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He moved his head toward the shadowed lawn, where, at that moment, the Señora Pascala was bending above a tall, white flower like a lily, her face, in the
Drawn by Charles J. Post
"WITH AN UNERRING INSTINCT FOR LOST CAUSES"
dusk, like another lily there.
In upon our melancholy contemplation -three of us had been her lovers a series of shrieks arose from the rear of the house, and into our view across the side lawn swept what must have been the entire staff of the kitchen. There was a huddle of flying skirts bunched together, and then they went on in full cry, disappearing in the dusk amid the shrubbery that screened the outbuildings from sight. Intermingled with the treble of feminine voices I fancied I caught the distracted cries of frightened fowl. For a moment Schwartz stood at gaze, then, with a guttural, "Lieber Gott!" ponderously took up the chase.
For twenty minutes we saw him no more, and then, as he came wearily up the slope and into the light of the open door, we saw dolor and wrath on his countenance. He paused before us.
"Mein frients," he said brokenly, "der supper haf run avay!"
There came a smothered giggle from the Señora Pascala, from which I decorously tried to draw attention by remark
ing that it must have been uncommonly scared; but Schwartz was past all levity.
"Dose lazy hussies in der kitchen haf kilt dose hens not till alretty joost now," he explained, "und now dey ledt dem slip from der box avay. Dey are running alretty yet."
Caramba! are they not some more hen' to the hacienda?" exclaimed the senora. "Possibly those shall not be so scare'."
"Efery one roosts in der trees," explained Schwartz, hopelessly, "und der poys haf gone to der fiesta."
Aha!" cried the señora, delightedly, "we shall make the hunt for those supper. Tha''s ver' great pleasure, yas."
Spurred on by her enthusiasm, we set forth, armed with sticks, and speedily came to the region that Schwartz assured us was the roosting-place for his fowl. It was now dark, and we moved about under the trees, followed by a sort of hysterical Greek chorus from the maids, who seemed bent on convincing us that the supper had itself broken jail: the three hens had flown out of the box just as Maria Josefa had gone for a knife; and there was not a hole in the box that one could put his hand through.
"May St. Lawrence broil me on my own gridiron if that is not just as I say," piously declared Maria Josefa, with her hands under her apron.
We heard a smothered squawk, an exultant shout from Passos, and we hurried to meet that gentleman as he came toward us out of the dusk, waving a fluttering thing. We clustered about him, and I lighted a match. In the light it cast there came to view a huge cock with a battered comb.
Maria Josefa threw her apron over her head, laughing hysterically.
"It is Chito himself, the great-grandfather of all the flock," she explained in Spanish, and the señora obligingly translated for me. "Ah, Señores, he is oldolder than I, who am no chicken. He would broil like a stone."
"It is the will of God that we kill not His creatures," piously exclaimed Carlota. "Is it not already proved?"
Schwartz turned fiercely upon the chattering maids.
"To the house go alretty!" he stormed. "You have scared all mit der tongue."
"I, too, shall go to help with those sup
per," said the Señora Pascala, and hurried whispered, "each to select one. The far up the slope after the maids.
Barzilla, with the stout man's secret ambition for agility, had somehow mounted into a tree; but, with an unerring instinct for lost causes, had selected a thorny one. For twenty minutes the time of the entire party was consumed in extricating him, when he retired from the hunt, thoroughly convinced that Carlota was no mean prophet.
Passos meanwhile had again come upon his first quarry, and being convinced at last that it was indeed the aged Chito, was only restrained from stamping out the life of the creature by the dissuading hand and voice of Captain Miranda.
"Do nothing in the anger, Señor," Captain Miranda had gently chided. "Even to the old life is sweet."
It was growing darker, but coming to a bare tree at the edge of the plantation,
one shall be yours, the most nearer, mine. Try not for too much. The greedy hand sticks in the jar, you know, Señor."
We were successful, and with a shout came to earth, and with the now happy Schwartz set out for the house. At the door of the kitchen the smiling señora met us, the eager maids at her shoulders.
"Caramba! you have succeed'!" she cried, and leaned forward eagerly. Then we saw her hands go up to her face; an unmistakable giggle escaped her. Captain Miranda and I glanced down quickly, and with a single impulse threw our captives from us. We had brought in two turkey buzzards.
""T is the will of God, like Carlota declare'," the señora assured us, solemnly, though her eyes were dancing. "Yet shall you have the nice supper. 'T is prepare'. You all ver' hongry with so ver' hard working, yas?"
It was indeed a good supper, and though it began in silence, grew gay at the close. Only Schwartz would not be comforted, and when he, Barzilla, and I at last withdrew to the cool gallery, he turned to us gravely, saying:
"It iss not goot for man the house to keep, no. Of dat he knows noddings. But the Señora Pascala! Himmel! dat iss a voman! Alretty haf I said I shall to Chermany return; now I go. But der liddle hacienda shall I gif to the señora. Iss it not becoming to her? Herein shall she remain mit der captain."
"Hola! some wedding-gift!" murmured Barzilla.
"Dat iss it, dat iss it," cried Schwartz -"the vedding-gift! 'T iss petter than to sell for noddings."
"But she goes to the Cape Verd, you know," I suggested, amused at the absurdity of a fancy that so patently ignored the señora's future.
"When?" demanded Barzilla. "Tell me that, Señor; when? Does not the señor capitan bec-ome ver' tiresome bec-ause she manufac' so longly the delay? Does not his ship wait, so long ready to sail? Aha! I shall make the explain: the señora is scare' of those sea', yas. With so nice wedding-gift, she shall say: 'Señor Capitan, I will remain by the nice present. You going remain also?' Shall he not un'stand tha' 's ver' wise? Sure-lee. A
"WHEN?' DEMANDED BARZILLA. TELL ME THAT, SEÑOR; WHEN?'"
hacienda is more better than a ship, yas. Those ship' is ver' lonesome and also ver' seasick. Caramba! I know, who have sail'."
Rising, Schwartz walked ponderously to the edge of the gallery and called to the señora.
"Come," he said as she looked up. "Also der captain und der liddle daughter -all come quick."
He ceremoniously placed chairs for them all, and, standing before the señora, smiled down upon her as he asked:
"You like my liddle hacienda, Señora?" "Like!" she cried. "Caramba! Señor, I lofe it so nice like that heaven, you un'stand? No noise and fight, like those Pasaquimento; no hot street; no hot house in the long row-no mens." She giggled, looking at us under lowered eyelids.
der vedding-gift. Ach! You t'ink dat iss goot?"
She sprang to her feet, wondering bewilderment in her wide eyes.
"To me the hacienda!" she cried. "Madre de Dios! Señor, you going get crezzy?"
"Not very crazy," he mimicked her. "I go to Chermany alretty, but der liddle place I leaf to you for der vedding-gift. Gewiss, it iss very becoming to you."
"But, Señor-" she looked at Captain Miranda and cast down her eyes"but-"
"Ah, Señor," said Captain Miranda, gently, "you un'stand how the señora beholds that difficult'? 'T is ver' muc.. appreciate', yas. Hola! I myself have the tear to my eye bec-ause of the ver' gr-reat generousness; but, Señor, you behol' how she shall depart in similar manner to you? Therefore shall that wedding-gift be left desert'."
"Like the rice thrown after a bride," I suggested.
Captain Miranda turned to me and bowed.
"Ver' much similar to that," he said
gravely; "and that is ver' impolite to leave present in such manner, you un'stand?" "But why shall she be desert'?" eagerly demanded Barzilla. 'T is this manner, Señor. The Señor Schwartz he declare the hacienda is ver' becoming to the señora. We behol' the perfectness. Ver' well. But is the Cape Horn, the high sea, also perfectness? Señor, I shall display the truth: Maria Pascala is going get ver' scare' by them."
"I am scare' this ver' minute," confessed the Señora Pascala.
The señora's face was alight with eager joy.
Aha! did I not relate the truth?" cried Barzilla, triumphantly. "Ver' well, is not all smoothed by so fine present? You shall sell your ship, and return to the perfectness. We shall welcome you-all present inclusive-to be countrymens to us. Behol', Señor Capitan, how all is nicely manufac' by us to gr-reat perfectness."
Caramba! da' 's ver' nice!" she cried. She looked at Captain Miranda's thoughtful face, hesitated, sighed, and then said: "But, no; da''s all some jokefonny like that to give so nice present. I become ver' much 'shamed to think in that manner. 'T is nonsent." "I say I vill gif it, und I vill gif it,"
"riss petter than to sell for noddings; 't is
gif from der heart."
The señora sighed in wondering happiness. "Ah! da' beautiful, I think, to 's ver' live always in so lovely place, so near my lit' small daught' and my kind friends, and consider no sea'! Basta! I think more those so much of those sea', my heart shall jump
like the cat-quick in those manner."
"The Señor Schwartz is ver' large to the heart," replied Captain Miranda; "yas, tha' 's so." He rose, wrung Schwartz's hand, then turned to the señora. "But, Señora," he said, "you are ver' much mistak' concerning this sea. She is ver' loving; spoil', perhaps, like some beautiful childs, but yet loving, Señora. Do I not know, who have known her so lengthily? You are scare' of her firstly, but lastly you love her. She shall rock you to sleep in my little sheep, and you shall laugh at the scare, Señora. You shall behol' all as I say."
The señora placed her hand lovingly on his shoulders as she said in a troubled voice: "Tha''s all correc' like you say, of co'se, Señor, but-but my heart is scare' all the same. Tha' 's ver' foolish,-yas, of co'se, -but that frightness is in my heart so much I think I going get crezzy off it. Tha''s ver' sad business to get crezzy, I think, yas."
It was then that Barzilla spoke again, breaking in eagerly upon Captain Miranda's hesitation.
Drawn by Charles J. Post
"SHE IS VER' LOVING; SPOIL', PER
HAPS, LIKE SOME BEAU
"Pardon, Señor," he began, "you were going say how? But firstly I may ask some question, perhaps? Gracias, Señor. 'T is only the lit' small question: you have loaded your vessel too deep, is it not so?"
Captain Miranda laughed and waved his
hand lightly, in disparagement of Barzilla's serious tone.
"Perhaps, Señor," he replied. "Yas, 't is confess'; a little. But, caramba! I load always in such manner, and am I not here after many such loading'? Those lit' small vessel', are they not similar to the donkey, to be loaded much to make the pay? Otherwise the loss, yas."
"And she leaks, is it not so?" Barzilla went on relentlessly. "Each morning the crew is to the pumps; they become ver' tiresome."
"Como no? Why not?" demanded the captain. "A little leak,-a few hundred stroke',-what is that? Basta! It is It is trifle." He snapped his fingers.
"Ah, tha' 's all just like I hear to the landing," said Barzilla. "Some peop' they behol' your vessel, and they shake the head. 'Ha!' they declare, 'she is load' too deep. Oh, those reckless! They load too deep, yet they arrive; yet some day they shall not arrive.' Señor-" Barzilla leaned forward and solemnly laid his hand on Captain Miranda's knee-"consider if on that day you arrive not, the Señora Pascala arrive not also. Consider that, and also how she was ver' scare' to those sea and those vessel."
"They shall burn always before his shrine till you come," she declared.
"But if that vessel is sell," broke in the Señora Pascala, eagerly, "is there not the hacienda yet, Señor? You want desert so nice present off the Señor Schwartz. You want make him ver' sawrry?"
"And if I come not bec-ause those sea' She placed her hand quickly over his lips. "'Sh!" she cried. "You going let St. Anthony think you think he cannot fix those sea nice-unbeliever?"
"Not unbeliever, Señora," he replied; "but when you desire the heaven ver' much, and think 't is ver' near, and, caramba! you find 't is ten thousand mile' off you, you think mebbe-you think-" Then he paused.
"I want make nobuddy sawrry, Señora," replied Captain Miranda, humbly, "and leastly of all peop' you. Therefore shall it be like you desire. Caramba! what other shall I ask but your desire? You desire it so? Hola! it is so. You shall remain by that wedding-gift."
"You think how, Señor?" she asked almost sharply. Her brow was wrinkled with anxiety.
"You think what, Señor?" she repeated. "You un'stand how I ask you some question?"
"And you also, Señor?" she asked; "of co'se. Tha''s ver' foolish to ask. I think I get crezzy."
"I shall go, but to return," he replied. "It is not possible to sell my lit' sheep here. Caramba! no. Therefore, 't is necessar' to go; but only to return, you un'stand?"
She stooped and kissed him before us all. "Vaga con Dios! Go with God, Señor!" she murmured. "He shall bring you back to me ver' quick."
He smiled up into her face.
"We shall burn some candle' to St. Anthony to watch on me," he said tenderly.