but a most unfortunate miracle for
him Padre Urbano himself, a sight as unmistakable as unbelievable. Panic
seized him, but on the instant he had an inspiration, too: he was
caught, and something awful was bound to happen; but why not at least
make an attempt to disarm the Father's indignation by being caught in
the attitude of worship, which the Padre was everlastingly inculcating?
It might not mitigate his wrath, but then it might. He propped the
unlucky Big Flower up so that it would stand, hurriedly stuffed a pair
of stockings into each slipper, dropped them beside the umbrella, and
then fell on his knees and began to patter Ave Marias, faster, and much
more fervently, than he had ever said them before the altar at the
Mission. In his haste he forgot to take off the nightcap, though,
indeed, he hardly viewed it in the light of a hat, or cap.

In this position the culprit was found by the Padre and his escort, and
also by the Elcuanams, who, emboldened by the Father's fearless
demeanor, had ventured back to the zone of danger. "Pio!" cried the
Father, "get up and show yourself, if it is you. Sancta Mar'a! what is
all this? Why, those are my clothes you are wearing, you graceless
rascal! Take them off instantly, and tell me what you mean by this
outrage. Bring him to me in the ramada, Jose, and be sure you bring the
umbrella. Praise to the Saints! I have found it, and it seems to be
undamaged, after all."

On the way to the ramada the Father could not help looking round once or
twice at the prisoner, who followed with hangdog look, escorted by the
scandalized Indians from the Mission and a mob of astounded Elcuanams.
His indignation began to melt as he thought of the miraculous recovery
of the umbrella, and, since he was a genial and lenient soul, each
glance he took at the wretched Pio tickled his risibles more and more,
until his shoulders shook with merriment. Arrived at the court of
justice he managed to get up an aspect of terrific severity as the
malefactor was led in by Jose. The umbrella and the other incriminating
evidence were deposited beside him. The Elcuanams and the other Indians,
crowding about the entrance, crooked their necks with anxiety to see
what would happen. Pio had not yet disrobed, and stood dolefully
awaiting the worst, from nightcap to stockings a clown like and
altogether incomprehensible figure. Again the Father's funny vein got
the better of him. He knew that he was compromising himself forever, but
for the life of him he could not help it--his lip trembled, he tried to
control it but failed, he chuckled, giggled, cackled, and burst into a
roar of laughter.

It was no use to think of punishment after that. When Father Urbano at
last got the shreds of his dignity together, the whole history was
extorted from the trembling Pio, who, however, was shrewd enough to say
nothing of his pagan dream of turning medicine-man. Gladly enough he
shed the unlucky clothing. Vast quantities of water were brought from
the spring and blessed by the Padre: the umbrella was sprinkled and
sprinkled till no taint could remain; and then Pio, guarded by Jose,
spent the afternoon in scrubbing the desecrated garments with bucket
after bucket of holy water, while the assembled village, down to the
smallest papoose, jeered at that most ignominious of spectacles--a man,
washing clothes like a squaw!

To complete Pio's penance, it was his task to carry the umbrella over
the Padre during all the rest of the round of visitations, which, it
seemed to him, as he marched mile after mile with aching arms, would
never end. But end it did, and Father Urbano's umbrella at last arrived
at its original destination, San Diego Mission. Finally, after many and
various further peregrinations, it ended its travels at the sister
Mission of Santa Ines, where to-day the reader may find it reposing, a
treasured item in Father Alexander Buckler's curious collection of
relics. It is but fair to say, however, that I am doubtful whether Good
Father Alexander will vouch for my story of its early adventures.

San Gabriel Arcangel

The Bells of San Gabriel

Rather a desolate little spot is the campo santo of San Gabriel; rather
desolate, and very dusty. The ramshackle wooden crosses stagger wildly
on the shapeless mounds; the dilapidated whitewashed railings, cracked
and blistered by the sun, look much as though they might be bleached
bones, tossed carelessly about; and the badly painted, misspelled
inscriptions yield up their brief announcements only to a very patient
reader. On the whole, depressing; but in a sleepy, careless way, like
the little tumbledown houses of the Mexicans, across the road; like,
also, the old Mission itself, yellowing and crumbling in the warm
California sun into early decay.

Walking slowly about among the humble mounds, my mind lazily weaving
from the names and dates of Seoelvedas and Argyellos and Yorbas, with
their romantic sound, a half-sad, half-delightful tapestry of fancy, I
found myself at one inclosure of an appearance so different that I
stopped to regard it particularly. It was the grave of a poor person,
clearly, and not in that way noteworthy, for poverty was the air of the
whole place. But it was carefully fenced with a high white railing;
there were fresh flowers upon it; and it was evident that affectionate
hands tended it. The short inscription, translated from its Spanish,
recorded--

Ysabel, wife of Ramon Enriquez,
born July 20, 1875: died October 23, 1893
Much Moved

Eighteen years old, married, and dead! a sad strand of color this, to
run into my tapestry, gay with silver lace, coquettish fans, and
high-heeled Spanish slippers. Eighteen years old, married, and dead; and
muy querida, much beloved! My thoughts stayed behind, as I moved on, and
the words, with their soft inflection, would recur dreamily to me, again
and again--muy querida; alas! muy querida.

In the shade of a high remaining piece of the ancient mudbrick wall,
three Mexicans, with cigarettes and sombreros, and gaudy as tulips in
their striped serapes, were gambling, sleepily, at cards: from one of
the little houses came the sleepy tinkling of a mandolin--muy querida.
I wandered over to the edge of the little cemetery, and, sitting down,
leaned against the hot wall, under the sleepy, flickering shade of the
neglected olives and expiring walnuts of the Mission garden. Sleepily I
watched the anxious labors of a hornet, busily building its nest of
clay. A dragonfly hung for a moment before me, then alighted on a leaf
and was suddenly smitten asleep. Everything drowsed, except the
everlasting sun, pouring down ceaselessly his shriveling rays. Again,
over and over, my mind dreamily repeated the words--only eighteen,
married, and dead: muy querida.

The bells of the Mission are ringing, clear and strong, under the
practiced hand of old Gregorio. Who can ring like he? And to-day, of all
days, he is doing his best, for it is the fiesta of the blessed San
Gabriel himself, and there are people come from all the towns of the
valley, to say nothing of Los Angeles, to the fiesta. Not but what the
saint has his day every year; but this particular day is a day of days,
a fiesta of fiestas: for the Padre has arranged a procession in San
Gabriel's honor, and what Mexican would not ride thirty miles to see a
procession? So to the hitching-posts all up the long street are tied
tired horses that have come that hot morning from San Fernando, and
Calabasas, and farther still. And here and there is a wagon that has
brought a whole family, all to do honor to San Gabriel, and to see the
sight of the day. And that is, pre'minently, Ysabel Alvarado, the beauty
of the valley, who is to walk at the head of the procession to the
church.

The heart of the beautiful Ysabel is in commotion, somewhat like the
bells themselves, as she listens to them and to the clamor of the
children, who began to gather an hour ago before the cottage, and are
now shrilly calling, "Y-sa-bel." And she can hardly stand still while
her mother is busily putting the last touches to the wonderful array in
which she is to appear. Never before has any girl of the village had
clothes so beautiful, entirely of white, yes, even to the shoes and
their rosettes and laces, all of white, so dear to the Mexican heart.
Moreover, there was the thought of Ramon; Ramon, who she thought loved
her: to-day would surely prove it, when he saw her so dressed, like--
yes, indeed--like a grand senorita. Ramon had been working in Los
Angeles, and there there were so many--she sighed to think how many--
girls for him to choose from. But to-day he was to be here: old Marta,
her mother, had found out, and told her: and to-day would surely tell.
There were others, of course: Ramon's friend, Felipe, for instance: he
was clever, and sang well, and she knew he liked her. But it was Ramon's
face that would come between her and the little square of looking-glass;
and it was Ramon, too, who came into her mind--the saints forgive her!
--even when she turned for a moment to her little crucifix, to say a
prayer for good fortune, special good fortune, that day.

At last all was ready, even to the final brushing that her mother must
give to the glossy hair which, parted by the dark, beautiful face, fell
in a rippling shower almost to her knee. It is no wonder that Marta
says, as she hovers, brush in hand, about her, "Thou art like the great
picture of the blessed Santa Barbara, child, that I used to see in the
Mission where I lived when I was as young as you"; and, to herself,
"Ramon had best take care. Such flowers are not to be plucked every day
as my Ysabelita." And it is no wonder that when Ysabel appears at the
door, carrying carefully upright the waxen, fragrant spire of white
lilies for San Gabriel which the Padre has sent to Los Angeles to
procure, the excited expectation of the village and its visitors
releases itself in a prolonged "Ah!" that nearly makes her laugh
outright with happy pride. Least of all is it any wonder that Ramon
Enriquez, gazing with all his soul, says, under his breath, "She is like
an angel of heaven; yes, truly an angel is she, my Ysabel."

The bells of the Mission ring happily, happily, as the little procession
passes into the church: Muy querida, muy querida.

Again the bells are swinging and ringing in the hot, sunny air. But it
is not old Gregorio who rings now, one maybe sure, so irregular are the
strokes--loud, soft, quick, slow--as if the green old bells were
actually out of breath with laughing. No, Gregorio has rung for thirty,
yes, nearly forty years, and his ringing is as steady as the pendulum of
the Padre's great clock. Ah, it is Juan, young scapegrace! that rings,
and out of breath, truly, is he; so that for once he is ready to obey
when admonished by the Padre to leave off. "What a noise thou art
making, Juanito! I think San Gabriel will be stopping his ears. Run up
the choir steps, boy, and call to me if thou seest them coming."
Willingly enough the bare-legged urchin raced away, and, perched like an
acrobat on the narrow rail, holding by a trailing branch of the pepper
tree, shielded his merry black eyes as he gazed up the road. His slender
stock of patience was nearly exhausted before the sound of music reached
his ears, and started his feet shuffling. "Padre, oh, Padre," he cried,
"they are coming. I can hear the violin: it is Pedro that plays, I would
bet anything. Ah, be can play! Yes, and Marta is coming first with the
holy water."

Down the road comes, again, a procession. One half of the village is in
it, and the other half views it with animated admiration from doorways
and verandas. Marta, her old black dress for once cast aside, arrayed in
yellow and red, leads the van, as she has at every wedding for twenty
years. Following her come three musicians; Pedro, in the center, his
gray, thin hair straggling over the collar of his well-brushed long
black coat, with young Vicente and Arturo, the bridegroom's brothers,
one on either side, accompanying Pedro's weird, thin-blooded strain with
thrumming mandolins. Next come, by two and two, six little girls, pretty
as angels, with little wild sunflowers in their glossy tresses, and
carrying, with conscious pride, large bunches of red roses. And here are
the bride and bridegroom, Ysabel Alvarado, the flower of San Gabriel,
and Ramon Enriquez, to whose proud, dark face hers is often lifted with
happy smiles at the words of admiration and friendly wishes that reach
their ears.

Now, Juan, ring your loudest, and no one will complain: Muy querida, muy
querida . . .

It is the big bell, only, of the Mission, that is ringing now, the one
in the top embrasure of the arched campanario. It rings steady and
clear, as Gregorio always makes it, but slowly, and the sound that
trembles heavily out upon the heat-laden air settles down upon the
village like a noonday shadow. Again there are people gathered for a
simple procession, and horses are tied to the posts along the street.
But this time it is not at old Marta's house that the people are,
gathered, but at the new, white cottage that Ramon Enriquez built, a
year ago, for his bride. Juan, merry and mischievous as a blue jay
generally, is sober as he hovers on the outskirts of the little group of
people. Again the six little girls are waiting, two and two, but they
carry white flowers, lilies, roses, and jessamine. Presently Marta
appears, a creeping, somber figure, black from head to foot.

The straggling group moves up the street, old Marta at the head, talking
to herself, and shaking her head. As they near the Mission the great
door opens, and the Padre comes out, followed by four young men, who
carry--alas! my heart tells me what they carry--the brightness and
lightness of the face and form of Ysabel Enriquez: and there lies upon
her breast a tiny baby form. Alas! muy querida! Ramon walks behind, and
looks neither to right nor left, as they take their place at the head of
the little procession. And so they go, up the white, dusty road, to the
campo santo.

Muy querida, muy querida, says the great bell: slower and slower, muy
querida, muy . . . and so, ceases.

The sun was going down, its warm light dying away up the ancient wall.
Far away sounded the faint thrumming of the mandolin in the cottage
across the road: the three Mexicans were still silently gambling.

Yes, it is a desolate little spot, the campo santo of San Gabriel[1].

[1] The foregoing sketch was written some short time ago, before
certain renovations were made about the cemetery which have changed the
"atmosphere" of the place. I confess to an unreasonable wish that God's
Acre might have been spared by the industrious hand of the whitewasher,
when the zeal for "cleaning up" seized upon the village fathers of San
Gabriel.

San Fernando

The Buried Treasure of Sim'

The idea of finding buried treasure has always exercised what seems to
me an unreasonable charm over people's minds: unreasonable, not, of
course, that there would not be charm in finding it, but because of the
disparity between the amount of attention that has been spent on the
quest and the real prospect, usually, of success. Treasure islands,
treasure ships, treasure graves, and many other such possibilities have
been many times exploited, both in fact and in story; so it is not
surprising that the California Missions should also have had their vogue
as a supposed Tom Tiddler's ground. And as a matter of fact, a good many
of the buildings show plain traces of the ravages of pick and shovel,
sometimes wielded boldly by parties of declared prospectors, but more
often in secret by knights of the dark lantern.

Why it should be supposed that riches were buried in these places is not
clear; but somehow the idea seems to arise automatically in connection
with old or ruined buildings. A recent writer remarks that "The foolish
notion that the Fathers had unlimited wealth, nay, gold or silver mines,
which they concealed, was common among the Mexicans of that day, and it
exists among their descendants to the present time." So far as can be
known, the seekers have never found anything of value. It seems, indeed,
unlikely that the Fathers at any of the Missions ever could have amassed
any sum of money that would be much worth secreting. Saving anything out
of their meager stipend of four hundred dollars per year would have been
out of the question, even if the sum had been paid in money, in full,
and regularly, none of which desirable conditions seems to have been
met; while as to hoarding from the proceeds of the industries carried on
at the Missions, although the returns must have been large, the expense
of caring for a family of a thousand or so Indians must have been
proportionately heavy. And in addition there are to be reckoned the
exactions of the provincial Government, which seems to have looked upon
the Missions generally as a sort of providential and inexhaustible milch
cow. So that the latest defender of the Padres, the learned Father
Zephyrin Engelhardt, is probably justified in holding that their riches
were all of unworldly metal, and consisted only in "their
conscientiousness, industry, economy, and abstemiousness." Such
intangible valuables, it may be remarked, if they could be recovered by
delving, would certainly not have proved, in the estimation of the
delvers, a satisfactory reward.

The Mission of San Fernando, some twenty miles northwest of Los Angeles,
has more than once been the scene of these unhopeful quests. The
visitor, who might be curious concerning sundry excavations noticed in
the foundations of the massive adobe walls, would be told by the old
Mexican who acted as custodian of the ruin--it is hardly more than that
--that they were made by "malos hombres, ladrones, que buscaban dinero";
and, with a shrug, "Tontos! no cogieron no mas que polvo, mucho polvo,
mucho trabajo" (bad men, thieves, who were looking for money. Fools!
they got nothing but dust, plenty of dust and plenty of work). And with
a chuckle: old Tomas would lead the way up the next rickety stairway.

Yet, one cannot tell. There may have been instances of treasure being
buried about the Missions, on some emergency arising, since, in the
times we are thinking of, the only means of safekeeping sums of money
that were too large to be carried on the person was the secreting of
them in the walls of buildings or in the ground. Be that as it may,
perhaps the reader will have a better explanation of the facts of the
following narrative than the one with which I conclude it.

On the afternoon of a warm day of June, some twenty summers since, I was
making my way from Los Angeles to the coast by way of the San Fernando
Valley and the road that runs through the Simi Hills. It was yet the
dawn of the automobile era, and direction signs did not then, as now,
give the traveler on California roads the certainty of his route that he
now enjoys; and I found myself, at late afternoon, in considerable doubt
whether I had not mistaken my way, with the probability, if that were
the case, of having to camp for the night in the open. My horse would
not suffer, for there was forage in abundance, and water was not hard to
find thus early in the summer; but it was annoying for myself, for I had
but a scrap of food and no blankets. The road, well traveled at first,
that I had been following for two hours past, had for some distance been
showing signs of degenerating into a trail (in that inexplicable way
that roads sometimes have), and now it seemed about to "peter out"
finally on a hillside of yellowing grass. Yet I knew I had been making
in the right direction, even if off my road, so I was loath to turn
back. The road, or trail, probably led somewhere, and I decided to keep
on as long as any track could be seen leading westerly.

Two miles or so farther brought me to the end of all tokens of travel.
The track had dwindled to less and less, and now had dropped to the
bouldery bed of a canon stream, from which no woodcraft of mine, nor of
my good trail-wise horse, could perceive that it made an exit. If the
trail continued, it must follow the bed of the stream. At any rate, here
was water, the first requisite for a camp; I decided to go on for a
while, but to stick to the creek, for safety. Dismounting, I led Pancho
forward by the bridle among the slippery boulders. The sun was well out
of sight, and the chirping of crickets among the herbage announced that
soon the evening shades would prevail. Evidently, camping was to be my
portion, so I kept my eyes open for a good spot for the purpose. The
canon appeared to widen out a little way ahead: there I should probably
find good grazing for the horse (though not, I ruefully reflected, for
myself). Arriving at the opening, I found, as I expected, grassy slopes
rising from the creek, and resolved to make here my bivouac.

Taking off saddle and bridle I turned Pancho loose to graze, while I
gathered wood for afire. The dusk was soon enlivened by a crackling
blaze, beside which I sat to eat a sandwich and a scrap of chocolate,
reserving an equivalent banquet for the morning. Pancho munched away
cheerfully, the stream tinkled and purred; the first star telegraphed
its friendly signal down through the ether: to be lost in the Simi was
not half bad.

My supper (since it must be so called) over, and Pancho picketed for the
night, I walked a short way up the canon in the gloaming. Some two
hundred yards from camp, at a point where the stream made a turn, I
stopped in sudden surprise at the sight of a light shining among a clump
of small live-oaks near by to my right. "Well," I said to myself, "so I
am on a trail, after all. Can there be a house here, too?" A few steps,
and my question was answered, for I saw that the light shone through the
open window of a little house of adobe. What should I do? My appearance
at this lonely spot at night would cause so much surprise that I
hesitated. But I was quite conscious that I had made an unduly light
supper, and, moreover, that I was in the way of making no better a
breakfast. Probably I could buy here a little food, and at any rate, I
could get information as to my road: so I approached the house. There
was an attempt at a garden, I saw, and growing against the window was a
bush of the red-flowered sage which I have noted as being a general
favorite with Mexicans. As I came up to the door I heard voices, and
caught a glimpse through the window of a woman sitting at a rough table,
eating. At the same moment a dog within the room started up and barked
loudly. It seemed to be my cue to speak as well as knock, so, acting on
a vague assumption that the people were Mexicans, I called, "Buenas
noches!"

The talking ceased abruptly, and with it the music of knife and fork on
crockery. I knocked and called again, "Buenas noches!" A chair moved,
and a man's voice said, "Abajo, perro!" whereupon the bark was exchanged
for an equally uncomfortable growling. Then the door was thrown open,
and a man, standing in the doorway, asked in Spanish, "Who is there?" In
a few words I explained my presence, adding that I was short of food and
should be glad to purchase a little. "Enter, senor," he invited, and, as
I did so, "Carlota," he said to one of two well-grown girls who sat by
the woman, "Carlota, give your seat to the caballero." The woman had
risen already, and in a matter-of-fact way was putting a plate and cup,
evidently for me. My first impulse was to explain that I had had my
supper; but I have always found frank acceptance to be the best reply to
the frank hospitality of these courteous people, and with an expression
of thanks I took the offered place and was ready to share their meal.

I now had an opportunity to notice my entertainers. The man was a
strongly built, good-looking, middle-aged Mexican; the wife (as I took
her to be) placid-looking, kindly-featured, and of the national
middle-aged stoutness. The two children were slender, attractive girls,
verging on the early womanhood of their race. I think they were twins.
This, I supposed, comprised the household, until, my glance following
the wife as she went to the stove, I saw another person. A man,
apparently deformed, sat by the fire, bent forward, his hands resting on
a stick. But doubled over as he was, his eyes, black and piercing,
followed every movement made by any of us. My host, by whom I sat, said
in a low voice, "He is my brother, senor: he is very ill." I was on the
point of making some remark of condolence when he added, "He cannot
speak, senor: he is dumb." Feeling that it would be best not to refer to
the matter, and to turn the conversation, I inquired as to the road I
had missed, and whether I could get through to the coast without
returning. This I learned I could do, my host promising to put me in the
way in the morning.

Just as supper, which proved to be a cheerful meal, was over, the
invalid in the corner, rapping with his cane on the floor, gave notice
that he needed attention. Carlota went quickly to him and helped him to
rise, and then led him, slowly and with no little trouble, into an
adjoining room. As he shuffled past where I sat, my eye caught the
glitter of some object of metal that swung by a cord from his neck, in
the fashion of a medal. This I later decided it to be, when I noticed
what seemed to be an exactly similar object on a little shelf or
bracket, fixed to the wall, on which stood a small figure of the Virgin.
The woman now rising to clear the table, I rose also, and, thanking my
kind entertainers for their hospitality, asked what I owed them, saying
also that I should be glad to buy a little food of them before leaving
in the morning. They would accept no money for the meal, however, and I
forbore to press them. As I took my hat to go, my host asked, "Will you
not sit a while by the fire? It is yet early, and it is cold outside." I
gladly assented, and, offering him my pouch, a friendly smoke began.

The seats at the table were heavy benches, not easily moved, but in the
corner by the stove, where the sick man had sat, I saw a dark, box-like
object which would serve for a chair. I was about to seat myself on this
when my host (whose name, I learned, was Leandro Rojas) hastily
interfered. "Not on that, senor," he said: "it would be bad fortune,
very bad fortune," at the same time pulling one of the benches forward.
On this we both sat, and chatted, somewhat haltingly on my part, for my
Spanish was no more fluent than his English. I was curious about that
bad-omened seat in the corner, especially as I felt pretty, sure it was
on that that the invalid had been sitting: but, not wishing to violate
my friend's superstitions, I refrained from alluding to the matter. My
gaze, however, often reverted to the puzzling object, which in the dim
light appeared to be a small but solid chest of some dark wood, heavily
clamped with iron bands, and, I thought, having something carved on the
lid. I suppose senor Rojas noticed me looking at the chest with
interest, and when, in the course of conversation, I asked whether his
brother had long been ill, he replied, "Yes, senor, many years; but my
wife does not like it talked of: it is ill fortune to talk of bad luck,
she says. And the box is bad fortune, that is certain. I wish it were
not here. But I will tell you about it when we go out of the house."

I spent with them a pleasant hour, finding topics of mutual interest--
among them the perennial one of rattlesnakes, of which I had found the
region unduly prolific, and the need of schooling for the children, who,
though attractive and well-mannered, had never made the acquaintance of
even slate and pencil. On bidding them good-night, I asked whether I
might breakfast with them (on the strict understanding of payment for
the meal), and was glad when they willingly agreed.

When I left the house, Leandro said he would walk with me to my camp,
and I took the opportunity of asking about the chest. "I will tell you,
senor," he said, "though it is bad fortune, and I wish I had never seen
it. See what it has done to my brother!" "Was it the box that hurt your
brother?" I asked. "How? did it fall on him?" "Oh, no, senor, nothing
like that," he replied. "It was his horse that hurt him; but all the
same it was the box that did it. My wife says so, and I say so, too.
Pedro, I do not know what he thinks, but then, he is as you see. This is
how it happened, senor.

"It was many years ago, yes, nearly twenty years. We were both young
then, and we worked on the Escorpion, for Don Guillermo. My father used
to work for him too: he was a foreman on the ranch: and when Pedro and I
were old enough to ride after the cattle he made us vaqueros. Pedro was
strong in those days, yes, stronger than I am now, and quite tall. There
was no one who could ride like Pedro on the Escorpion. To see him now!
ay de mi! Well, senor, one day some steers were missing, twelve or
fifteen or more, and my father sent us, Pedro and me, to find them and
bring them in. We hunted for them one day, two days, and could not find
them. The range was getting poor on the Escorpion, but it was still good
in the hills, and my father said the cattle must have gone up to the
Sim'. So the next morning we started toward the Sim', and it was not
long before we found their tracks, coming toward the hills. We followed
them all that day, and nearly at night we found them. It was in a little
valley that is quite near here: you will go through it to-morrow, senor.

"We had brought food with us, for we knew we might be more than one day
out, and when we had found the cattle we looked for a place to camp. We
headed the steers down the creek, and came out into this canon. And here
we saw the house, the same house, senor: so you see it is quite old, but
it was old then, too. We were surprised, for we did not know there was a
house there at all, and we had been born at San Fernando, and we thought
we knew everybody that lived this way as far as Ventura. It was nearly
dark, and there was no light in the house nor anybody about, though the
house did not look quite as if no one lived there. We should have liked
to use it to sleep in, but we thought some one must live there, and
might come in, so we made a camp on the creek. Just about here, where
your camp is, is where we slept.

"In the morning, after we had eaten, Pedro said he was going to look
inside the house. I was saddling the horses and did not go with him. In
a few minutes I heard him call, so I went to the house. Pedro was
standing at the door, and he looked white and frightened. 'There are
dead people here,' he said: 'they are all dead.' He went in and I went
in after him. In the back room there was a bad sight, a very bad sight,
senor: a lot of bones lying all about the room, and there were three
skulls among them. In the middle of the room was that box you saw, with
the lid open. There was a big bone, like a leg bone, lying right across
it, I remember. Zape! a bad sight that was.

"It must have been a long time since they had died, months, perhaps
years, two or three, from the look of the place and the bones. The
coyotes had been in, and nothing but the bones and some bits of clothing
was left. They had all been men, at least I think so, because there were
no women's clothes. In the box there were pieces of money, twenty or
thirty, or perhaps more. I did not like to touch it, with the dead men
all about there: but Pedro, he was always one who cared for nothing. He
said it was lucky to find them: the money wasn't dead, he said, and he
laughed at me. He picked up one of the coins: it was a silver peso of
Spain, very old. Was it not strange, senor? All the money was the same,
all pesos and all old. I. have never seen any more like them."

"Well, Pedro said we ought to take the money. The dead men could not
spend it, he said, so it was foolish to leave it. But I would not touch
it, not one piece. I wanted to burn the bones, and at last Pedro helped
me. We picked them all up, the skulls and all. Diantre! it was bad work!
I wanted to put them in the box, and burn all together, and bury the
money. But Pedro would not: he wanted the money, and he said he would
have the box too. So instead of burning them, we buried them, that is,
the bones. We found an old spade, and dug a place behind the house,
among the sycamores on the hill--you will see to-morrow--and buried
them.

"Then we had to go to take the cattle back to the ranch. Pedro would
take the money: he put it in his clothes. It was quite heavy, and you
could hear it, so he put some in his shoes and in other places. I asked
him what he would do with the box, because he would not burn it. He said
he wanted it because it had been good luck to find it: he would get it
someday and keep it. Then we went away with the cattle. Pedro said we
should not tell anybody about what we had found, nor about the dead
people; and there was no one to tell, I mean the officers, unless we
went to Los Angeles. So I did not say anything, and Pedro did not,
because he had taken the money."

"It was not long before he had used it up. I don't know where he spent
it, for there was no money like it, and people would ask where he got
it: but somehow he spent it, all but two pesos. Then one day he asked me
to come with him to the place again: he wanted to see if the box was
there, and if anybody lived in the house. I did not want to see the box,
but I wanted to know if any one lived there, so I came with him. It was
about a year after we had found the dead men and the money. It was a
Sunday, and we got to the place about noon, for we started early.
Everything was like we had left it, and it did not look as if any one
had been to the house. The box was there, and it was open; and then I
noticed that there was some writing on a piece of paper inside the lid.
It must have been there when we saw the box before, but we had not
noticed it. It was very old and yellow, and torn, too, and we could not
read it. They did not seem like Spanish words. We stayed an hour, maybe,
and then I said we should go, so as to get back before night. Then Pedro
said to me, why shouldn't we come and live here in the house. We each
had a few head of cattle of our own by that time, nearly twenty all
together, and the range here was very good. He was tired of working on
the Escorpion, he said. The place didn't belong to anybody, as far as we
could tell, and we could make a good home here and do well with our
cattle.

"I forgot to say that I had got married a little time before, and I said
my wife would not come so far away from her people. They lived at
Calabasas. I didn't like the idea of living in that house, though I
liked the land and wanted to have a place of my own, now that I was
married. So we were talking about it when we got on our horses to ride
back. We rode past the sycamore trees, where we had buried the bones of
the dead men. Just when we passed the place, my brother's horse jumped
at something, and threw him off. He fell against a sharp rock that hurt
him in the back. He was quite still, and I thought he was dead. For a
long time he did not move, but I could see he was breathing. I got water
and threw it on him many times, and at last he opened his eyes. But he
could not move, senor, nor speak either: the rock had hurt his backbone,
and his legs were like dead. He was a paral'tico, and he has never been
able to move, any more than you saw him move, nor talk either.

"I did not know what to do. It was many miles to the ranch, and there
was no one that lived anywhere nearer. My brother was in much pain, so I
could not put him on his horse: I was afraid of hurting him more. He
could not talk, but he pointed at the house, for me to take him there.
There was nothing else to do, and at last I got him there. Then I said I
must go and get help to take him away, but he shook his head and would
not let me go. I think he thought he might as well die there as
anywhere, and he was half dead anyway. But I had to go to get food, and
I thought I could bring a doctor also. I left him some water, and got on
my horse and rode--cielo, how I rode!--for I thought he might be dead
when I got back. It was dark most of the way, and it was midnight when I
got to the ranch. I got help, and sent for a doctor to come from Los
Angeles. My wife--she is a good woman, my wife, Elena, senor--she said
she would come with me to nurse Pedro if he could not be brought away.
We were back at the house the next day early, two cousins of mine and my
wife and myself. Pedro was lying where I had left him, but he was out of
his head. Whenever he saw the box he would try to get up and go to it,
so I put it where he could not see it. I had never told my wife about
the box and the money: I thought it would only do harm to talk about it.

"The doctor came the next day. He said Pedro would never be able to
walk; he might be able to speak after a while; but he never has. The
doctor told us he ought not to be moved for a long while. And so we
stayed, senor, and we have never gone away. Don Guillermo was very good:
I think God makes people good to one when one is in trouble, is it not
so, senor? He gave me ten more cattle; two of them were good milch cows.
That made thirty head we had all together. And he sent us a lot of
flour, and coffee and frijoles; and then he found who owned the land the
house was on: it was an American, who lived in San Francisco and never
came here at all; and Don Guillermo told him about my brother getting
hurt, and he promised that we could have the house and the grazing for
nothing for three years, and then pay a little when we could. After
about ten years I bought the place, about fifty acres, and now it is my
own."

"So it was bad fortune the box brought us, as I said, senor, but good
fortune, too. Did you see what my brother has round his neck, senor? It
is one of the pesos. He had two of them left when he was hurt: he had
always said he would keep those two for more luck, as he called it. One
day, after he was hurt, I saw him making a hole in one of them, and he
hung it round his neck. He gave me the other. I did not want to take it,
so I put it on the shelf for Our Lady. You can see it in the morning,
and you can see the box, too. My wife would like to burn it, and so
would I, but Pedro will not let us, and he always sits on it. There is
carving on it, an 'F' and a 'Y,' I think, and there is the writing
inside, though much of it is gone now. Perhaps you can tell what the
writing says: I should like to know, if there is enough left to tell
by."

"Well, it is late, and Elena will be going to bed. I am sorry that we
have no room for you to sleep in, senor, but the house is small, and we
are so many women and sick. Buenas noches, senor."

I was much interested in the strange story I had heard, and lay for some
time awake, trying to fit a working theory to the black chest and the
Spanish dollars, but with no success. It was a puzzle that was worth a
good deal of trouble to unlock if it could be done, and I was eager for
daylight, to get a good view of the box. Probably the invalid would not
be up so early as the rest of the family, who had breakfast, I had
learned, at six o'clock. I was prompt upon the hour, and while waiting a
few minutes before the meal was ready, I examined the silver piece and
the chest. The coin was a large one, Spanish, as my host had said, and
bore the inscription of Carlos III, with the date 1787, and the arms of
Castile and Le--n. The box I examined with special attention. It was
exceedingly heavy for its size, which was about thirty inches long by
fourteen wide and ten deep, and was made of the dark, hard wood of some
tropical tree that had withstood decay wonderfully. On the upper side of
the lid were cut the letters "F Y" in plain, deep carving, encircled
with an elaborate scroll, this somewhat defaced and broken in outline.
Three heavy strips of iron were fastened round the shorter
circumference, one near each end of the box and one at the middle. At
the ends were strong wrought-iron handles, and there was a curious lock,
also of wrought-iron. I opened the lid, and there, as Leandro had said,
were the remains of a sheet of parchment, vellum, or heavy hand-made
paper, which had been glued to the wood, but the greater part of which
was torn or worn away. It was evident that the writing was too much
defaced to allow of more than a mere guess at its purport, but by the
not very good light I copied what I could decipher of the inscription.
This is what I made out:--

hac ar osit unt num tria mi et qu enti qui
pert anc Mi Sanc in cujus fini
utelam ob lat hoc lito atis com
arca absco a est.
rra.

Oc 1824

I had hardly finished my transcription when my hostess entered saying
that breakfast was ready in the kitchen: so no attempt at working out
the puzzle could be made at the time. Pedro's food was taken to him by
Carlota, and he did not appear before I left. During the pleasant meal,
I looked with added respect at the woman whose goodness of heart had led
her willingly to undertake, and to carry day by day for many years, the
burden of a hopeless, and I fear an ungrateful, invalid (though, indeed,
from my experience of the kindliness, and especially the strength of the
family bond among the Mexican people, I might well have been prepared
for such magnanimity).

Soon after breakfast I bade them farewell, Leandro accompanying me a
short distance to show me my road. When we came to part, no further word
had been said regarding Pedro or the mysterious chest. I said nothing,
for I had no theory to offer. When we shook hands, after thanking him
heartily I remarked that I hoped we might meet again, adding, as an
afterthought, "and in a luckier house." "Yes, senor," he said, "but it
is not the house that is unlucky: Our Lady attends to that. It was the
money, and, you see," with a smile--"I gave her the half of what was
left. Do you know, senor, sometimes I think the money was stolen from
the Church. That would account for all, is it not so? They say the
churches had much money once. Quien sabe? Adios senor."

As I turned Pancho into the trail that would bring me to the Ventura
road, my mind was busy at a clue that Leandro's parting words had
started. "F Y," the letters carved on the chest--somehow they seemed to
link up with something in my memory. Who was that Padre of whom
Robinson, in his "Life in California," spoke with a good deal of
disparagement? The surname initial was surely a "Y," and it seemed to me
that San Fernando was the Mission where the depreciated Father dwelt.
Yorba, Ybarronda, Ybaez, Ybarra--yes, that was it: Ybarra, sure
enough, and the first name was Francisco, it seemed to me; and I felt
sure now that it was at San Fernando that Robinson encountered him. All
circumstantial evidence, no doubt, but highly interesting. To try
another link--did the scraps of writing give any support to my idea? I
took out my notebook: unmistakably there were the letters "rra"
remaining where naturally the signature would be written. All the rest
of the name was gone except a fragment of rubric, but that embellishment
again made it plain that the letters were part of a name.

With that I had to be satisfied, both then and now. Matters of more
personal importance soon pushed the problem into the back of my mind.
Once, indeed, chancing on a copy of the torn inscription, I spent an
idle hour in trying to fashion the oddments into a possible connected
whole. In case the reader should be interested in such exercises, I will
give my tentative solution.

I take the writing, as far as the signature, to have been in Latin, and
this is my guesswork rendering: the reader may perhaps improve upon it:--

In hac arca depositi sunt nummi tria millia et quingenti qui
pertinent ad hanc Missionem de Sancto Fernando, in cujus finibus
ad cautelam ob latrocinia hoc litore a piratis commissa haec
arca abscondita est.

Francisco Ybarra.

Oct. 1824.

My chain of guesses, then, is that the old chest that I saw in that
house in the Sim' Hills may have once been the personal property of Fray
Francisco Ybarra, sometime priest in charge of the Mission of San
Fernando. That he, on the approach of some marauders, buried the chest,
with the stated sum of money in silver pesos of Carlos III, in some
hiding-place about the Mission precincts. That for some unguessable
reason the chest was never taken up by the priest or his successors; but
that long years afterwards, probably not less than fifty, some party of
treasure-seekers (of whom there are evidences of there having been many
at that Mission) came upon the buried chest. That it was transported by
them to the lonely house in the mountains, some twenty miles distant.
That there, a quarrel occurred over the booty, and that the survivor or
survivors of the fatal affray, if any there were, did not, for some
reason, carry off in their flight all the treasure. The rest of my
theory is embodied in the foregoing narrative.

But after all, as to the whole matter, probably there is little to be
said that is more to the point than the all-embracing phrase of Leandro,
and of Spain and Mexico in general--Quien sabe? Who knows?

Santa Barbara

Love in the Padre's Garden

It was five years since I had seen my old chum, Dick Trevgern, back in
Boston, while Mrs. Trevgern I had never seen at all. So when, last
winter, I found myself at Santa Barbara, where they lived, one of the
first things I did was to trace them in the telephone book and call up
Dick. The result was an urgent invitation to dinner that evening. I was
quite keen to meet my friend's wife, and all the more so, since Dick,
who is one of the finest fellows in the world, is, or used to be, also
one of the oldest-fashioned, and had seemed to be destined for bachelor
joys; so I wondered what could be the special charms that had subjugated
him.

I found them as cozy as a married couple of two years' standing has a
right to be, in a rose-embowered cottage on one of the hill streets near
the Mission. Mrs. Trevgern I found to be a very pretty, vivacious, and
in every way attractive girl,--she was only twenty,--and as they were
evidently very fond of each other I rejoiced at Dick's good sense and
good fortune. It was a very jolly little dinner, and altogether as
pleasant an evening as I have ever passed. At some indirect reference to
the topic (it is hard to find a name for it that is agreeable to every
one, but I will use a well-worn phrase) the emancipated woman, I had an
opportunity of seeing that the lady clearly was of the affirmative
party, whereas I knew, from recollection of old times, and anyway
because Dick was Dick, that his view on the question was a decided No.
This raised an interesting little speculation in my mind, and when,
about eleven o'clock, Mrs. Trevgern declared that she was going to leave
us two together for a good confabulation over old days, and retired for
the night, I made some half-joking reference to the matter, and asked
Dick how it happened that he, of all men, had chosen a wife out of the
emancipation camp.

"Oh, well," he replied, "she is a dear good girl"--I hastened to say
that I was sure of it--"and we have lots of fun out of our different
ideas on little things like that. The odd thing is, though, that it was
Kitty's fad for woman's rights and that sort of thing that is
responsible for her being Mrs. Trevgern--I mean, that was what you
might call the exciting cause. Pull your chair up to the fire and I'll
tell you all about it. It was really quite a joke."

"No doubt it will be news to you that I used to know Kitty years ago,
before either you or I came to California. All the time that you fellows
were ragging me about being an old bachelor, I knew my own mind and
meant to marry Kitty some day. I don't think you knew her people, the
Draytons. They lived down at Quincy, close to us, and our families were
old friends. At the time that I got this appointment out here she was
only sixteen, but before I came away from Boston I told her I loved her,
and that when I had got on my feet I was going to ask her to marry me. I
didn't want her to promise then, for it didn't seem square to ask her;
but I had a pretty good idea that she liked me, and I figured that in
two or three years I could be so placed that I might fairly ask her,
and, as young as she was, she would hardly have fallen in love with any
one else. After I came to California I wrote to her now and then, not
often, and no spooning, you know, but just to keep myself in her mind;
and she answered with good, sensible, newsy letters."

"She was always a particularly bright girl, with a good idea of what was
going on in the world and a mind of her own about it. In one of her
letters she said she had been going to a set of lectures by some
confounded Englishwoman, on The Woman of To-morrow, or the Day after
To-morrow, or something, and asked me what I thought about what she
called Woman's Awakening. I dare say you remember how we used to argue
all that stuff in our old Debating Club--didn't we just!--and how I
always got sat upon for being a back number and not lining up with the
hatchet brigade? Well, I hadn't changed my mind--haven't yet, for that
matter--but I didn't suppose she cared two hairpins about it, and I
replied with some old joke or other, and let it go. From other letters,
though, I soon saw that Kitty had got really keen on the suffrage
business, and that she knew I was a heretic: but we both had sense
enough not to let the subject get on the argumentative line."

"It ran on that way until two years ago, and then her people came to
spend the winter in California. In the early spring they came up to
Santa Barbara, and I saw Kitty again. I hadn't weakened at all in my
loving her, and she was prettier than ever--almost as pretty as she is
now, bless her.--Yes, I knew you'd think so, old man.--By that time I
was doing quite well, and prospects were good enough so that I felt I
could ask her to marry me. One day, on a drive round by Montecito, I
asked her. She wouldn't promise: said she liked me as much as ever, and
didn't care about any one else, but didn't think she ought to marry me,
and so on. I couldn't get her to say why for a long time, but at last it
came out. Some one, that idiotic Englishwoman, I suppose, had put it
into the dear girl's head that it was her duty not to ally herself with
'a reactionary' (I think that was the word) and in this case that meant
poor harmless me. I argued till I must have been blue in the face, but I
couldn't get her to give in: she says now that she thought she would
make me give in. And so it had to stay, but my consolation was that I
knew she really cared for me. It was just head against heart, and though
I knew, as I said, that Kitty's head was as good as anybody's, I thought
her heart was better yet. I told her, though, that I shouldn't let it
rest like that for long."

"A day or two later I had an engagement to go up with them to look at
the Mission. One of the Fathers showed us through, a dozen or more
people altogether, regular tourist style, and we had seen about
everything there was, when some one asked if we couldn't go into the
sacred garden. You know what I mean? There's a private garden that most
people don't get to see, and which, as the story goes, no woman is
allowed to enter. The priest said he was sorry, but it was only by
special permission that any visitor saw that garden and that permission
was never given for ladies to see it. Kitty pricked up her ears at
that."

"'Do you mean to say,' she said to me, as we walked on, 'that there is a
part of the Mission where men may go and women mustn't?' 'I don't mean
to say so,' I told her, but the Padre here does, and I'm afraid that
settles it.' 'Indeed, it doesn't,' she said. 'What does he mean? Is
there something horrid there that is not nice for women to see?' 'No,' I
replied; 'it's nice enough, just a garden. They call it sacred, but I
don't know why.' 'Oh, I see,' remarked Kitty, 'sacred from women, no
doubt. That's just like these monks: they think this is the Middle Ages
still. I suppose you think so too. You may go anywhere, because you are
a man, but a woman is to be shut out of this and that--they're sacred!'
I could see she was pretty much excited, and I tried to calm her down.
'Now, Kitty,' I said, 'you know very well that as far as I'm concerned
there's nothing on earth that I want so much as for you and me to be
together always and everywhere. Let them keep their old garden: anyway,
if it's too sacred for you it would certainly kill me on the spot.'
'It's all very well to make fun,' she returned, 'but it's the principle
that has to be fought. It's absurd, it's--it's mediaeval! And you're
mediaeval too,' she wound up. 'Well,' I said, 'I always knew I was a bit
old-fashioned, but I was never called a regular antique before.' That
made her laugh, and we forgot all about the old garden till we got back
to the house."

"At least, I thought she had forgotten, but when I said good-bye she
came with me to the door, and said, 'Dick, I'm going to see that garden
at the Mission. It isn't that I care about the garden, but I do care
about the principle. I'm going to get in somehow, and I want to know,
will you help me?' 'My dear Kitty,' I answered, 'I'm your man: at least
you know I want to be. The only thing is, how do you mean to do it?'
'That's for you to arrange,' she said. 'You men think you can do things
better than women, so here's a chance to show what you can do.' 'Well,'
I remarked, 'it looks like a burglar's job, and I've not done much in
that line: but you know what I said, that I want to go everywhere you
go, and if that means jail, I'm game.' She looked a bit serious when I
talked about jail, for she thought I was in earnest: but she didn't back
down, and I said I would see what plan I could think up."

"I easily found out whereabout the garden was, and the only way I could
see to get Kitty in there was by climbing over the wall some evening
after dark. It was an adobe wall, and not very high. I could easily get
over it myself, but for Kitty we ought to have a ladder. There was a
bright little Mexican chap I knew, whom I had met one day up by the
Mission. He lived near there, and one day I had seen him haunting about
and got him to pose in a picture. After that we'd had chats now and
then. It occurred to me that Julio could find a short ladder and bring
it to the place: and I had an idea--old-fashioned, you see, as usual--
that he would make a kind of chaperon, too, to save a little bit of the
respectabilities. I told Kitty my plan, and she thought it was all
right, jumped at it, in fact; so we set the time for two days after the
next full moon. We figured that as it was sundown soon after five
o'clock, we could do our wall-climbing when it got dark, say about half
past six, before the moon came up. It would rise about seven, and we
should have plenty of light to investigate the garden. Kitty did pretty
much as she liked at home, as regards being in or out, so all she would
need to tell her people was that she was going to be with me that
evening."

"Well, I arranged it with Julio. He was a mischievous little rascal, and
it looked like a good joke to him; and a couple of dollars was good pay
for a joke. When the evening came, I called for Kitty about six o'clock.
I had told her to dress in some kind of color that would not show too
much by moonlight, so she had on a big gray cloak of her mother's that
covered her all up. It had a hood, too, so she didn't need a hat. For
fun I had drawn a large placard, with 'Votes for Women' on it in big
letters. I meant to tack it to a tree or something if I got a chance,
but Kitty didn't know anything about this."

"When we got to the place, Julio was there with his ladder. It is very
quiet round there at night, and there was not much danger of any one
coming past. I got up first on the wall to make sure the coast was
clear. There were lights shining from two or three windows, but no one
was moving, so I beckoned Kitty to come, and she climbed up and sat on
the wall while Julio came up. Then I quietly pulled up the ladder and
lowered it on the garden side. I went down first, and then Kitty. She
was a bit excited, I could see, but as game as ever. I had told Julio to
wait up on the wall by the ladder till we came back."

"It was about seven o'clock and nearly moonrise when we started on our
tour. I took Kitty's hand. She was rather trembly, but she said she
meant to see everything there was in this precious garden. I did, too,
now we were in. We went along a path by the wall and found a seat. There
was no reason for hurrying, so we sat down to wait till the moon was up.
It was certainly pretty especially with Kitty there; there were tall
black cypresses, and climbing roses, and orange trees just coming into
bloom; and when the moonlight touched the old belfries, and there came
the murmuring sound of chanting from some place within the Mission,
Kitty whispered to me that the garden really was almost sacred, and I
quite agreed with her."

"After a few minutes we went on. The garden is laid out in beds of
shrubs and flowers, with winding walks between. We kept in the shade as
much as we could, as there were several windows that look on the garden,
and some one might see us if we made ourselves conspicuous. But there
were lots of trees, and we skirmished about from one to another and had
no end of a good time. Kitty was enjoying it immensely, and it did seem
a pretty good joke to be dodging about in the old garden right under
their noses, for we could see them now and then through the windows. We
were standing under a big cypress that had been trimmed up to ten feet
or so above the ground, when I remembered my placard. I unfolded it and
showed it to Kitty, and then fixed it on the tree with thumb-tacks.
Kitty was dancing about with joy at the placard, and almost clapping her
hands, but I made her stop for fear some one would hear her."

"We had nearly been all round the garden, taking it easily, and sitting
down now and then. We were laughing and joking under our breath, and I
was thinking that this would be a good place to propose to her again;
rather romantic, you know, to pop the question under those
circumstances. It was getting time to clear out, but we sat down again
for a few minutes before we went. Kitty threw the cloak off, and in her
white dress and by the moonlight in that old garden, she looked--well,
you can imagine--no, you can't, though, no one could who didn't see
her. So I up and told her all I wanted to say. The darling took it like
an angel, but just out of mischief--I know, for she has said so herself
since then she hummed and hawed and began to talk about different points
of view and stuff like that. Well, at that very moment, a door opened
and a man, one of the priests, came out. We were sitting in the shadow,
but the door was right opposite, and I suppose the bright light coming
through the doorway shone on Kitty's white dress. Perhaps he heard us,
too, for I guess we had forgotten about talking under our breath: I know
I had. Anyhow, he spotted us. We saw him stop for a second and heard him
say something to himself, and then he came right toward us. I saw we
were in for it, so I caught Kitty by the hand and we ran. I heard the
Father, or Brother or whatever they call themselves, coming after us: we
could hear his skirts flapping about and I think he must have been a fat
man from the way he puffed."

"We were right at the other end of the garden from where the ladder was.
Kitty is a good runner, and we had a good lead and were nearly there
when suddenly Kitty almost stopped and exclaimed, in a horrified voice,
'The cloak, Dick! we've left it behind, and it has mother's name on it!'
Whew! that's a bad mess, I thought. It must be got, that was certain.
'You run on,' I told her, 'and get up the ladder. Do you see it?' 'Yes,'
she said, 'but what about you?' 'I'm going back for the cloak,' I
answered. 'You get up the ladder and wait for me. I'll stop him
following you. Quick, Kitty, hurry up!' I watched her get to the ladder
and then started back. I didn't know just where the priest was, as we
had lost him somewhere among the trees, but I ran back, got the cloak,
and started again cautiously for the ladder. When I was halfway there I
caught sight of him staring at the placard. I can't understand to this
day why he hadn't raised a racket. I think that placard must have
hypnotized him. Well, he saw me and called to me to stop. As he was
between me and the place where the ladder was, I saw I couldn't get past
him, so I ran back to the other end of the garden again, and he came
running after me. When he came to the door I saw him stop a moment and
then go in, evidently to get help. That was my time. I sprinted back as
fast as I could, for it was getting rather too interesting. Kitty was
there all right, sitting on the wall, but I couldn't see Julio nor any
ladder. 'Dick!' she called down to me, 'I've let the ladder drop down on
the other side. Can you get up without it?' 'How on earth did you do
that?' I asked. 'I was afraid that horrid monk might come along and see
me, and take the ladder away to keep you from getting up,' Kitty said:
'so I pulled it up after me, and then it slipped and went down the other
side.' 'Never mind,' I replied, 'I can climb up: but where is Julio?' 'I
haven't seen him,' she said: 'but never mind him, come along up.'"

"I threw the cloak up to her, and then jumped at the wall to clamber up.
I caught the top all right, but the rotten adobe bricks came away, and I
tumbled down with half a dozen of them on top of me, and in falling, by
the worst kind of luck, I sprained my foot. I tried to get up, but found
I couldn't stand on the hurt foot. 'What's the matter, Dick?' asked
Kitty. 'Sprained foot,' I said. 'I don't see how I'm going to climb up
that wall now. I can't jump high enough with one foot, and the adobes
would most likely come down again, anyhow. Confound that imp, Julio! he
would have saved all this mess if he had done as I told him. I guess
we're trapped, I am, anyway.'"

"Every moment I expected to see the Mission people coming, and there was
the chance of some one coming along the road, too, and finding Kitty
playing Humpty-Dumpty. The poor little thing was nearly crying. 'Oh,
Dick,' she said, 'does it hurt much? Oh, I know it must, and it's all my
fault. What will they do to us, Dick?' 'Well,' I answered, 'they can't
skin us and eat us, you know. I shouldn't mind about myself, only that
it makes a fellow look like a fool. You ought to marry me now, Kitty,
for no one else will,' I added, severely. 'Don't you think so?' 'Oh, I
suppose so, Dick,' she said, half laughing and half crying, 'No one else
will marry me, either, for that matter. I wonder you want to, after my
getting you into this fix.' 'All right, darling,' I said: 'it's a
bargain, mind. They have n't got us yet, anyhow,' I went on. 'Here they
come, though,' as half a dozen petticoated figures issued from the door.
I saw them go toward the other end of the garden, where I had last been
seen, and begin searching about. 'Now, Kitty,' I told her, 'when they
come this way you just let yourself down the other side as far as you
can, and then drop. You are lighter than I, and I think the bricks will
hold. Then run home as quickly as you can, and lie low.' 'Dick,' the
little trump replied, indignantly, 'do you suppose I'm going to run away
and let you stand the blame? Do you think I'm one of those putty kind of
girls?' I tried to argue with her but--well, you know what suffragists
are; she wouldn't budge. 'Dick,' she exclaimed at last, 'what am I
thinking of? I can drop down, as you said, and get the ladder over to
you.' I'd thought of that, of course, but I couldn't stand the idea of
her falling and perhaps getting hurt. 'You mustn't do it, Kitty,' I
declared. 'If you get hurt as well, we shall be in a worse hole than
ever.' My mind was working like lightning, and suddenly I thought of the
cloak. 'Kitty' I said, 'throw the cloak down to me.' It was a good
old-fashioned cloak, with yards and yards of stuff in it. I twisted it
into a sort of rope, and then stood up against the wall on my good foot
and threw the end over as far as I could. 'How far does it reach?' I
asked. 'Plenty far enough,' she answered. I didn't need to say any more.
She took hold of it and let herself down, and I heard her drop to the
ground. In another moment she was up on the wall and puffing the ladder
after her. It made an awful row, and I saw some of the people stop and
listen. It was touch and go then, I could see. Kitty lowered the ladder,
and in half a jiffy I was up. As we were pulling the ladder up, they saw
us and began to come on the run, but they were just about half a minute
too late. I sent Kitty down and then scrambled down myself. Just then,
along came that young scamp Julio, as innocent as you please. 'Take the
ladder and run that way,' I ordered, 'and let it drag so as to make lots
of noise.'"

"Kitty was shaking all over, what with excitement and fright, and pity
for my foot. We sat down against the wall and listened to the chaps
inside calling us awful names in Spanish, Irish, German, and about
everything else. My foot was pretty painful, and so swollen that I could
hardly get my shoe off. Kitty produced a bandage from somewhere and
bound the foot so as to keep it stiff, and then I got up and with the
help of the wall and Kitty's arm I hobbled off with her in the opposite
direction from that in which Julio had gone, while the sounds in the
garden got fainter and fainter, showing that he was drawing the enemy's
fire, as I expected."

"Of course the thing got into the papers somehow, but luckily the names
didn't, for Julio didn't get caught. And as you see, Kitty lived up to
her bargain."

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