The Devotion Of Enriquez

: Selected Stories

In another chronicle which dealt with the exploits of "Chu Chu,"

a Californian mustang, I gave some space to the accomplishments of

Enriquez Saltillo, who assisted me in training her, and who was also

brother to Consuelo Saitillo, the young lady to whom I had freely given

both the mustang and my youthful affections. I consider it a proof of

the superiority of masculine friendship that neither the subsequent

desertion o
the mustang nor that of the young lady ever made the

slightest difference to Enriquez or me in our exalted amity. To a

wondering doubt as to what I ever could possibly have seen in his sister

to admire he joined a tolerant skepticism of the whole sex. This he was

wont to express in that marvelous combination of Spanish precision and

California slang for which he was justly famous. "As to thees women and

their little game," he would say, "believe me, my friend, your old

Oncle 'Enry is not in it. No; he will ever take a back seat when lofe is

around. For why? Regard me here! If she is a horse, you shall say, 'She

will buck-jump,' 'She will ess-shy,' 'She will not arrive,' or 'She will

arrive too quick.' But if it is thees women, where are you? For when you

shall say, 'She will ess-shy,' look you, she will walk straight; or

she will remain tranquil when you think she buck-jump; or else she will

arrive and, look you, you will not. You shall get left. It is ever so.

My father and the brother of my father have both make court to my mother

when she was but a senorita. My father think she have lofe his brother

more. So he say to her: 'It is enofe; tranquillize yourself. I will go.

I will efface myself. Adios! Shake hands! Ta-ta! So long! See you

again in the fall.' And what make my mother? Regard me! She marry my

father--on the instant! Of thees women, believe me, Pancho, you shall

know nothing. Not even if they shall make you the son of your father or

his nephew."

I have recalled this characteristic speech to show the general tendency

of Enriquez' convictions at the opening of this little story. It is

only fair to say, however, that his usual attitude toward the sex he so

cheerfully maligned exhibited little apprehension or caution in dealing

with them. Among the frivolous and light-minded intermixture of his race

he moved with great freedom and popularity. He danced well; when we went

to fandangos together his agility and the audacity of his figures

always procured him the prettiest partners, his professed sentiments,

I presume, shielding him from subsequent jealousies, heartburnings,

or envy. I have a vivid recollection of him in the mysteries of the

SEMICUACUA, a somewhat corybantic dance which left much to the invention

of the performers, and very little to the imagination of the spectator.

In one of the figures a gaudy handkerchief, waved more or less

gracefully by dancer and danseuse before the dazzled eyes of each other,

acted as love's signal, and was used to express alternate admiration

and indifference, shyness and audacity, fear and transport, coyness

and coquetry, as the dance proceeded. I need not say that Enriquez'

pantomimic illustration of these emotions was peculiarly extravagant;

but it was always performed and accepted with a gravity that was an

essential feature of the dance. At such times sighs would escape him

which were supposed to portray the incipient stages of passion;

snorts of jealousy burst from him at the suggestion of a rival; he was

overtaken by a sort of St. Vitus's dance that expressed his timidity in

making the first advances of affection; the scorn of his ladylove struck

him with something like a dumb ague; and a single gesture of invitation

from her produced marked delirium. All this was very like Enriquez; but

on the particular occasion to which I refer, I think no one was prepared

to see him begin the figure with the waving of FOUR handkerchiefs! Yet

this he did, pirouetting, capering, brandishing his silken signals like

a ballerina's scarf in the languishment or fire of passion, until, in a

final figure, where the conquered and submitting fair one usually

sinks into the arms of her partner, need it be said that the ingenious

Enriquez was found in the center of the floor supporting four of the

dancers! Yet he was by no means unduly excited either by the plaudits of

the crowd or by his evident success with the fair. "Ah, believe me, it

is nothing," he said quietly, rolling a fresh cigarette as he leaned

against the doorway. "Possibly, I shall have to offer the chocolate or

the wine to thees girls, or make to them a promenade in the moonlight

on the veranda. It is ever so. Unless, my friend," he said, suddenly

turning toward me in an excess of chivalrous self-abnegation, "unless

you shall yourself take my place. Behold, I gif them to you! I vamos!

I vanish! I make track! I skedaddle!" I think he would have carried

his extravagance to the point of summoning his four gypsy witches of

partners, and committing them to my care, if the crowd had not at

that moment parted before the remaining dancers, and left one of

the onlookers, a tall, slender girl, calmly surveying them through

gold-rimmed eyeglasses in complete critical absorption. I stared in

amazement and consternation; for I recognized in the fair stranger Miss

Urania Mannersley, the Congregational minister's niece!

Everybody knew Rainie Mannersley throughout the length and breadth of

the Encinal. She was at once the envy and the goad of the daughters of

those Southwestern and Eastern immigrants who had settled in the valley.

She was correct, she was critical, she was faultless and observant. She

was proper, yet independent; she was highly educated; she was suspected

of knowing Latin and Greek; she even spelled correctly! She could wither

the plainest field nosegay in the hands of other girls by giving the

flowers their botanical names. She never said "Ain't you?" but "Aren't

you?" She looked upon "Did I which?" as an incomplete and imperfect

form of "What did I do?" She quoted from Browning and Tennyson, and was

believed to have read them. She was from Boston. What could she possibly

be doing at a free-and-easy fandango?

Even if these facts were not already familiar to everyone there, her

outward appearance would have attracted attention. Contrasted with

the gorgeous red, black, and yellow skirts of the dancers, her

plain, tightly fitting gown and hat, all of one delicate gray, were

sufficiently notable in themselves, even had they not seemed, like the

girl herself, a kind of quiet protest to the glaring flounces before

her. Her small, straight waist and flat back brought into greater relief

the corsetless, waistless, swaying figures of the Mexican girls, and her

long, slim, well-booted feet, peeping from the stiff, white edges of her

short skirt, made their broad, low-quartered slippers, held on by the

big toe, appear more preposterous than ever. Suddenly she seemed

to realize that she was standing there alone, but without fear or

embarrassment. She drew back a little, glancing carelessly behind her

as if missing some previous companion, and then her eyes fell upon mine.

She smiled an easy recognition; then a moment later, her glance rested

more curiously upon Enriquez, who was still by my side. I disengaged

myself and instantly joined her, particularly as I noticed that a few of

the other bystanders were beginning to stare at her with little reserve.

"Isn't it the most extraordinary thing you ever saw?" she said quietly.

Then, presently noticing the look of embarrassment on my face, she went

on, more by way of conversation than of explanation:

"I just left uncle making a call on a parishioner next door, and was

going home with Jocasta (a peon servant of her uncle's), when I heard

the music, and dropped in. I don't know what has become of her," she

added, glancing round the room again; "she seemed perfectly wild when

she saw that creature over there bounding about with his handkerchiefs.

You were speaking to him just now. Do tell me--is he real?"

"I should think there was little doubt of that," I said with a vague


"You know what I mean," she said simply. "Is he quite sane? Does he do

that because he likes it, or is he paid for it?"

This was too much. I pointed out somewhat hurriedly that he was a scion

of one of the oldest Castilian families, that the performance was a

national gypsy dance which he had joined in as a patriot and a patron,

and that he was my dearest friend. At the same time I was conscious that

I wished she hadn't seen his last performance.

"You don't mean to say that all that he did was in the dance?" she said.

"I don't believe it. It was only like him." As I hesitated over this

palpable truth, she went on: "I do wish he'd do it again. Don't you

think you could make him?"

"Perhaps he might if YOU asked him," I said a little maliciously.

"Of course I shouldn't do that," she returned quietly. "All the same, I

do believe he is really going to do it--or something else. Do look!"

I looked, and to my horror saw that Enriquez, possibly incited by the

delicate gold eyeglasses of Miss Mannersley, had divested himself of

his coat, and was winding the four handkerchiefs, tied together,

picturesquely around his waist, preparatory to some new performance. I

tried furtively to give him a warning look, but in vain.

"Isn't he really too absurd for anything?" said Miss Mannersley, yet

with a certain comfortable anticipation in her voice. "You know, I never

saw anything like this before. I wouldn't have believed such a creature

could have existed."

Even had I succeeded in warning him, I doubt if it would have been of

any avail. For, seizing a guitar from one of the musicians, he struck a

few chords, and suddenly began to zigzag into the center of the floor,

swaying his body languishingly from side to side in time with the

music and the pitch of a thin Spanish tenor. It was a gypsy love song.

Possibly Miss Mannersley's lingual accomplishments did not include a

knowledge of Castilian, but she could not fail to see that the gestures

and illustrative pantomime were addressed to her. Passionately assuring

her that she was the most favored daughter of the Virgin, that her eyes

were like votive tapers, and yet in the same breath accusing her of

being a "brigand" and "assassin" in her attitude toward "his heart," he

balanced with quivering timidity toward her, threw an imaginary cloak

in front of her neat boots as a carpet for her to tread on, and with a

final astonishing pirouette and a languishing twang of his guitar, sank

on one knee, and blew, with a rose, a kiss at her feet.

If I had been seriously angry with him before for his grotesque

extravagance, I could have pitied him now for the young girl's absolute

unconsciousness of anything but his utter ludicrousness. The applause

of dancers and bystanders was instantaneous and hearty; her only

contribution to it was a slight parting of her thin red lips in a

half-incredulous smile. In the silence that followed the applause, as

Enriquez walked pantingly away, I heard her saying, half to herself,

"Certainly a most extraordinary creature!" In my indignation I could not

help turning suddenly upon her and looking straight into her eyes. They

were brown, with that peculiar velvet opacity common to the pupils of

nearsighted persons, and seemed to defy internal scrutiny. She only

repeated carelessly, "Isn't he?" and added: "Please see if you can find

Jocasta. I suppose we ought to be going now; and I dare say he won't be

doing it again. Ah! there she is. Good gracious, child! what have you

got there?"

It was Enriquez' rose which Jocasta had picked up, and was timidly

holding out toward her mistress.

"Heavens! I don't want it. Keep it yourself."

I walked with them to the door, as I did not fancy a certain glitter in

the black eyes of the Senoritas Manuela and Pepita, who were watching

her curiously. But I think she was as oblivious of this as she was of

Enriquez' particular attentions. As we reached the street I felt that I

ought to say something more.

"You know," I began casually, "that although those poor people meet here

in this public way, their gathering is really quite a homely pastoral

and a national custom; and these girls are all honest, hardworking peons

or servants enjoying themselves in quite the old idyllic fashion."

"Certainly," said the young girl, half-abstractedly. "Of course it's

a Moorish dance, originally brought over, I suppose, by those old

Andalusian immigrants two hundred years ago. It's quite Arabic in its

suggestions. I have got something like it in an old CANCIONERO I picked

up at a bookstall in Boston. But," she added, with a gasp of reminiscent

satisfaction, "that's not like HIM! Oh, no! HE is decidedly original.

Heavens! yes."

I turned away in some discomfiture to join Enriquez, who was calmly

awaiting me, with a cigarette in his mouth, outside the sala. Yet he

looked so unconscious of any previous absurdity that I hesitated in what

I thought was a necessary warning. He, however, quickly precipitated it.

Glancing after the retreating figures of the two women, he said: "Thees

mees from Boston is return to her house. You do not accompany her? I

shall. Behold me--I am there." But I linked my arm firmly in his. Then

I pointed out, first, that she was already accompanied by a servant;

secondly, that if I, who knew her, had hesitated to offer myself as an

escort, it was hardly proper for him, a perfect stranger, to take that

liberty; that Miss Mannersley was very punctilious of etiquette, which

he, as a Castilian gentleman, ought to appreciate.

"But will she not regard lofe--the admiration excessif?" he said,

twirling his thin little mustache meditatively.

"No; she will not," I returned sharply; "and you ought to understand

that she is on a different level from your Manuelas and Carmens."

"Pardon, my friend," he said gravely; "thees women are ever the same.

There is a proverb in my language. Listen: 'Whether the sharp blade of

the Toledo pierce the satin or the goatskin, it shall find behind it

ever the same heart to wound.' I am that Toledo blade--possibly it is

you, my friend. Wherefore, let us together pursue this girl of Boston on

the instant."

But I kept my grasp on Enriquez' arm, and succeeded in restraining his

mercurial impulses for the moment. He halted, and puffed vigorously at

his cigarette; but the next instant he started forward again. "Let us,

however, follow with discretion in the rear; we shall pass her house; we

shall gaze at it; it shall touch her heart."

Ridiculous as was this following of the young girl we had only just

parted from, I nevertheless knew that Enriquez was quite capable of

attempting it alone, and I thought it better to humor him by consenting

to walk with him in that direction; but I felt it necessary to say:

"I ought to warn you that Miss Mannersley already looks upon your

performances at the sala as something outre and peculiar, and if I were

you I shouldn't do anything to deepen that impression."

"You are saying she ees shock?" said Enriquez, gravely.

I felt I could not conscientiously say that she was shocked, and he saw

my hesitation. "Then she have jealousy of the senoritas," he observed,

with insufferable complacency. "You observe! I have already said. It is

ever so."

I could stand it no longer. "Look here, Harry," I said, "if you must

know it, she looks upon you as an acrobat--a paid performer."

"Ah!"--his black eyes sparkled--"the torero, the man who fights the

bull, he is also an acrobat."

"Yes; but she thinks you a clown!--a GRACIOSO DE TEATRO--there!"

"Then I have make her laugh?" he said coolly.

I don't think he had; but I shrugged my shoulders.

"BUENO!" he said cheerfully. "Lofe, he begin with a laugh, he make

feenish with a sigh."

I turned to look at him in the moonlight. His face presented its

habitual Spanish gravity--a gravity that was almost ironical. His

small black eyes had their characteristic irresponsible audacity--the

irresponsibility of the vivacious young animal. It could not be

possible that he was really touched with the placid frigidities of

Miss Mannersley. I remembered his equally elastic gallantries with Miss

Pinkey Smith, a blonde Western belle, from which both had harmlessly

rebounded. As we walked on slowly I continued more persuasively: "Of

course this is only your nonsense; but don't you see, Miss Mannersley

thinks it all in earnest and really your nature?" I hesitated, for

it suddenly struck me that it WAS really his nature. "And--hang it

all!--you don't want her to believe you a common buffoon., or some

intoxicated muchacho."

"Intoxicated?" repeated Enriquez, with exasperating languishment. "Yes;

that is the word that shall express itself. My friend, you have made

a shot in the center--you have ring the bell every time! It is

intoxication--but not of aguardiente. Look! I have long time an ancestor

of whom is a pretty story. One day in church he have seen a young

girl--a mere peasant girl--pass to the confessional. He look her in

her eye, he stagger"--here Enriquez wobbled pantomimically into the

road--"he fall!"--he would have suited the action to the word if I had

not firmly held him up. "They have taken him home, where he have remain

without his clothes, and have dance and sing. But it was the drunkenness

of lofe. And, look you, thees village girl was a nothing, not even

pretty. The name of my ancestor was--"

"Don Quixote de La Mancha," I suggested maliciously. "I suspected as

much. Come along. That will do."

"My ancestor's name," continued Enriquez, gravely, "was Antonio

Hermenegildo de Salvatierra, which is not the same. Thees Don Quixote of

whom you speak exist not at all."

"Never mind. Only, for heaven's sake, as we are nearing the house, don't

make a fool of yourself again."

It was a wonderful moonlight night. The deep redwood porch of the

Mannersley parsonage, under the shadow of a great oak--the largest in

the Encinal--was diapered in black and silver. As the women stepped

upon the porch their shadows were silhouetted against the door. Miss

Mannersley paused for an instant, and turned to give a last look at the

beauty of the night as Jocasta entered. Her glance fell upon us as

we passed. She nodded carelessly and unaffectedly to me, but as she

recognized Enriquez she looked a little longer at him with her previous

cold and invincible curiosity. To my horror Enriquez began instantly to

affect a slight tremulousness of gait and a difficulty of breathing; but

I gripped his arm savagely, and managed to get him past the house as the

door closed finally on the young lady.

"You do not comprehend, friend Pancho," he said gravely, "but those eyes

in their glass are as the ESPEJO USTORIO, the burning mirror. They burn,

they consume me here like paper. Let us affix to ourselves thees tree.

She will, without doubt, appear at her window. We shall salute her for

good night."

"We will do nothing of the kind," I said sharply. Finding that I was

determined, he permitted me to lead him away. I was delighted to

notice, however, that he had indicated the window which I knew was

the minister's study, and that as the bedrooms were in the rear of the

house, this later incident was probably not overseen by the young lady

or the servant. But I did not part from Enriquez until I saw him

safely back to the sala, where I left him sipping chocolate, his

arm alternating around the waists of his two previous partners in a

delightful Arcadian and childlike simplicity, and an apparent utter

forgetfulness of Miss Mannersley.

The fandangos were usually held on Saturday night, and the next day,

being Sunday, I missed Enriquez; but as he was a devout Catholic I

remembered that he was at mass in the morning, and possibly at the

bullfight at San Antonio in the afternoon. But I was somewhat surprised

on the Monday morning following, as I was crossing the plaza, to have

my arm taken by the Rev. Mr. Mannersley in the nearest approach to

familiarity that was consistent with the reserve of this eminent divine.

I looked at him inquiringly. Although scrupulously correct in attire,

his features always had a singular resemblance to the national

caricature known as "Uncle Sam," but with the humorous expression

left out. Softly stroking his goatee with three fingers, he began

condescendingly: "You are, I think, more or less familiar with the

characteristics and customs of the Spanish as exhibited by the settlers

here." A thrill of apprehension went through me. Had he heard of

Enriquez' proceedings? Had Miss Mannersley cruelly betrayed him to her

uncle? "I have not given that attention myself to their language and

social peculiarities," he continued, with a large wave of the hand,

"being much occupied with a study of their religious beliefs and

superstitions"--it struck me that this was apt to be a common fault of

people of the Mannersley type--"but I have refrained from a personal

discussion of them; on the contrary, I have held somewhat broad views

on the subject of their remarkable missionary work, and have suggested

a scheme of co-operation with them, quite independent of doctrinal

teaching, to my brethren of other Protestant Christian sects. These

views I first incorporated in a sermon last Sunday week, which I am told

has created considerable attention." He stopped and coughed slightly. "I

have not yet heard from any of the Roman clergy, but I am led to believe

that my remarks were not ungrateful to Catholics generally."

I was relieved, although still in some wonder why he should address me

on this topic. I had a vague remembrance of having heard that he had

said something on Sunday which had offended some Puritans of his

flock, but nothing more. He continued: "I have just said that I was

unacquainted with the characteristics of the Spanish-American race. I

presume, however, they have the impulsiveness of their Latin origin.

They gesticulate--eh? They express their gratitude, their joy, their

affection, their emotions generally, by spasmodic movements? They

naturally dance--sing--eh?" A horrible suspicion crossed my mind;

I could only stare helplessly at him. "I see," he said graciously;

"perhaps it is a somewhat general question. I will explain myself.

A rather singular occurrence happened to me the other night. I had

returned from visiting a parishioner, and was alone in my study

reviewing my sermon for the next day. It must have been quite late

before I concluded, for I distinctly remember my niece had returned

with her servant fully an hour before. Presently I heard the sounds of

a musical instrument in the road, with the accents of someone singing or

rehearsing some metrical composition in words that, although couched

in a language foreign to me, in expression and modulation gave me the

impression of being distinctly adulatory. For some little time, in

the greater preoccupation of my task, I paid little attention to the

performance; but its persistency at length drew me in no mere idle

curiosity to the window. From thence, standing in my dressing-gown,

and believing myself unperceived, I noticed under the large oak in the

roadside the figure of a young man who, by the imperfect light, appeared

to be of Spanish extraction. But I evidently miscalculated my own

invisibility; for he moved rapidly forward as I came to the window, and

in a series of the most extraordinary pantomimic gestures saluted me.

Beyond my experience of a few Greek plays in earlier days, I confess I

am not an adept in the understanding of gesticulation; but it struck me

that the various phases of gratitude, fervor, reverence, and exaltation

were successively portrayed. He placed his hands upon his head,

his heart, and even clasped them together in this manner." To my

consternation the reverend gentleman here imitated Enriquez' most

extravagant pantomime. "I am willing to confess," he continued, "that

I was singularly moved by them, as well as by the highly creditable and

Christian interest that evidently produced them. At last I opened the

window. Leaning out, I told him that I regretted that the lateness of

the hour prevented any further response from me than a grateful though

hurried acknowledgment of his praiseworthy emotion, but that I should be

glad to see him for a few moments in the vestry before service the next

day, or at early candlelight, before the meeting of the Bible class. I

told him that as my sole purpose had been the creation of an evangelical

brotherhood and the exclusion of merely doctrinal views, nothing could

be more gratifying to me than his spontaneous and unsolicited testimony

to my motives. He appeared for an instant to be deeply affected, and,

indeed, quite overcome with emotion, and then gracefully retired, with

some agility and a slight saltatory movement."

He paused. A sudden and overwhelming idea took possession of me, and

I looked impulsively into his face. Was it possible that for once

Enriquez' ironical extravagance had been understood, met, and vanquished

by a master hand? But the Rev. Mr. Mannersley's self-satisfied face

betrayed no ambiguity or lurking humor. He was evidently in earnest; he

had complacently accepted for himself the abandoned Enriquez' serenade

to his niece. I felt a hysterical desire to laugh, but it was checked by

my companion's next words.

"I informed my niece of the occurrence in the morning at breakfast. She

had not heard anything of the strange performance, but she agreed with

me as to its undoubted origin in a grateful recognition of my liberal

efforts toward his coreligionists. It was she, in fact, who suggested

that your knowledge of these people might corroborate my impressions."

I was dumfounded. Had Miss Mannersley, who must have recognized

Enriquez' hand in this, concealed the fact in a desire to shield him?

But this was so inconsistent with her utter indifference to him, except

as a grotesque study, that she would have been more likely to tell

her uncle all about his previous performance. Nor could it be that she

wished to conceal her visit to the fandango. She was far too independent

for that, and it was even possible that the reverend gentleman, in his

desire to know more of Enriquez' compatriots, would not have objected.

In my confusion I meekly added my conviction to hers, congratulated him

upon his evident success, and slipped away. But I was burning with

a desire to see Enriquez and know all. He was imaginative but not

untruthful. Unfortunately, I learned that he was just then following one

of his erratic impulses, and had gone to a rodeo at his cousin's, in

the foothills, where he was alternately exercising his horsemanship in

catching and breaking wild cattle and delighting his relatives with his

incomparable grasp of the American language and customs, and of the airs

of a young man of fashion. Then my thoughts recurred to Miss Mannersley.

Had she really been oblivious that night to Enriquez' serenade? I

resolved to find out, if I could, without betraying Enriquez. Indeed, it

was possible, after all, that it might not have been he.

Chance favored me. The next evening I was at a party where

Miss Mannersley, by reason of her position and quality, was a

distinguished--I had almost written a popular--guest. But, as I

have formerly stated, although the youthful fair of the Encinal were

flattered by her casual attentions, and secretly admired her superior

style and aristocratic calm, they were more or less uneasy under the

dominance of her intelligence and education, and were afraid to attempt

either confidence or familiarity. They were also singularly jealous

of her, for although the average young man was equally afraid of her

cleverness and her candor, he was not above paying a tremulous and timid

court to her for its effect upon her humbler sisters. This evening she

was surrounded by her usual satellites, including, of course, the local

notables and special guests of distinction. She had been discussing,

I think, the existence of glaciers on Mount Shasta with a spectacled

geologist, and had participated with charming frankness in a

conversation on anatomy with the local doctor and a learned professor,

when she was asked to take a seat at the piano. She played with

remarkable skill and wonderful precision, but coldly and brilliantly.

As she sat there in her subdued but perfectly fitting evening dress,

her regular profile and short but slender neck firmly set upon her high

shoulders, exhaling an atmosphere of refined puritanism and provocative

intelligence, the utter incongruity of Enriquez' extravagant attentions

if ironical, and their equal hopelessness if not, seemed to me plainer

than ever. What had this well-poised, coldly observant spinster to do

with that quaintly ironic ruffler, that romantic cynic, that rowdy Don

Quixote, that impossible Enriquez? Presently she ceased playing. Her

slim, narrow slipper, revealing her thin ankle, remained upon the

pedal; her delicate fingers were resting idly on the keys; her head was

slightly thrown back, and her narrow eyebrows prettily knit toward the

ceiling in an effort of memory.

"Something of Chopin's," suggested the geologist, ardently.

"That exquisite sonata!" pleaded the doctor.

"Suthin' of Rubinstein. Heard him once," said a gentleman of Siskiyou.

"He just made that pianner get up and howl. Play Rube."

She shook her head with parted lips and a slight touch of girlish

coquetry in her manner. Then her fingers suddenly dropped upon the keys

with a glassy tinkle; there were a few quick pizzicato chords, down went

the low pedal with a monotonous strumming, and she presently began to

hum to herself. I started--as well I might--for I recognized one of

Enriquez' favorite and most extravagant guitar solos. It was audacious;

it was barbaric; it was, I fear, vulgar. As I remembered it--as he

sang it--it recounted the adventures of one Don Francisco, a provincial

gallant and roisterer of the most objectionable type. It had one hundred

and four verses, which Enriquez never spared me. I shuddered as in a

pleasant, quiet voice the correct Miss Mannersley warbled in musical

praise of the PELLEJO, or wineskin, and a eulogy of the dicebox came

caressingly from her thin red lips. But the company was far differently

affected: the strange, wild air and wilder accompaniment were evidently

catching; people moved toward the piano; somebody whistled the air from

a distant corner; even the faces of the geologist and doctor brightened.

"A tarantella, I presume?" blandly suggested the doctor.

Miss Mannersley stopped, and rose carelessly from the piano. "It is a

Moorish gypsy song of the fifteenth century," she said dryly.

"It seemed sorter familiar, too," hesitated one of the young men,

timidly, "like as if--don't you know?--you had without knowing it, don't

you know?"--he blushed slightly--"sorter picked it up somewhere."

"I 'picked it up,' as you call it, in the collection of medieval

manuscripts of the Harvard Library, and copied it," returned Miss

Mannersley coldly as she turned away.

But I was not inclined to let her off so easily. I presently made my way

to her side. "Your uncle was complimentary enough to consult me as to

the meaning of the appearance of a certain exuberant Spanish visitor

at his house the other night." I looked into her brown eyes, but my

own slipped off her velvety pupils without retaining anything. Then she

reinforced her gaze with a pince-nez, and said carelessly:

"Oh, it's you? How are you? Well, could you give him any information?"

"Only generally," I returned, still looking into her eyes. "These people

are impulsive. The Spanish blood is a mixture of gold and quicksilver."

She smiled slightly. "That reminds me of your volatile friend. He was

mercurial enough, certainly. Is he still dancing?"

"And singing sometimes," I responded pointedly. But she only added

casually, "A singular creature," without exhibiting the least

consciousness, and drifted away, leaving me none the wiser. I felt that

Enriquez alone could enlighten me. I must see him.

I did, but not in the way I expected. There was a bullfight at San

Antonio the next Saturday afternoon, the usual Sunday performance being

changed in deference to the Sabbatical habits of the Americans. An

additional attraction was offered in the shape of a bull-and-bear fight,

also a concession to American taste, which had voted the bullfight

"slow," and had averred that the bull "did not get a fair show." I am

glad that I am able to spare the reader the usual realistic horrors, for

in the Californian performances there was very little of the brutality

that distinguished this function in the mother country. The horses were

not miserable, worn-out hacks, but young and alert mustangs; and the

display of horsemanship by the picadors was not only wonderful, but

secured an almost absolute safety to horse and rider. I never saw

a horse gored; although unskillful riders were sometimes thrown in

wheeling quickly to avoid the bull's charge, they generally regained

their animals without injury.

The Plaza de Toros was reached through the decayed and tile-strewn

outskirts of an old Spanish village. It was a rudely built oval

amphitheater, with crumbling, whitewashed adobe walls, and roofed only

over portions of the gallery reserved for the provincial "notables," but

now occupied by a few shopkeepers and their wives, with a sprinkling of

American travelers and ranchmen. The impalpable adobe dust of the arena

was being whirled into the air by the strong onset of the afternoon

trade winds, which happily, however, helped also to dissipate a reek

of garlic, and the acrid fumes of cheap tobacco rolled in cornhusk

cigarettes. I was leaning over the second barrier, waiting for the

meager and circuslike procession to enter with the keys of the bull pen,

when my attention was attracted to a movement in the reserved gallery.

A lady and gentleman of a quality that was evidently unfamiliar to the

rest of the audience were picking their way along the rickety benches

to a front seat. I recognized the geologist with some surprise, and the

lady he was leading with still greater astonishment. For it was Miss

Mannersley, in her precise, well-fitting walking-costume--a monotone of

sober color among the parti-colored audience.

However, I was perhaps less surprised than the audience, for I was not

only becoming as accustomed to the young girl's vagaries as I had been

to Enriquez' extravagance, but I was also satisfied that her uncle

might have given her permission to come, as a recognition of the Sunday

concession of the management, as well as to conciliate his supposed

Catholic friends. I watched her sitting there until the first bull

had entered, and, after a rather brief play with the picadors and

banderilleros, was dispatched. At the moment when the matador approached

the bull with his lethal weapon I was not sorry for an excuse to glance

at Miss Mannersley. Her hands were in her lap, her head slightly bent

forward over her knees. I fancied that she, too, had dropped her

eyes before the brutal situation; to my horror, I saw that she had a

drawing-book in her hand and was actually sketching it. I turned my eyes

in preference to the dying bull.

The second animal led out for this ingenious slaughter was, however,

more sullen, uncertain, and discomposing to his butchers. He accepted

the irony of a trial with gloomy, suspicious eyes, and he declined

the challenge of whirling and insulting picadors. He bristled with

banderillas like a hedgehog, but remained with his haunches backed

against the barrier, at times almost hidden in the fine dust raised by

the monotonous stroke of his sullenly pawing hoof--his one dull, heavy

protest. A vague uneasiness had infected his adversaries; the picadors

held aloof, the banderilleros skirmished at a safe distance. The

audience resented only the indecision of the bull. Galling epithets

were flung at him, followed by cries of "ESPADA!" and, curving his elbow

under his short cloak, the matador, with his flashing blade in hand,

advanced and--stopped. The bull remained motionless.

For at that moment a heavier gust of wind than usual swept down upon

the arena, lifted a suffocating cloud of dust, and whirled it around the

tiers of benches and the balcony, and for a moment seemed to stop the

performance. I heard an exclamation from the geologist, who had risen to

his feet. I fancied I heard even a faint cry from Miss Mannersley; but

the next moment, as the dust was slowly settling, we saw a sheet

of paper in the air, that had been caught up in this brief cyclone,

dropping, dipping from side to side on uncertain wings, until it slowly

descended in the very middle of the arena. It was a leaf from Miss

Mannersley's sketchbook, the one on which she had been sketching.

In the pause that followed it seemed to be the one object that at last

excited the bull's growing but tardy ire. He glanced at it with murky,

distended eyes; he snorted at it with vague yet troubled fury. Whether

he detected his own presentment in Miss Mannersley's sketch, or

whether he recognized it as an unknown and unfamiliar treachery in his

surroundings, I could not conjecture; for the next moment the matador,

taking advantage of the bull's concentration, with a complacent leer at

the audience, advanced toward the paper. But at that instant a young

man cleared the barrier into the arena with a single bound, shoved the

matador to one side, caught up the paper, turned toward the balcony

and Miss Mannersley with a gesture of apology, dropped gaily before the

bull, knelt down before him with an exaggerated humility, and held up

the drawing as if for his inspection. A roar of applause broke from the

audience, a cry of warning and exasperation from the attendants, as the

goaded bull suddenly charged the stranger. But he sprang to one side

with great dexterity, made a courteous gesture to the matador as if

passing the bull over to him, and still holding the paper in his hand,

re-leaped the barrier, and rejoined the audience in safety. I did not

wait to see the deadly, dominant thrust with which the matador received

the charging bull; my eyes were following the figure now bounding up the

steps to the balcony, where with an exaggerated salutation he laid the

drawing in Miss Mannersley's lap and vanished. There was no mistaking

that thin lithe form, the narrow black mustache, and gravely dancing

eyes. The audacity of conception, the extravagance of execution, the

quaint irony of the sequel, could belong to no one but Enriquez.

I hurried up to her as the six yoked mules dragged the carcass of the

bull away. She was placidly putting up her book, the unmoved focus of

a hundred eager and curious eyes. She smiled slightly as she saw me. "I

was just telling Mr. Briggs what an extraordinary creature it was, and

how you knew him. He must have had great experience to do that sort of

thing so cleverly and safely. Does he do it often? Of course, not just

that. But does he pick up cigars and things that I see they throw to the

matador? Does he belong to the management? Mr. Briggs thinks the whole

thing was a feint to distract the bull," she added, with a wicked glance

at the geologist, who, I fancied, looked disturbed.

"I am afraid," I said dryly, "that his act was as unpremeditated and

genuine as it was unusual."

"Why afraid?"

It was a matter-of-fact question, but I instantly saw my mistake. What

right had I to assume that Enriquez' attentions were any more genuine

than her own easy indifference; and if I suspected that they were, was

it fair in me to give my friend away to this heartless coquette?

"You are not very gallant," she said, with a slight laugh, as I was

hesitating, and turned away with her escort before I could frame a

reply. But at least Enriquez was now accessible, and I should gain some

information from him. I knew where to find him, unless he were still

lounging about the building, intent upon more extravagance; but I

waited until I saw Miss Mannersley and Briggs depart without further


The hacienda of Ramon Saltillo, Enriquez' cousin, was on the outskirts

of the village. When I arrived there I found Enriquez' pinto mustang

steaming in the corral, and although I was momentarily delayed by the

servants at the gateway, I was surprised to find Enriquez himself lying

languidly on his back in a hammock in the patio. His arms were hanging

down listlessly on each side as if in the greatest prostration, yet I

could not resist the impression that the rascal had only just got into

the hammock when he heard of my arrival.

"You have arrived, friend Pancho, in time," he said, in accents of

exaggerated weakness. "I am absolutely exhaust. I am bursted, caved in,

kerflummoxed. I have behold you, my friend, at the barrier. I speak not,

I make no sign at the first, because I was on fire; I speak not at the

feenish--for I am exhaust."

"I see; the bull made it lively for you."

He instantly bounded up in the hammock. "The bull! Caramba! Not a

thousand bulls! And thees one, look you, was a craven. I snap my fingers

over his horn; I roll my cigarette under his nose."

"Well, then--what was it?"

He instantly lay down again, pulling up the sides of the hammock.

Presently his voice came from its depths, appealing in hollow tones to

the sky. "He asks me--thees friend of my soul, thees brother of my life,

thees Pancho that I lofe--what it was? He would that I should tell him

why I am game in the legs, why I shake in the hand, crack in the voice,

and am generally wipe out! And yet he, my pardner--thees Francisco--know

that I have seen the mees from Boston! That I have gaze into the eye,

touch the hand, and for the instant possess the picture that hand have

drawn! It was a sublime picture, Pancho," he said, sitting up again

suddenly, "and have kill the bull before our friend Pepe's sword have

touch even the bone of hees back and make feenish of him."

"Look here, Enriquez," I said bluntly, "have you been serenading that


He shrugged his shoulders without the least embarrassment, and said:

"Ah, yes. What would you? It is of a necessity."

"Well," I retorted, "then you ought to know that her uncle took it all to

himself--thought you some grateful Catholic pleased with his religious


He did not even smile. "BUENO," he said gravely. "That make something,

too. In thees affair it is well to begin with the duenna. He is the


"And," I went on relentlessly, "her escort told her just now that your

exploit in the bull ring was only a trick to divert the bull, suggested

by the management."

"Bah! her escort is a geologian. Naturally, she is to him as a stone."

I would have continued, but a peon interrupted us at this moment with a

sign to Enriquez, who leaped briskly from the hammock, bidding me wait

his return from a messenger in the gateway.

Still unsatisfied of mind, I waited, and sat down in the hammock that

Enriquez had quitted. A scrap of paper was lying in its meshes, which

at first appeared to be of the kind from which Enriquez rolled his

cigarettes; but as I picked it up to throw it away, I found it was of

much firmer and stouter material. Looking at it more closely, I was

surprised to recognize it as a piece of the tinted drawing-paper torn

off the "block" that Miss Mannersley had used. It had been deeply

creased at right angles as if it had been folded; it looked as if it

might have been the outer half of a sheet used for a note.

It might have been a trifling circumstance, but it greatly excited my

curiosity. I knew that he had returned the sketch to Miss Mannersley,

for I had seen it in her hand. Had she given him another? And if so, why

had it been folded to the destruction of the drawing? Or was it part

of a note which he had destroyed? In the first impulse of discovery

I walked quickly with it toward the gateway where Enriquez had

disappeared, intending to restore it to him. He was just outside talking

with a young girl. I started, for it was Jocasta--Miss Mannersley's


With this added discovery came that sense of uneasiness and indignation

with which we illogically are apt to resent the withholding of a

friend's confidence, even in matters concerning only himself. It was no

use for me to reason that it was no business of mine, that he was right

in keeping a secret that concerned another--and a lady; but I was afraid

I was even more meanly resentful because the discovery quite upset my

theory of his conduct and of Miss Mannersley's attitude toward him. I

continued to walk on to the gateway, where I bade Enriquez a hurried

good-by, alleging the sudden remembrance of another engagement, but

without appearing to recognize the girl, who was moving away when, to

my further discomfiture, the rascal stopped me with an appealing wink,

threw his arms around my neck, whispered hoarsely in my ear, "Ah! you

see--you comprehend--but you are the mirror of discretion!" and returned

to Jocasta. But whether this meant that he had received a message from

Miss Mannersley, or that he was trying to suborn her maid to carry one,

was still uncertain. He was capable of either. During the next two

or three weeks I saw him frequently; but as I had resolved to try the

effect of ignoring Miss Mannersley in our conversation, I gathered

little further of their relations, and, to my surprise, after one or two

characteristic extravagances of allusion, Enriquez dropped the subject,

too. Only one afternoon, as we were parting, he said carelessly: "My

friend, you are going to the casa of Mannersley tonight. I too have the

honor of the invitation. But you will be my Mercury--my Leporello--you

will take of me a message to thees Mees Boston, that I am crushed,

desolated, prostrate, and flabbergasted--that I cannot arrive, for I

have of that night to sit up with the grand-aunt of my brother-in-law,

who has a quinsy to the death. It is sad."

This was the first indication I had received of Miss Mannersley's

advances. I was equally surprised at Enriquez' refusal.

"Nonsense!" I said bluntly. "Nothing keeps you from going."

"My friend," returned Enriquez, with a sudden lapse into languishment

that seemed to make him absolutely infirm, "it is everything that

shall restrain me. I am not strong. I shall become weak of the knee and

tremble under the eye of Mees Boston. I shall precipitate myself to the

geologian by the throat. Ask me another conundrum that shall be easy."

He seemed idiotically inflexible, and did not go. But I did. I found

Miss Mannersley exquisitely dressed and looking singularly animated and

pretty. The lambent glow of her inscrutable eye as she turned toward me

might have been flattering but for my uneasiness in regard to Enriquez.

I delivered his excuses as naturally as I could. She stiffened for an

instant, and seemed an inch higher. "I am so sorry," she said at last in

a level voice. "I thought he would have been so amusing. Indeed, I had

hoped we might try an old Moorish dance together which I have found and

was practicing."

"He would have been delighted, I know. It's a great pity he didn't come

with me," I said quickly; "but," I could not help adding, with emphasis

on her words, "he is such an 'extraordinary creature,' you know."

"I see nothing extraordinary in his devotion to an aged relative,"

returned Miss Mannersley quietly as she turned away, "except that it

justifies my respect for his character."

I do not know why I did not relate this to him. Possibly I had given up

trying to understand them; perhaps I was beginning to have an idea that

he could take care of himself. But I was somewhat surprised a few days

later when, after asking me to go with him to a rodeo at his uncle's he

added composedly, "You will meet Mees Boston."

I stared, and but for his manner would have thought it part of his

extravagance. For the rodeo--a yearly chase of wild cattle for the

purpose of lassoing and branding them--was a rather brutal affair,

and purely a man's function; it was also a family affair--a property

stock-taking of the great Spanish cattle-owners--and strangers,

particularly Americans, found it difficult to gain access to its

mysteries and the fiesta that followed.

"But how did she get an invitation?" I asked. "You did not dare to

ask--" I began.

"My friend," said Enriquez, with a singular deliberation, "the great and

respectable Boston herself, and her serene, venerable oncle, and other

Boston magnificos, have of a truth done me the inexpressible honor to

solicit of my degraded, papistical oncle that she shall come--that she

shall of her own superior eye behold the barbaric customs of our race."

His tone and manner were so peculiar that I stepped quickly before him,

laid my hands on his shoulders, and looked down into his face. But the

actual devil which I now for the first time saw in his eyes went out

of them suddenly, and he relapsed again in affected languishment in his

chair. "I shall be there, friend Pancho," he said, with a preposterous

gasp. "I shall nerve my arm to lasso the bull, and tumble him before her

at her feet. I shall throw the 'buck-jump' mustang at the same sacred

spot. I shall pluck for her the buried chicken at full speed from the

ground, and present it to her. You shall see it, friend Pancho. I shall

be there."

He was as good as his word. When Don Pedro Amador, his uncle, installed

Miss Mannersley, with Spanish courtesy, on a raised platform in the long

valley where the rodeo took place, the gallant Enriquez selected a bull

from the frightened and galloping herd, and, cleverly isolating him

from the band, lassoed his hind legs, and threw him exactly before the

platform where Miss Mannersley was seated. It was Enriquez who caught

the unbroken mustang, sprang from his own saddle to the bare back of his

captive, and with the lasso for a bridle, halted him on rigid haunches

at Miss Mannersley's feet. It was Enriquez who, in the sports that

followed, leaned from his saddle at full speed, caught up the chicken

buried to its head in the sand, without wringing its neck, and tossed

it unharmed and fluttering toward his mistress. As for her, she wore

the same look of animation that I had seen in her face at our previous

meeting. Although she did not bring her sketchbook with her, as at the

bullfight, she did not shrink from the branding of the cattle, which

took place under her very eyes.

Yet I had never seen her and Enriquez together; they had never, to my

actual knowledge, even exchanged words. And now, although she was the

guest of his uncle, his duties seemed to keep him in the field, and

apart from her. Nor, as far as I could detect, did either apparently

make any effort to have it otherwise. The peculiar circumstance seemed

to attract no attention from anyone else. But for what I alone knew--or

thought I knew--of their actual relations, I should have thought them


But I felt certain that the fiesta which took place in the broad patio

of Don Pedro's casa would bring them together. And later in the evening,

as we were all sitting on the veranda watching the dancing of the

Mexican women, whose white-flounced sayas were monotonously rising and

falling to the strains of two melancholy harps, Miss Mannersley rejoined

us from the house. She seemed to be utterly absorbed and abstracted in

the barbaric dances, and scarcely moved as she leaned over the railing

with her cheek resting on her hand. Suddenly she arose with a little


"What is it?" asked two or three.

"Nothing--only I have lost my fan." She had risen, and was looking

abstractedly on the floor.

Half a dozen men jumped to their feet. "Let me fetch it," they said.

"No, thank you. I think I know where it is, and will go for it myself."

She was moving away.

But Don Pedro interposed with Spanish gravity. Such a thing was not to

be heard of in his casa. If the senorita would not permit HIM--an old

man--to go for it, it must be brought by Enriquez, her cavalier of the


But Enriquez was not to be found. I glanced at Miss Mannersley's

somewhat disturbed face, and begged her to let me fetch it. I thought I

saw a flush of relief come into her pale cheek as she said, in a lower

voice, "On the stone seat in the garden."

I hurried away, leaving Don Pedro still protesting. I knew the gardens,

and the stone seat at an angle of the wall, not a dozen yards from

the casa. The moon shone full upon it. There, indeed, lay the little

gray-feathered fan. But beside it, also, lay the crumpled black

gold-embroidered riding-gauntlet that Enriquez had worn at the rodeo.

I thrust it hurriedly into my pocket, and ran back. As I passed through

the gateway I asked a peon to send Enriquez to me. The man stared. Did I

not know that Don Enriquez had ridden away two minutes ago?

When I reached the veranda, I handed the fan to Miss Mannersley without

a word. "BUENO," said Don Pedro, gravely; "it is as well. There shall be

no bones broken over the getting of it, for Enriquez, I hear, has had to

return to the Encinal this very evening."

Miss Mannersley retired early. I did not inform her of my discovery, nor

did I seek in any way to penetrate her secret. There was no doubt that

she and Enriquez had been together, perhaps not for the first time; but

what was the result of their interview? From the young girl's demeanor

and Enriquez' hurried departure, I could only fear the worst for him.

Had he been tempted into some further extravagance and been angrily

rebuked, or had he avowed a real passion concealed under his exaggerated

mask and been deliberately rejected? I tossed uneasily half the night,

following in my dreams my poor friend's hurrying hoofbeats, and ever

starting from my sleep at what I thought was the sound of galloping


I rose early, and lounged into the patio; but others were there before

me, and a small group of Don Pedro's family were excitedly discussing

something, and I fancied they turned away awkwardly and consciously as

I approached. There was an air of indefinite uneasiness everywhere. A

strange fear came over me with the chill of the early morning air. Had

anything happened to Enriquez? I had always looked upon his extravagance

as part of his playful humor. Could it be possible that under the sting

of rejection he had made his grotesque threat of languishing effacement

real? Surely Miss Mannersley would know or suspect something, if it were

the case.

I approached one of the Mexican women and asked if the senorita had

risen. The woman started, and looked covertly round before she replied.

Did not Don Pancho know that Miss Mannersley and her maid had not slept

in their beds that night, but had gone, none knew where?

For an instant I felt an appalling sense of my own responsibility in

this suddenly serious situation, and hurried after the retreating

family group. But as I entered the corridor a vaquero touched me on the

shoulder. He had evidently just dismounted, and was covered with the

dust of the road. He handed me a note written in pencil on a leaf

from Miss Mannersley's sketchbook. It was in Enriquez' hand, and his

signature was followed by his most extravagant rubric.

Friend Pancho: When you read this line you shall of a possibility think

I am no more. That is where you shall slip up, my little brother! I am

much more--I am two times as much, for I have marry Miss Boston. At the

Mission Church, at five of the morning, sharp! No cards shall be left! I

kiss the hand of my venerable uncle-in-law. You shall say to him that

we fly to the South wilderness as the combined evangelical missionary to

the heathen! Miss Boston herself say this. Ta-ta! How are you now?

Your own Enriquez.