A Ramble with Eulogia,
by Gertrude Atherton
Forties, Stories of Old California
[Footnote 1: Pronounced a-oo-lo-hia.]
Dona Pomposa crossed her hands on her stomach and twirled her thumbs. A
red spot was in each coffee-coloured cheek, and the mole in her scanty
eyebrow jerked ominously. Her lips were set in a taut line, and her
angry little eyes were fixed upon a girl who sat by the window strumming
a guitar, her chin raised with an air of placid impertinence.
"Thou wilt stop this nonsense and cast no more glances at Juan Tornel!"
commanded Doña Pomposa. "Thou little brat! Dost thou think that I am
one to let my daughter marry before she can hem? Thank God we have more
sense than our mothers! No child of mine shall marry at fifteen. Now
listen—thou shalt be locked in a dark room if I am kept awake again
by that hobo serenading at thy window. To-morrow, when thou goest to
church, take care that thou throwest him no glance. Dios de mi alma!
I am worn out! Three nights have I been awakened by that tw-a-n-g,
"You need not be afraid," said her daughter, digging her little heel
into the floor. "I shall not fall in love. I have no faith in men."
Her mother laughed outright in spite of her anger.
"Indeed, my Eulogia! Thou art very wise. And why, pray, hast thou no
faith in men?"
Eulogia tossed the soft black braid from her shoulder, and fixed her
keen roguish eyes on the old lady's face.
"Because I have read all the novels of the Señor Dumas, and I well know
all those men he makes. And they never speak the truth to women; always
they are selfish, and think only of their own pleasure. If the women
suffer, they do not care; they do not love the women—only themselves.
So I am not going to be fooled by the men. I shall enjoy life, but I
shall think of myself, not of the men."
Her mother gazed at her in speechless amazement. She never had read a
book in her life, and had not thought of locking from her daughter
the few volumes her dead husband had collected. Then she gasped with
"Por Dios, señorita, a fine woman thou wilt make of thyself with such
ideas! a nice wife and mother—when the time comes. What does Padro
Flores say to that, I should like to know? It is very strange that he
has let you read those books."
"I have never told him," said Eulogia, indifferently.
"What!" screamed her mother. "You never told at confession?"
"No, I never did. It was none of his business what I read. Reading is no
sin. I confessed all—"
"Mother of God!" cried Doña Pomposa, and she rushed at Eulogia with
uplifted hand; but her nimble daughter dived under her arm with a
provoking laugh, and ran out of the room.
That night Eulogia pushed aside the white curtain of her window and
looked out. The beautiful bare hills encircling San Luis Obispo were
black in the silvered night, but the moon made the town light as day.
The owls were hooting on the roof of the mission; Eulogia could see them
flap their wings. A few Indians were still moving among the dark huts
outside the walls, and within, the padre walked among his olive trees.
Beyond the walls the town was still awake. Once a horseman dashed
down the street, and Eulogia wondered if murder had been done in the
mountains; the bandits were thick in their fastnesses. She did wish
she could see one. Then she glanced eagerly down the road beneath
her window. In spite of the wisdom she had accepted from the French
romanticist, her fancy was just a little touched by Juan Tornel. His
black flashing eyes could look so tender, and he rode so beautifully.
She twitched the curtain into place and ran across the room, her feet
pattering on the bare floor, jumped into her little iron bed, and drew
the dainty sheet to her throat. A ladder had fallen heavily against the
side of the house.
She heard an agile form ascend and seat itself on the deep window-sill.
Then the guitar vibrated under the touch of master fingers, and a rich
sweet tenor sang to her:—
"El corazon del amor palpita,
Al oir de tu dulce voz,
Cuando mi sangre
Se pone en agitación,
Tu eres la mas hermosa,
Tu eres la luz del dia,
Tu eres la gloria mia,
Tu eres mi dulce bien.
"Negro tienes el cabello,
Talle lineas hermosas,
Mano blanca, pie precioso,
No hay que decir en ti:—Tu
eres la mas hermosa,
Tu eres la luz del dia,
Tu eres la prenda mía,
Tu me harás morir.
"Que importa que noche y dia,
En ti sola estoy pensando,
El corazón palpitante
No cesa de repetir:—
Tu eres la mas hermosa,
Tu eres la luz del dia,
Tu eres la prenda mía,
Tu me harás morir—Eulogia!"
Eulogia lay as quiet as a mouse in the daytime, not daring to applaud,
hoping fatigue had sent her mother to sleep. Her lover tuned his guitar
and began another song, but she did not hear it; she was listening to
footfalls in the garret above. With a presentiment of what was about
to happen she sprang out of bed with a warning cry; but she was too
late. There was a splash and rattle on the window-seat, a smothered
curse, a quick descent, a triumphant laugh from above. Eulogia stamped
her foot with rage. She cautiously raised the window and passed her hand
along the outer sill. This time she beat the casement with both hands:
they were covered with warm ashes.
"Well, my daughter, have I not won the battle?" said a voice behind her,
and Eulogia sat down on the window-seat and swung her feet in silent
Doña Pomposa wore a rather short night-gown, and her feet were encased
in a pair of her husband's old boots. Her hair was twisted under a red
silk kerchief, and again she crossed her hands on her stomach, but the
thumbs upheld a candle. Eulogia giggled suddenly.
"What dost thou laugh at, señorita? At the way I have served thy lover?
Dost thou think he will come soon again?"
"No, mamma, you have proved the famous hospitality of the Californians
which the Americans are always talking about. You need have no more
envy of the magnificence of Los Quervos." And then she kicked her heels
against the wall.
"Oh, thou canst make sharp speeches, thou impertinent little brat; but
Juan Tornel will serenade under thy window no more. Dios! the ashes must
look well on his pretty mustachios. Go to bed. I will put thee to board
in the convent to-morrow." And she shuffled out of the room, her ample
figure swinging from side to side like a large pendulum.
The next day Eulogia was sitting on her window-seat, her chin resting on
her knees, a volume of Dumas beside her, when the door was cautiously
opened and her Aunt Anastacia entered the room. Aunt Anastacia was
very large; in fact she nearly filled the doorway; she also disdained
whalebones and walked with a slight roll. Her ankles hung over her feet,
and her red cheeks and chin were covered with a short black down. Her
hair was twisted into a tight knot and protected by a thick net, and she
wore a loose gown of brown calico, patterned with large red roses. But
good-nature beamed all over her indefinite features, and her little eyes
dwelt adoringly upon Eulogia, who gave her an absent smile.
"Poor little one," she said in her indulgent voice. "But it was cruel in
my sister to throw ashes on thy lover. Not but what thou art too young
for lovers, my darling,—although I had one at twelve. But times have
changed. My little one—I have a note for thee. Thy mother is out, and
he has gone away, so there can be no harm in reading it—"
"Give it to me at once"—and Eulogia dived into her aunt's pocket and
found the note.
"Beautiful and idolized Eulogia.—Adios! Adios! I came a stranger to
thy town. I fell blinded at thy feet. I fly forever from the scornful
laughter in thine eyes. Ay, Eulogia, how couldst thou? But no! I will
not believe it was thou! The dimples that play in thy cheeks, the sparks
that fly in thine eyes—Dios de mi vida! I cannot believe that they come
from a malicious soul. No, enchanting Eulogia! Consolation of my soul!
It was thy mother who so cruelly humiliated me, who drives me from thy
town lest I be mocked in the streets. Ay, Eulogia! Ay, misericordia!
Eulogia shrugged her shoulders. "Well, my mother is satisfied, perhaps.
She has driven him away. At least, I shall not have to go to the
"Thou art so cold, my little one," said Aunt Anastacia, disapprovingly.
"Thou art but fifteen years, and yet thou throwest aside a lover as if
he were an old reboso. Madre de Dios! In your place I should have wept
and beaten the air. But perhaps that is the reason all the young men are
wild for thee. Not but that I had many lovers—"
"It is too bad thou didst not marry one," interrupted Eulogia,
maliciously. "Perhaps thou wouldst"—and she picked up her book—"if
thou hadst read the Señor Dumas."
"Thou heartless baby!" cried her indignant aunt, "when I love thee so,
and bring thy notes at the risk of my life, for thou knowest that thy
mother would pull the hair from my head. Thou little brat! to say I
could not marry, when I had twenty—"
Eulogia jumped up and pecked her on the chin like a bird. "Twenty-five,
my old mountain. I only joked with thee. Thou didst not marry because
thou hadst more sense than to trot about after a man. Is it not so, my
old sack of flour? I was but angry because I thought thou hadst helped
my mother last night."
"Never! I was sound asleep."
"I know, I know. Now trot away. I hear my mother coming," and Aunt
Anastacia obediently left her niece to the more congenial company of the
The steep hills of San Luis Obispo shot upward like the sloping sides of
a well, so round was the town. Scarlet patches lay on the slopes—the
wide blossoms of the low cacti. A gray-green peak and a mulberry peak
towered, kithless and gaunt, in the circle of tan-coloured hills brushed
with purple. The garden of the mission was green with fruit trees and
silver with olive groves. On the white church and long wing lay the red
tiles; beyond the wall the dull earth huts of the Indians. Then the
straggling town with its white adobe houses crouching on the grass.
Eulogia was sixteen. A year had passed since Juan Tornel serenaded
beneath her window, and, if the truth must be told, she had almost
forgotten him. Many a glance had she shot over her prayer-book in the
mission church; many a pair of eyes, dreamy or fiery, had responded. But
she had spoken with no man. After a tempestuous scene with her mother,
during which Aunt Anastacia had wept profusely, a compromise had been
made: Eulogia had agreed to have no more flirtations until she was
sixteen, but at that age she should go to balls and have as many lovers
as she pleased.
She walked through the olive groves with Padre Moraga on the morning of
her sixteenth birthday. The new padre and she were the best of friends.
"Well," said the good old man, pushing the long white hair from his dark
face—it fell forward whenever he stooped—"well, my little one, thou
goest to thy first ball to-night. Art thou happy?"
Eulogia lifted her shoulder. Her small nose also tilted.
"Happy? There is no such thing as happiness, my father. I shall dance,
and flirt, and make all the young men fall in love with me. I shall
enjoy myself, that is enough."
The padre smiled; he was used to her.
"Thou little wise one!" He collected himself suddenly. "But thou art
right to build thy hopes of happiness on the next world alone." Then
he continued, as if he merely had broken the conversation to say the
Angelus: "And thou art sure that thou wilt be La Favorita? Truly, thou
hast confidence in thyself—an inexperienced chit who has not half the
beauty of many other girls."
"Perhaps not; but the men shall love me better, all the same. Beauty is
not everything, my father. I have a greater attraction than soft eyes
and a pretty mouth."
"Indeed! Thou baby! Why, thou art no bigger than a well-grown child, and
thy mouth was made for a woman twice thy size. Where dost thou keep that
extraordinary charm?" Not but that he knew, for he liked her better
than any girl in the town, but he felt it his duty to act the part of
curb-bit now and again.
"You know, my father," said Eulogia, coolly; "and if you have any doubt,
wait until to-morrow."
The ball was given in the long sala of Doña Antonia Ampudia, on the edge
of the rambling town. As the night was warm, the young people danced
through the low windows on to the wide corridor; and, if watchful eyes
relaxed their vigilance, stepped off to the grass and wandered among
the trees. The brown old women in dark silks sat against the wall, as
dowagers do to-day. Most of the girls wore bright red or yellow gowns,
although softer tints blossomed here and there. Silken black hair was
braided close to the neck, the coiffure finished with a fringe of
chenille. As they whirled in the dance, their full bright gowns looked
like an agitated flower-bed suddenly possessed by a wandering tribe of
Eulogia came rather late. At the last moment her mother had wavered in
her part of the contract, and it was not until Eulogia had sworn by
every saint in the calendar that she would not leave the sala, even
though she stifled, that Doña Pomposa had reluctantly consented to take
her. Eulogia's perfect little figure was clad in a prim white silk gown,
but her cold brilliant eyes were like living jewels, her large mouth was
as red as the cactus patches on the hills, and a flame burned in either
cheek. In a moment she was surrounded by the young men who had been
waiting for her. It might be true that twenty girls in the room were
more beautiful than she, but she had a quiet manner more effective than
animation, a vigorous magnetism of which she was fully aware, and a cool
coquetry which piqued and fired the young men, who were used to more
She danced as airily as a flower on the wind, but with untiring
"Señorita!" exclaimed Don Carmelo Peña, "thou takest away my breath.
Dost thou never weary?"
"Never. I am not a man."
"Ay, señorita, thou meanest—"
"That women were made to make the world go round, and men to play the
"Ay, I can play the guitar. I will serenade thee to-morrow night."
"Thou wilt get a shower of ashes for thy pains. Better stay at home, and
prepare thy soul with three-card monte"
"Ay, señorita, but thou art cruel! Does no man please thee?"
"Men please me. How tiresome to dance with a woman!"
"And that is all the use thou hast for us? For us who would die for
"In a barrel of aguardiente? I prefer thee to dance with. To tell the
truth, thy step suits mine."
"Ay, señorita mia! thou canst put honey on thy tongue. God of my life,
señorita—I fling my heart at thy feet!"
"I fear to break it, señor, for I have faith that it is made of thin
glass. It would cut my feet. I like better this smooth floor. Who is
that standing by the window? He has not danced to-night?"
"Don Pablo Ignestria of Monterey. He says the women of San Luis are not
half so beautiful nor so elegant as the women of Monterey; he says they
are too dark and too small. He does not wish to dance with any one; nor
do any of the girls wish to dance with him. They are very angry."
"I wish to dance with him. Bring him to me."
"But, señorita, I tell thee thou wouldst not like him. Holy heaven! Why
do those eyes flash so? Thou lookest as if thou wouldst fight with thy
"Bring him to me."
Don Carmelo walked obediently over to Don Pablo, although burning with
"Señor, at your service," he said. "I wish to introduce you to the most
charming señorita in the room."
"Which?" asked Ignestria, incuriously.
Don Carmelo indicated Eulogia with a grand sweep of his hand.
"That little thing? Why, there are a dozen prettier girls in the room
than she, and I have not cared to meet any of them!"
"But she has commanded me to take you to her, señor, and—look at the
men crowding about her—do you think I dare to disobey?"
The stranger's dark gray eyes became less insensible. He was a handsome
man, with a tall figure, and a smooth strong face; but about him hung
the indolence of the Californian.
"Very well," he said, "take me to her."
He asked her to dance, and after a waltz Eulogia said she was tired, and
they sat down within a proper distance of Doña Pomposa's eagle eye.
"What do you think of the women of San Luis Obispo?" asked Eulogia,
innocently. "Are not they handsome?"
"They are not to be compared with the women of Monterey—since you ask
"Because they find the men of San Luis more gallant than the Señor Don
"Do they? One, I believe, asked to have me introduced to her!"
"True, señor. I wished to meet you that you might fall in love with me,
and that the ladies of San Luis might have their vengeance."
He stared at her.
"Truly, señorita, but you do not hide your cards. And why, then, should
I fall in love with you?"
"Because I am different from the women of Monterey."
"A good reason why I should not. I have been in every town in
California, and I admire no women but those of my city."
"And because you will hate me first."
"And if I hate you, how can I love you?"
"It is the same. You hate one woman and love another. Each is the same
passion, only to a different person out goes a different side. Let the
person loved or hated change his nature, and the passion will change."
He looked at her with more interest.
"In truth I think I shall begin with love and end with hate, señorita.
But that wisdom was not born in your little head; for sixteen years, I
think, have not sped over it, no? It went in, if I mistake not, through
those bright eyes."
"Yes, señor, that is true. I am not content to be just like other girls
of sixteen. I want to know—to know. Have you ever read any books,
"Many." He looked at her with a lively interest now. "What ones have you
"Only the beautiful romances of the Señor Dumas. I have seen no others,
for there are not many books in San Luis. Have you read others?"
"A great many others. Two wonderful Spanish books—'Don Quixote de la
Mancha' and 'Gil Blas,' and the romances of Sir Waltere Scote—a man of
England, and some lives of famous men, señorita. A great man lent them
to me—the greatest of our Governors—Alvarado."
"And you will lend them to me?" cried Eulogia, forgetting her coquetry,
"I want to read them."
"Aha! Those cool eyes can flash. That even little voice can break in
two. By the holy Evangelists, señorita, thou shalt have every book I
"Will the Señorita Doña Eulogia favour us with a song?"
Don Carmelo was bowing before her, a guitar in his hand, his wrathful
eyes fixed upon Don Pablo.
"Yes," said Eulogia.
She took the guitar and sang a love-song in a manner which can best be
described as no manner at all; her expression never changed, her voice
never warmed. At first the effect was flat, then the subtle fascination
of it grew until the very memory of impassioned tones was florid and
surfeiting. When she finished, Ignestria's heart was hammering upon the
steel in which he fancied he had prisoned it.
"Well," said Eulogia to Padre Moraga two weeks later, "am I not La
"Thou art, thou little coquette. Thou hast a power over men which thou
must use with discretion, my Eulogia. Tell thy beads three times a day
and pray that thou mayest do no harm."
"I wish to do harm, my father, for men have broken the hearts of women
"Chut, chut, thou baby! Men are not so black as they are painted. Harm
no one, and the world will be better that thou hast lived in it."
"If I scratch, fewer women will be scratched," and she raised her
shoulders beneath the flowered muslin of her gown, swung her guitar
under her arm, and walked down the grove, the silver leaves shining
above her smoky hair.
The padre had bidden all the young people of the upper class to a picnic
in the old mission garden. Girls in gay muslins and silk rebosos were
sitting beneath the arches of the corridor or flitting under the trees
where the yellow apricots hung among the green leaves. Languid and
sparkling faces coquetted with caballeros in bright calico jackets and
knee-breeches laced with silken cord, their slender waists girt with
long sashes hanging gracefully over the left hip. The water rilled in
the winding creek, the birds carolled in the trees; but above all rose
the sound of light laughter and sweet strong voices.
They took their dinner behind the arches, at a table the length of the
corridor, and two of the young men played the guitar and sang, whilst
the others delighted their keen palates with the goods the padre had
Don Pablo sat by Eulogia, a place he very often managed to fill; but he
never had seen her for a moment alone.
"I must go soon, Eulogia," he murmured, as the voices waxed louder.
"Duty calls me back to Monterey."
"I am glad to know thou hast a sense of thy duty."
"Nothing but that would take me away from San Luis Obispo. But both my
mother and—and—a dear friend are ill, and wish to see me."
"Thou must go to-night. How canst thou eat and be gay when thy mother
and—and—a dear friend are ill?"
"Ay, Eulogia! wouldst thou scoff over my grave? I go, but it is for thee
to say if I return."
"Do not tell me that thou adorest me here at the table. I shall blush,
and all will be about my smarting ears like the bees down in the padre's
"I shall not tell thee that before all the world, Eulogia. All I ask
is this little favour: I shall send thee a letter the night I leave.
Promise me that thou wilt answer it—to Monterey."
"No, sir! Long ago, when I was twelve, I made a vow I would never write
to a man. I never break that vow."
"Thou wilt break it for me, Eulogia."
"And why for you, señor? Half the trouble in the world has been made on
"Oh, thou wise one! What trouble can a piece of paper make when it lies
on a man's heart?"
"It can crackle when another head lies on it."
"No head will ever lie here but—"
"To thee, Señorita Doña Eulogia," cried a deep voice. "May the jewels in
thine eyes shine by the stars when thou art above them. May the tears
never dim them while they shine for us below," and a caballero pushed
back his chair, leaned forward, and touched her glass with his, then
went down on one knee and drank the red wine.
Eulogia threw him a little absent smile, sipped her wine, and went on
talking to Ignestria in her soft monotonous voice.
"My friend—Graciosa La Cruz—went a few weeks ago to Monterey for a
visit. You will tell her I think of her, no?"
"I will dance with her often because she is your friend—until I return
to San Luis Obispo."
"Will that be soon, señor?"
"I told thee that would be as soon as thou wished. Thou wilt answer my
letter—promise me, Eulogia."
"I will not, señor. I intend to be wiser than other women. At the very
least, my follies shall not burn paper. If you want an answer, you will
"I will not return without that answer. I never can see thee alone,
and if I could, thy coquetry would not give me a plain answer. I must
see it on paper before I will believe."
"Thou canst wait for the day of resurrection for thy knowledge, then!"
Once more Aunt Anastacia rolled her large figure through Eulogia's
doorway and handed her a letter.
"From Don Pablo Ignestria, my baby," she said. "Oh, what a man! what a
caballero! And so smart. He waited an hour by the creek in the mission
gardens until he saw thy mother go out, and then he brought the note to
me. He begged to see thee, but I dared not grant that, niñita, for thy
mother will be back in ten minutes."
"Go downstairs and keep my mother there," commanded Eulogia, and Aunt
Anastacia rolled off, whilst her niece with unwonted nervousness opened
"Sweet of my soul! Day-star of my life! I dare not speak to thee of love
because, strong man as I am, still am I a coward before those mocking
eyes. Therefore if thou laugh the first time thou readest that I love
thee, I shall not see it, and the second time thou mayest be more kind.
Beautiful and idolized Eulogia, men have loved thee, but never will be
cast at thy little feet a heart stronger or truer than mine. Ay, dueño
adorada, I love thee! Without hope? No! I believe that thou lovest me,
thou cold little one, although thou dost not like to think that the
heart thou hast sealed can open to let love in. But, Eulogia! Star of my
eyes! I love thee so I will break that heart in pieces, and give thee
another so soft and warm that it will beat all through the old house to
which I will take thee. For thou wilt come to me, thou little coquette?
Thou wilt write to me to come back and stand with thee in the mission
while the good padre asks the saints to bless us? Eulogia, thou hast
sworn thou wilt write to no man, but thou wilt write to me, my little
one. Thou wilt not break the heart that lives in thine.
"I kiss thy little feet. I kiss thy tiny hands. I kiss—ay, Eulogia!
Eulogia could not resist that letter. Her scruples vanished, and, after
an entire day of agonized composition, she sent these lines:—
"You can come back to San Luis Obispo.
"EULOGIA AMATA FRANCISCA GUADALUPE CARILLO."
Another year had passed. No answer had come from Pablo Ignestria. Nor
had he returned to San Luis Obispo. Two months after Eulogia had sent
her letter, she received one from Graciosa La Cruz, containing the
information that Ignestria had married the invalid girl whose love for
him had been the talk of Monterey for many years. And Eulogia? Her
flirtations had earned her far and wide the title of Doña Coquetta, and
she was cooler, calmer, and more audacious than ever.
"Dost thou never intend to marry?" demanded Doña Pomposa one day, as she
stood over the kitchen stove stirring red peppers into a saucepan full
Eulogia was sitting on the table swinging her small feet. "Why do you
wish me to marry? I am well enough as I am. Was Elena Castañares so
happy with the man who was mad for her that I should hasten to be a
neglected wife? Poor my Elena! Four years, and then consumption and
death. Three children and an indifferent husband, who was dying of love
when he could not get her."
"Thou thinkest of unhappy marriages because thou hast just heard of
Elena's death. But there are many others."
"Did you hear of the present she left her mother?"
"No." Doña Pomposa dropped her spoon; she dearly loved a bit of gossip.
"What was it?"
"You know that a year ago Elena went home to Los Quervos and begged Don
Roberto and Doña Jacoba on her knees to forgive her, and they did, and
were glad to do it. Doña Jacoba was with her when she was so ill at the
last, and just before she died Elena said: 'Mother, in that chest you
will find a legacy from me. It is all of my own that I have in the
world, and I leave it to you. Do not take it until I am dead.' And what
do you think it was? The greenhide reata."
"Mother of God! But Jacoba must have felt as if she were already in
"It is said that she grew ten years older in the night."
"May the saints be praised, my child can leave me no such gift. But all
men are not like Dario Castañares. I would have thee marry an American.
They are smart and know how to keep the gold. Remember, I have little
now, and thou canst not be young forever."
"I have seen no American I would marry."
"There is Don Abel Hudson."
"I do not trust that man. His tongue is sweet and his face is handsome,
but always when I meet him I feel a little afraid, although it goes away
in a minute. The Señor Dumas says that a woman's instincts—"
"To perdition with Señor Dumas! Does he say that a chit's instincts are
better than her mother's? Don Abel throws about the money like rocks.
He has the best horses at the races. He tells me that he has a house in
"San Francisco. And I would not live in that bleak and sandy waste. Did
you notice how he limped at the ball last night?"
"No. What of that? But I am not in love with Don Abel Hudson if thou art
so set against him. It is true that no one knows just who he is, now I
think of it. I had not made up my mind that he was the husband for thee.
But let it be an American, my Eulogia. Even when they have no money they
will work for it, and that is what no Californian will do—"
But Eulogia had run out of the room: she rarely listened to the end of
her mother's harangues. She draped a reboso about her head, and went
over to the house of Graciosa La Cruz. Her friend was sitting by her
bedroom window, trimming a yellow satin bed-spread with lace, and
Eulogia took up a half-finished sheet and began fastening the drawn
threads into an intricate pattern.
"Only ten days more, my Graciosa," she said mischievously. "Art thou
going to run back to thy mother in thy night-gown, like Josefita
"Never will I be such a fool! Eulogia, I have a husband for thee."
"To the tunnel of the mission with husbands! I shall be an old maid like
Aunt Anastacia, fat, with black whiskers."
Graciosa laughed. "Thou wilt marry and have ten children."
"By every station in the mission I will not. Why bring more women into
the world to suffer?"
"Ay, Eulogia! thou art always saying things I cannot understand and that
thou shouldst not think about. But I have a husband for thee. He came
from Los Angeles this morning, and is a friend of my Carlos. His name is
not so pretty—Tomas Garfias. There he rides now."
Eulogia looked out of the window with little curiosity. A small young
man was riding down the street on a superb horse coloured like golden
bronze, with silver mane and tail. His saddle of embossed leather was
heavily mounted with silver; the spurs were inlaid with gold and silver,
and the straps of the latter were worked with gleaming metal threads. He
wore a light red serape, heavily embroidered and fringed. His botas of
soft deerskin, dyed a rich green and stamped with Aztec Eagles, were
tied at the knee by a white silk cord wound about the leg and finished
with heavy silver tassels. His short breeches were trimmed with gold
lace. As he caught Graciosa's eye he raised his sombrero, then rode
through the open door of a neighbouring saloon and tossed off an
American drink without dismounting from his horse.
Eulogia lifted her shoulders. "I like his saddle and his horse, but he
is too small. Still, a new man is not disagreeable. When shall I meet
"To-night, my Eulogia. He goes with us to Miramar."
A party of young people started that night for a ball at Miramar, the
home of Don Polycarpo Quijas. Many a caballero had asked the lady of
his choice to ride on his saddle while he rode on the less comfortable
aquera behind and guided his horse with arm as near her waist as he
dared. Doña Pomposa, with a small brood under her wing, started last of
all in an American wagon. The night was calm, the moon was high, the
party very gay.
Abel Hudson and the newcomer, Don Tomas Garfias, sat on either side of
Eulogia, and she amused herself at the expense of both.
"Don Tomas says that he is handsomer than the men of San Luis," she said
to Hudson. "Do not you think he is right? See what a beautiful curl his
mustachios have, and what a droop his eyelids. Holy Mary!—how that
yellow ribbon becomes his hair! Ay, señor! Why have you come to dazzle
the eyes of the poor girls of San Luis Obispo?"
"Ah, señorita," said the little dandy, "it will do their eyes good to
see an elegant young man from the city. And they should see my sister.
She would teach them how to dress and arrange their hair."
"Bring her to teach us, señor, and for reward we will find her a tall
and modest husband such as the girls of San Luis Obispo admire. Don
Abel, why do you not boast of your sisters? Have you none, nor mother,
nor father, nor brother? I never hear you speak of them. Maybe you grow
alone out of the earth."
Hudson's gaze wandered to the canon they were approaching. "I am alone,
señorita; a lonely man in a strange land."
"Is that the reason why you are such a traveller, señor? Are you never
afraid, in your long lonely rides over the mountains, of that dreadful
bandit, John Power, who murders whole families for the sack of gold they
have under the floor? I hope you always carry plenty of pistols, señor."
"True, dear señorita. It is kind of you to put me on my guard. I never
had thought of this man."
"This devil, you mean. When last night I saw you come limping into the
"Ay, yi, yi, Dios!" "Maria!" "Dios de mi alma!" "Dios de mi vida!"
A wheel had given way, and the party was scattered about the road.
No one was hurt, but loud were the lamentations. No Californian had ever
walked six miles, and the wheel was past repair. But Abel Hudson came to
"Leave it to me," he said. "I pledge myself to get you there," and he
went off in the direction of a ranch-house.
"Ay! the good American! The good American!" cried the girls. "Eulogia!
how canst thou be so cold to him? The handsome stranger with the kind
"His heart is like the Sacramento Valley, veined with gold instead of
blood." "Holy Mary!" she cried some moments later, "what is he bringing?
The wagon of the country!"
Abel Hudson was standing erect on the low floor of a wagon drawn by two
strong black mules. The wagon was a clumsy affair,—a large wooden frame
covered with rawhide, and set upon a heavy axle. The wheels were made of
solid sections of trees, and the harness was of greenhide. An Indian boy
sat astride one of the mules. On either side rode a vaquero, with his
reata fastened to the axle-tree.
"This is the best I can do," said Hudson. "There is probably not another
American wagon between San Luis and Miramar. Do you think you can stand
The girls shrugged their pretty shoulders. The men swore into their
mustachios. Doña Pomposa groaned at the prospect of a long ride in a
springless wagon. But no one was willing to return, and when Eulogia
jumped lightly in, all followed, and Hudson placed them as comfortably
as possible, although they were obliged to sit on the floor.
The wagon jolted down the cañon, the mules plunging, the vaqueros
shouting; but the moon glittered like a silvered snow peak, the wild
green forest was about them, and even Eulogia grew a little sentimental
as Abel Hudson's blue eyes bent over hers and his curly head cut off
Doña Pomposa's view.
"Dear señorita," he said, "thy tongue is very sharp, but thou hast a
kind heart. Hast thou no place in it for Abel Hudson?"
"In the sala, señor—where many others are received—with mamma and Aunt
Anastacia sitting in the corner."
He laughed. "Thou wilt always jest! But I would take all the rooms, and
turn every one out, even to Doña Pomposa and Doña Anastacia!"
"And leave me alone with you! God of my soul! How I should yawn!"
"Oh, yes, Doña Coquetta, I am used to such pretty little speeches. When
you began to yawn I should ride away, and you would be glad to see me
when I returned."
"What would you bring me from the mountains, señor?"
He looked at her steadily. "Gold, señorita. I know of many rich veins.
I have a little cañon suspected by no one else, where I pick out a sack
full of gold in a day. Gold makes the life of a beloved wife very sweet,
"In truth I should like the gold better than yourself, señor," said
Eulogia, frankly. "For if you will have the truth—Ay! Holy heaven! This
is worse than the other!"
A lurch, splash, and the party with shrill cries sprang to their feet;
the low cart was filling with water. They had left the cañon and were
crossing a slough; no one had remembered that it would be high tide. The
girls, without an instant's hesitation, whipped their gowns up round
their necks; but their feet were wet and their skirts draggled. They
made light of it, however, as they did of everything, and drove up to
Miramar amidst high laughter and rattling jests.
Doña Luisa Quijas, a handsome shrewd-looking woman, magnificently
dressed in yellow satin, the glare and sparkle of jewels on her neck,
came out upon the corridor to meet them.
"What is this? In a wagon of the country! An accident? Ay, Dios de mi
vida, the slough! Come in—quick! quick! I will give you dry clothes.
Trust these girls to take care of their gowns. Mary! What wet feet!
Quick! quick! This way, or you will have red noses to-morrow," and she
led them down the corridor, past the windows through which they could
see the dancers in the sala, and opened the door of her bedroom.
"There, my children, help yourselves," and she pulled out the capacious
drawers of her chest. "All is at your service." She lifted out an armful
of dry underclothing, then went to the door of an adjoining room and
listened, her hand uplifted.
"Didst thou have to lock him up?" asked Doña Pomposa, as she drew on a
pair of Doña Luisa's silk stockings.
"Yes! yes! And such a time, my friend! Thou knowest that after I fooled
him the last time he swore I never should have another ball. But, Dios
de mi alma! I never was meant to be bothered with a husband, and have I
not given him three children twenty times handsomer than himself? Is not
that enough? By the soul of Saint Luis the Bishop, I will continue to
promise, and then get absolution at the mission, but I will not perform!
Well, he was furious, my friend; he had spent a sack of gold on that
ball, and he swore I never should have another. So this time I invited
my guests, and told him nothing. At seven to-night I persuaded him into
his room, and locked the door. But, madre de Dios! Diego had forgotten
to screw down the window, and he got out. I could not get him back,
Pomposa, and his big nose was purple with rage. He swore that he would
turn every guest away from the door; he swore that he would be taking
a bath on the corridor when they came up, and throw insults in their
faces. Ay, Pomposa! I went down on my knees. I thought I should not have
my ball—such cakes as I had made, and such salads! But Diego saved me.
He went into Don Polycarpo's room and cried 'Fire!' Of course the old
man ran there, and then we locked him in. Diego had screwed down the
window first. Dios de mi vida! but he is terrible, that man! What have I
done to be punished with him?"
"Thou art too handsome and too cruel, my Luisa. But, in truth, he is an
old wild-cat. The saints be praised that he is safe for the night. Did
"Swear! He has cursed the skin off his throat and is quiet now. Come, my
little ones, are you ready? The caballeros are dry in Diego's clothes by
this time, and waiting for their waltzes;" and she drove them through
the door into the sala with a triumphant smile on her dark sparkling
The rest of the party had been dancing for an hour, and all gathered
about the girls to hear the story of the accident, which was told
with many variations. Eulogia as usual was craved for dances, but she
capriciously divided her favours between Abel Hudson and Don Tomas
Garfias. During the intervals, when the musicians were silent and the
girls played the guitar or threw cascarones at their admirers, she sat
in the deep window-seat watching the ponderous waves of the Pacific hurl
themselves against the cliffs, whilst Hudson pressed close to her side,
disregarding the insistence of Garfias. Finally, the little Don from the
City of the Angels went into the dining room to get a glass of angelica,
and Hudson caught at his chance.
"Señorita," he exclaimed, interrupting one of her desultory remarks,
"for a year I have loved you, and, for many reasons, I have not dared to
tell you. I must tell you now. I have no reason to think you care more
for me than for a dozen other men, but if you will marry me, señorita,
I will build you a beautiful American house in San Luis Obispo, and you
can then be with your friends when business calls me away."
"And where will you live when you are away from me?" asked Eulogia,
carelessly. "In a cave in the mountains? Be careful of the bandits."
"Señorita," he replied calmly, "I do not know what you mean by the
things you say sometimes. Perhaps you have the idea that I am another
person—John Power, or Pio Lenares, for instance. Do you wish me to
bring you a certificate to the effect that I am Abel Hudson? I can do
so, although I thought that Californians disdained the written form
and trusted to each other's honour, even to the selling of cattle and
"You are not a Californian."
"Ah, señorita—God! what is that?"
A tremendous knocking at the outer door sounded above the clear soprano
of Graciosa La Cruz.
"A late guest, no doubt. You are white like the wall. I think the low
ceilings are not so good for your health, señor, as the sharp air of the
mountains. Ay, Dios!" The last words came beneath her breath, and
she forgot Abel Hudson. The front doors had been thrown open, and a
caballero in riding-boots and a dark scrape wound about his tall figure
had entered the room and flung his sombrero and saddle-bags into a
corner. It was Pablo Ignestria.
"At your feet, señora," he said to Doña Luisa, who held out both hands,
welcome on her charming face. "I am an uninvited guest, but when I
arrived at San Luis and found that all the town had come to one of Doña
Luisa's famous balls, I rode on, hoping that for friendship's sake she
would open her hospitable doors to a wanderer, and let him dance off the
stiffness of a long ride."
"You are welcome, welcome, Pablo," said Doña Luisa. "Go to the dining
room and get a glass of aguardiente; then come back and dance until
Ignestria left the room with Diego Quijas, but returned in a few moments
and walked directly over to Eulogia, ignoring the men who stood about
"Give me this dance," he whispered eagerly. "I have something to say to
thee. I have purposely come from Monterey to say it."
Eulogia was looking at him with angry eyes, her brain on fire. But
curiosity triumphed, and she put her hand on his shoulder as the
musicians swept their guitars with lithe fingers, scraped their violins,
and began the waltz.
"Eulogia!" exclaimed Ignestria; "dost thou suspect why I have returned?"
"Why should I suspect what I have not thought about?"
"Ay, Eulogia! Art thou as saucy as ever? But I will tell thee, beloved
one. The poor girl who bore my name is dead, and I have come to beg an
answer to my letter. Ay, little one, I feel thy love. Why couldst thou
not have sent me one word? I was so angry when passed week after week
and no answer came, that in a fit of spleen I married the poor sick
girl. And what I suffered, Eulogia, after that mad act! Long ago I told
myself that I should have come back for my answer, that you had sworn
you would write no letter; I should have let you have your little
caprices, but I did not reason until—"
"I answered your letter!" exclaimed Eulogia, furiously. "You know that
I answered it! You only wished to humble me because I had sworn I would
write to no man. Traitor! I hate you! You were engaged to the girl all
the time you were here."
"Eulogia! Believe! Believe!"
"I would not believe you if you kissed the cross! You said to yourself,
'That little coquette, I will teach her a lesson. To think the little
chit should fancy an elegant Montereño could fall in love with her!' Ah!
ha! Oh, Dios! I hate thee, thou false man-of-the-world! Thou art the
very picture of the men I have read about in the books of the Señor
Dumas; and yet I was fooled by thy first love-word! But I never loved
you. Never, never! It was only a fancy—because you were from Monterey.
I am glad you did not get my letter, for I hate you! Mother of Christ! I
He whirled her into the dining room. No one else was there. He kissed
her full on the mouth.
"Dost thou believe me now?" he asked.
She raised her little hand and struck him on the face, but the sting was
not hotter than her lips had been.
"May the saints roll you in perdition!" she cried hoarsely. "May they
thrust burning coals into the eyes that lied to me! May the devils bite
off the fingers that made me shame myself! God! God! I hate you! I—I,
who have fooled so many men, to have been rolled in the dust by you!"
He drew back and regarded her sadly.
"I see that it is no use to try to convince you," he said; "and I have
no proof to show that I never received your letter. But while the stars
jewel the heavens, Eulogia, I shall love thee and believe that thou
He opened the door, and she swept past him into the sala. Abel Hudson
stepped forward to offer his arm, and for the moment Pablo forgot
"John Power!" he cried.
Hudson, with an oath, leaped backward, sprang upon the window-seat, and
smashing the pane with his powerful hand disappeared before the startled
men thought of stopping him.
"Catch him! Catch him!" cried Ignestria, excitedly. "It is John Power.
He stood me up a year ago."
He whipped his pistol from the saddle-bags in the corner, and opening
the door ran down the road, followed by the other men, shouting and
firing their pistols into the air. But they were too late. Power had
sprung upon Ignestria's horse, and was far on his way.
The next day Eulogia went with her mother and Aunt Anastacia to pay a
visit of sympathy to Doña Jacoba at Los Quervos. Eulogia's eyes were not
so bright nor her lips so red as they had been the night before, and
she had little to say as the wagon jolted over the rough road, past the
cypress fences, then down between the beautiful tinted hills of Los
Quervos. Doña Pomposa sat forward on the high seat, her feet dangling
just above the floor, her hands crossed as usual over her stomach, a
sudden twirl of thumbs punctuating her remarks. She wore a loose black
gown trimmed with ruffles, and a black reboso about her head. Aunt
Anastacia was attired in a like manner, but clutched the side of the
wagon with one hand and an American sunshade with the other.
"Poor Jacoba!" exclaimed Doña Pomposa; "her stern heart is heavy this
day. But she has such a sense of her duty, Anastacia. Only that makes
her so stern."
"O-h-h-h, y-e-e-s." When Aunt Anastacia was preoccupied or excited,
these words came from her with a prolonged outgoing and indrawing.
"I must ask her for the recipe for those cakes—the lard ones,
Anastacia. I have lost it."
"O-h-h, y-e-e-s. I love those cakes. Madre de Dios! It is hot!"
"I wonder will she give Eulogia a mantilla when the chit marries. She
has a chest full."
"Surely. Jacoba is generous."
"Poor my friend! Ay, her heart—Holy Mary! What is that?"
She and Aunt Anastacia stumbled to their feet. The sound of pistol shots
was echoing between the hills. Smoke was rising from the willow forest
that covered the centre of the valley.
The Indian whipped up his horses with an excited grunt, the two old
women reeling and clutching wildly at each other. At the same time they
noticed a crowd of horsemen galloping along the hill which a sudden turn
in the road had opened to view.
"It is the Vigilantes," said Eulogia, calmly, from the front seat. "They
are after John Power and Pio Lenares and their lieutenants. After that
awful murder in the mountains the other day, the men of San Luis and the
ranchos swore they would hunt them out, and this morning they traced
them to Los Quervos. I suppose they have made a barricade in the
willows, and the Vigilantes are trying to fire them out."
"Heart of Saint Peter! Thou little brat! Why didst thou not tell us of
this before, and not let us come here to be shot by flying bullets?"
"I forgot," said Eulogia, indifferently.
They could see nothing; but curiosity, in spite of fear, held them to
the spot. Smoke and cries, shouts and curses, came from the willows;
flocks of agitated crows circled screaming through the smoke. The men
on the hill, their polished horses and brilliant attire flashing in the
sun, kept up a ceaseless galloping, hallooing, and waving of sombreros.
The beautiful earth-green and golden hills looked upon a far different
scene from the gay cavalcades to which they were accustomed. Even Don
Roberto Duncan, a black silk handkerchief knotted about his head, was
dashing, on his gray horse, up and down the valley between the hills and
the willows, regardless of chance bullets. And over all shone the same
old sun, indifferent alike to slaughter and pleasure.
"Surely, Anastacia, all those bullets must shoot some one."
"O—h—h, y—e—e—s." Her sister was grasping the sunshade with both
hands, her eyes starting from her head, although she never removed their
gaze from the central volume of smoke.
"Ay, we can sleep in peace if those murdering bandits are killed!"
exclaimed Doña Pomposa. "I have said a rosary every night for five years
that they might be taken. And, holy heaven! To think that we have been
petting the worst of them as if he were General Castro or Juan Alvarado.
To think, my Eulogia!—that thirsty wild-cat has had his arm about thy
waist more times than I can count."
"He danced very well—aha!"
Aunt Anastacia gurgled like an idiot. Doña Pomposa gave a terrific
shriek, which Eulogia cut in two with her hand. A man had crawled out of
the brush near them. His face was black with powder, one arm hung limp
at his side. Doña Pomposa half raised her arm to signal the men on the
hill, but her daughter gave it such a pinch that she fell back on the
seat, faint for a moment.
"Let him go," said Eulogia. "Do you want to see a man cut in pieces
before your eyes? You would have to say rosaries for the rest of your
life." She leaned over the side of the wagon and spoke to the dazed man,
whose courage seemed to have deserted him.
"Don Abel Hudson, you do not look so gallant as at the ball last night,
but you helped us to get there, and I will save you now. Get into the
wagon, and take care you crawl in like a snake that you may not be
"No—no!" cried the two older women, but in truth they were too
terrified not to submit. Power swung himself mechanically over the
wheel, and lay on the floor of the wagon. Eulogia, in spite of a
protesting whimper from Aunt Anastacia, loosened that good dame's ample
outer skirt and threw it over the fallen bandit. Then the faithful
Benito turned his horse and drove as rapidly toward the town as the
rough roads would permit. They barely had started when they heard a
great shouting behind them, and turned in apprehension, whilst the man
on the floor groaned aloud in his fear. But the Vigilantes rode by
them unsuspecting. Across their saddles they carried the blackened and
dripping bodies of Lenares and his lieutenants; through the willows
galloped the caballeros in search of John Power. But they did not
find him, then nor after. Doña Pomposa hid him in her woodhouse until
midnight, when he stole away and was never seen near San Luis again. A
few years later came the word that he had been assassinated by one of
his lieutenants in Lower California, and his body eaten by wild hogs.
"Al contado plasentero
Del primer beso de amor,
Un fuego devorador
Que en mi pecho siento ardor.
"Y no me vuelvas a besar
Por que me quema tu aliento,
Ya desfayeserme siento,
Mas enbriagada de amor.
"Si a cuantas estimas, das
Beso en pruebas de amor;
Si me amas hasme el favor
De no besarme jamas."
A caballero on a prancing horse sang beneath Eulogia's window, his
jingling spurs keeping time to the tinkling of his guitar. Eulogia
turned over in bed, pulling the sheet above her ears, and went to sleep.
The next day, when Don Tomas Garfias asked her hand of her mother, Doña
Coquetta accepted him with a shrug of her shoulders.
"And thou lovest me, Eulogia?" murmured the enraptured little dandy as
Doña Pomposa and Aunt Anastacia good-naturedly discussed the composition
of American pies.
"Ay! señorita! Why, then, dost thou marry me? No one compels thee."
"It pleases me. What affair of thine are my reasons if I consent to
"Oh, Eulogia, I believe thou lovest me! Why not? Many pretty girls have
done so before thee. Thou wishest only to tease me a little."
"Well, do not let me see too much of you before the wedding-day, or I
may send you back to those who admire you more than I do."
"Perhaps it is well that I go to San Francisco to remain three months,"
said the young man, sulkily; he had too much vanity to be enraged. "Wilt
thou marry me as soon as I return?"
"As well then as any other time."
Garfias left San Luis a few days later to attend to important business
in San Francisco, and although Doña Pomposa and Aunt Anastacia began at
once to make the wedding outfit, Eulogia appeared to forget that she
ever had given a promise of marriage. She was as great a belle as ever,
for no one believed that she would keep faith with any man, much less
with such a ridiculous scrap as Garfias. Her flirtations were more
calmly audacious than ever, her dancing more spirited; in every frolic
she was the leader.
Suddenly Doña Pomposa was smitten with rheumatism. She groaned by night
and shouted by day. Eulogia, whose patience was not great, organized
a camping party to the sulphur springs of the great rancho, Paso des
Robles. The young people went on horseback; Doña Pomposa and Aunt
Anastacia in the wagon with the tents and other camping necessities.
Groans and shrieks mingled with the careless laughter of girls and
caballeros, who looked upon rheumatism as the inevitable sister of old
age; but when they entered the park-like valley after the ride over the
beautiful chrome mountains, Doña Pomposa declared that the keen dry air
had already benefited her.
That evening, when the girls left their tents, hearts fluttered, and
gay muslin frocks waved like agitated banners. Several Americans were
pitching their tents by the spring. They proved to be a party of mining
engineers from San Francisco, and although there was only one young
man among them, the greater was the excitement. Many of the girls were
beautiful, with their long braids and soft eyes, but Eulogia, in
her yellow gown, flashed about like a succession of meteors, as the
Americans drew near and proffered their services to Doña Pomposa.
The young man introduced himself as Charles Rogers. He was a
good-looking little fellow, in the lighter American style. His
well-attired figure was slim and active, his mouse-coloured hair short
and very straight, his shrewd eyes were blue. After a few moments'
critical survey of the charming faces behind Doña Pomposa, he went off
among the trees, and returning with a bunch of wild flowers walked
straight over to Eulogia and handed them to her.
She gave him a roguish little courtesy. "Much thanks, señor. You must
scuse my English; I no spik often. The Americanos no care for the
"I like them well enough, but I hope you will accept these."
"Si, señor." She put them in her belt. "You like California?"
"Very much. It is full of gold, and, I should say, excellent for
"But it no is beautiful country?"
"Oh, yes, it does very well, and the climate is pretty fair in some
"You living in San Francisco?"
"I am a mining engineer, and we have got hold of a good thing near
"The mine—it is yours?"
"Only a part of it."
"The Americanos make all the money now."
"The gold was put here for some one to take out. You Californians had
things all your own way for a hundred years, but you let it stay there."
"Tell me how you take it out."
He entered into a detailed and somewhat technical description, but her
quick mind grasped the meaning of unfamiliar words.
"You like make the money?" she asked, after he had finished.
"Of course. What else is a man made for? Life is a pretty small affair
"We no have much now, but we live very happy. The Americanos love the
money, though. Alway I see that."
"Americans have sense."
He devoted himself to her during the ten days of their stay, and his
business shrewdness and matter-of-fact conversation attracted the
keen-witted girl, satiated with sighs and serenades. Always eager for
knowledge, she learned much from him of the Eastern world. She did not
waste a glance on her reproachful caballeros, but held long practical
conversations with Rogers under the mending wing of Doña Pomposa, who
approved of the stranger, having ascertained his abilities and prospects
from the older men of his party.
On the morning of their return to San Luis Obispo, Rogers and Eulogia
were standing somewhat apart, whilst the vaqueros rounded up the horses
that had strayed at will through the valley. Rogers plucked one of the
purple autumn lilies and handed it to her.
"Señorita," he said, "suppose you marry me. It is a good thing for a man
to be married in a wild country like this; he is not so apt to gamble
and drink. And although I've seen a good many pretty girls, I've seen no
one so likely to keep me at home in the evening as yourself. What do you
Eulogia laughed. His wooing interested her.
"I promise marry another man; not I think much I ever go to do it."
"Well, let him go, and marry me."
"I no think I like you much better. But I spose I must get marry some
day. Here my mother come. Ask her. I do what she want."
Doña Pomposa was trotting toward them, and while she struggled for her
lost breath Eulogia repeated the proposal of the American, twanging her
guitar the while.
The old lady took but one moment to make up her mind. "The American,"
she said rapidly in Spanish. "Garfias is rich now, but in a few years
the Americans will have everything. Garfias will be poor; this man will
be rich. Marry the American," and she beamed upon Rogers.
Eulogia shrugged her shoulders and turned to her practical wooer.
"My mother she say she like you the best."
"Then I may look upon that little transaction as settled?"
"Si you like it."
"Which art thou going to marry, Eulogia?" asked one of the girls that
night, as they rode down the mountain.
"Neither," said Eulogia, serenely.
Eulogia had just passed through an animated interview with her mother.
Doña Pomposa had stormed and Eulogia had made an occasional reply in her
cool monotonous voice, her gaze absently fixed on the gardens of the
"Thou wicked little coquette!" cried Doña Pomposa, her voice almost
worn out. "Thou darest repeat to me that thou wilt not marry the Señor
"I will not. It was amusing to be engaged to him for a time, but now I
am tired. You can give him what excuse you like, but tell him to go."
"And the clothes I have made—the chests of linen with the beautiful
deshalados that nearly put out Aunt Anastacia's eyes! The new silk
gowns! Dias de mi vida! The magnificent bed-spread with the lace as deep
as my hand!"
"They will keep until I do marry. Besides, I need some new clothes."
"Dost thou indeed, thou little brat! Thou shalt not put on a smock or
a gown in that chest if thou goest naked! But thou shalt marry him, I
"Oh, thou ice-hearted little devil!" Even Doña Pomposa's stomach was
trembling with rage, and her fingers were jumping. "Whom then wilt thou
"Thou wilt be an old maid like Aunt Anastacia."
"O—h—h—Who is this?"
A stranger in travelling scrape and riding-boots had dashed up to the
house, and flung himself from his horse. He knocked loudly on the open
door, then entered without waiting for an invitation, and made a deep
reverence to Doña Pomposa.
"At your service, señora. At your service, señorita. I come from the
Señor Don Tomas Garfias. Word has reached him that the Señorita Eulogia
is about to marry an American. I humbly ask you to tell me if this be
true or not. I have been told in town that the wedding is set for the
day after to-morrow."
"Ask her!" cried Doña Pomposa, tragically, and she swung herself to the
other end of the room.
"Señorita, at your feet."
"You can tell your friend that I have no more intention of marrying the
American than I have of marrying him."
"Señorita! But he expected to return next week and marry you."
"We expect many things in this world that we do not get."
"But—a thousand apologies for my presumption, señorita—why did you not
write and tell him?"
"I never write letters."
"But you could have sent word by some friend travelling to San
"He would find it out in good time. Why hurry?"
"Ay, señorita, well are you named Doña Coquetta. You are famous even to
San Francisco. I will return to my poor friend. At your service, señora.
At your service, señorita," and he bowed himself out, and galloped away.
Doña Pomposa threw herself into her chair, and wept aloud.
"Mother of God! I had thought to see her married to a thrifty American!
What have I done to be punished with so heartless a child? And the
Americans will have all the money! The little I have will go, too! We
shall be left sitting in the street. And we might have a wooden house in
San Francisco, and go to the theatre! Oh, Mother of God, why dost thou
not soften the heart of the wicked—"
Eulogia slipped out of the window, and went into the mission gardens.
She walked slowly through the olive groves, lifting her arms to part
the branches where the little purple spheres lay in their silver nests.
Suddenly she came face to face with Pablo Ignestria.
Her cynical brain informed her stormy heart that any woman must succumb
finally to the one man who had never bored her.