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DON QJ

THE SIERRA



BYK.ScHESKETH PRICHARD




OF THE

(> Of .



DON Q. IN THE SIERRA




"l TELL VOL- I AM A BRITISH SUBJECT!"



DON Q. IN THE
SIERRA



BY

K. AND HESKETH PRICHARD

AUTHORS OF "CHRONICLES OF
DON Q.." ETC.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

BY FRANK X. CHAMBERLIN




iDorxiSDciixi^arxiirxiiDcgDaDa^^aiDaix^^



PHILADELPHIA
J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

1906



Copyright, 1905, by Ainslek Magazine Company

Copyright, 1906, by Ainslek Magazine Company

Copyright, 1906, by J. B. Lippincott Company

Published, November, 1906



W CI

^14*7 4-



CONTENTS
i

CHAPTER PAGE

I. How Don Q. Came Back i

II. How Don Q. Dealt with a Famous Cricketer. 30

III. How Don Q. Dealt with a Thief 57

IV. How Don Q. Had Need of a Surgeon 82

V. How Don Q. Fought for the Valderejos 107

VI. How Don Q. Dealt with Professor Japsley,

F.R.S., Ph.D 131

VII. How Don Q. Kept Christmas 154

VIII. How Don Q. was Asked in Marriage 180

IX. How Don Q. Became a SguiRE of Dames 205

X. How Don Q. Attended a Bull- Fight 232

XI. How Don Q. Played Substitute 261

XII. How THE End Came 287

6



M69S^882



UST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
k

PAGE

**I tell you I am a British subject!** Frontispiece.

*' Ah ! So you perceive who I am ! " 24

They came upon an encampment of wild-looking men

seated round a blazing fire 92

There was a rush and a hubbub among the spectators 124

On and on he ran 176

He made out that he was lying beside a fire on the stone

floor 194

Sebastian fell full length beside the dying bull 254

"To overtake a woman who has lost all her friends is

a triumph to boast of." 272

7



DON Q: IN THE SIERRA

CHAPTER I

HOW DON Q. CAME BACK

Those who read the last chronicles of Don Q.
may remember that, after he defeated Don Hugo's
long-planned expedition into the mountains, he dis-
appeared. There were but three people in the world
who believed that he still lived ; one of these was far
away in England, the two others, the hunter Robledo
and his wife, dwelt for a time in the little white city
under the foothills. At first, these two expected
news of their master almost daily, but months,
and even years, rolled by, and Don Q.'s fame was
already passing into history in the sierra.

Now that he was gone the romantic heart of Spain
forgot the darker shades of his character and re-
membered chiefly his virtues — the splendour of his
generosities, his almost diabolic courage, his spirit
of chivalry, and perhaps most of all, his unswerving
fidelity to the poorest who served him. The people
missed the glamour of that mysterious life among
the mountains, which was only enhanced by the
flashlight illumination of his exploits. They con-

9



lo DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

tinued to speculate curiously on those unspoken
wrongs, which had driven him, a man of high birth
and lineage, to the lawless shelter of the sierra ; they
loved to explain to strangers the reason of the name,
Don Q., by which alone they knew him. It was
not so much, they would say, that he possessed some
facial resemblance to the quebrantchhuesos, the bone-
breaking vulture, but rather that his dealings with
the world at large were marked by the same terrible
finality which searched deep to the very marrow of
being.

In the ventas and the little wayside wineshops,
men's mouths were filled with his praise; one heard
but laments for the lost friend of the poor — "Ahi,
Dios mio, when the eagle was up above, there were
no hawks, now there are many hawks and no eagle."
This grew into a saying.

Amongst those hawks — certain petty robbers and
thieves — at length arose one of large ambitions, who
aspired to wear the mantle of Don Q. He named
himself El Zurriago, anglice, the Whip, by which
appellation this modern Jeroboam desired to an-
nounce to the country-side that his little finger would
be thicker than his predecessor's loins. He kept his
word, indeed, after his own reading of the matter,
which, however, differed vastly from the traditions
of Don Q.

For El Zurriago, although he now and then
made a prisoner of sufficient wealth or rank to be
held to ransom, filled in most of his time with



HOW DON Q. CAME BACK ii

harrying the weak, the indigent, the already hungry.
The February nights after his advent were Ht with
the flames of burning huts, or outlying dwellings
of hill villages, where all were " poor to solemnity."
In a word. El Zurriago and his wolf-pack ran amok
through the land, for he was a man without bowels
of mercy, who gave license to his followers to com-
mit deeds which struck remonstrance cold.

Witness the story of the wife of Tomas, the
charcoal burner — she who, with unhealed scars upon
her face and unbalanced mind, still nursed the only
one left alive to her of her brown, bare-footed brood.
And this under the same sky and on the same stage
where legends lingered of Don Q.'s jealously
guarded honour of reward and punishment, and his
inviolable recognition of the claims of the poor.

Further, it was owned that more than one priest
sighed as he toiled about his cliffsidc cure to think
that the tolling of his bell would no more bring
stragglers from the wild band in the Boca de Lobo —
stricken into reverence by their soft-voiced, terrible
captain — travelling down the mountains to mass, or
even to confession, for Don Q. was always a good
Catholic.

Is it any wonder that in waste places the rare
lights were covered while the night wind, laden with
terror, howled at the doors ? " El Zurriago is a
man of dread," said the peasants who cling about
those hills ; " he walks in the darkness, he knocks
with the naked knuckle-bone upon the door."



12 DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

Now there was one person to whose heart these
doings brought something very like despair, who
argued to himself that if his master still lived such
things could not continue. This was Robledo, once
the most favoured follower of Don Q. After his
marriage, the life of the city soon palled upon him,
and he journeyed into the mid levels of the sierra
with his wife, and there upon the south side of a
group of granite boulders, amongst which thickets
of elder and laurustinus thrust out ragged branches,
he, being a skilled woodsman, built a dwelling.
Over the lintel he carved a cross, and provided one
or two simple necessaries to signify that here was
a posada, an inn, where wayfarers could be provided
with shelter, salt, and a glass of aguardiente.

It was a long, low windowless place, with a bench
by the wall inside the door, and opposite to it the
small counter with its half-dozen glasses, backed by
a recess where the wineskins bulged dimly in the
gloom. At one end of the house Isabellilla kept her
cooking-pots, at the other, lost to sight, though not
perhaps to the perception of other senses, lodged
Robledo's mule. The means of entertainment were
slight, yet parties of sportsmen, attracted by the
fame of the hunter, came and slept uncomplainingly
on the earthen floor, and were afterwards led to
seek ibex by Robledo into the mountains he knew so
well.

This move into the sierra had given a fresh lease
of life to the expectation of Don Q.'s return, and.



HOW DON Q. CAME BACK 13

during their first bleak winter there, any sound of
wind or falling stone would bring Robledo springing
to the door, with the fierce, handsome face of his
wife peering over his shoulder. Their hopes sur-
vived many disappointments, but not until the par-
ody of El Zurriago's career had lasted for some time
did despair lay his grip upon them.

Now about the period when this narrative opens,
Robledo was expecting one of the occasional sports-
men who visited his inn. The matter had been
arranged by letter, and to none had Robledo or his
wife spoken of the matter ; yet rumour carried to the
ears of El Zurriago the fact that the casador was
expecting an English nobleman of fabulous fortune
to hunt in the sierra.

Upon this, El Zurriago issued his commands to
Robledo. The English lord was to be betrayed into
the hands of the bandit, or the inn would be burnt
to the ground and its inmates be given over to a fate
of unqualified horror.

As dark fell, the door was closed and barred on
the crying wind, and the couple in the lonely inn
spoke at intervals of the evil fortune that threatened
them. A rushlight lit up the shadows of the interior.
Isabellilla was frying pancakes in the fat of a deer
that her husband, who could not altogether keep
to the paths of virtue, had poached from a distant
preserve. The girl's hair was dressed becomingly
as of old, her coarse yellow skirt did not hide the
slender ankles formerly so much admired in the



14 DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

streets of Malaga, and except that perhaps her face
was a little paler, her bust a little fuller, there
was no change in her beauty. Now and then she
would glance nervously back over her shoulder, and
Robledo on the bench by the door sat brooding and
dejected, listening to the wind which howled dry-
eyed without.

A sudden stamp and a snort broke in upon the
tension of the moment. Isabellilla whirled round,
her eyes brilliant as ever and with the same smoulder
of temper. Robledo, without changing his attitude,
nodded slightly.

" It is but the mule, Leon," he muttered.

"An apoplexy take him! May he die on his
head ! " exclaimed the girl, lowering her voice,
" and El Zurriago also ! What answer did you send
him?"

"None; it is wiser to be silent than to offend."

" You will not give this Englishman to him ? "

The young man roused himself. " I have eaten
my lord, Don Q.'s, salt. Shall I serve another?"
he asked hotly.

"Hush, hush!" Isabellilla stood staring into
the shadows. " The Englishman comes to-morrow,
very soon El Zurriago will know — then what is to
become of us? Saints in Paradise! these are hard
times I It is in my heart, Robledo, that if you save
this Englishman, we will die like scorched flies here
in the mountains ! "

Robledo lifted his head, " It may be, yet the



HOW DON Q. CAME BACK 15

mother of Heaven forbid that I should die in a
town ! " he exclaimed with fervour.

The girl knelt down beside him, and slipped her
arm across his shoulders.

" It is now two years since you were a brigand,
beloved," she whispered in his ear, " and yet my
lord keeps silence. Men say he is dead."

Robledo sighed heavily. " I have not believed
it, for my lord promised he would return. I have
waited — day by day I have said : * To-day my lord
will come, and throw the carcase of El Zurriago to
the vultures ! ' " He broke off.

" Perhaps my lord journeys far away — perhaps
to Cuba," suggested his wife.

" No, no ! While my lord lived he heard every-
thing, he knew everything. If he were yet alive
would he not have heard long ago of El Zurriago? "
His voice sank to a toneless whisper. " No, my lord
is dead!"

His wife leaned closer. ".Beware," she whis-
pered, " one moves round the house."

Robledo snatched up his gun, Isabellilla covered
the rushlight. She had not been Robledo's wife
so long without learning that the man who enters
a room lit only by the glow of red-hot charcoal
is at a disadvantage as compared with one already
within. These two lived with perceptions that their
mode of life had strung to perpetual alarm.

A sharp rattle drummed on the door. The man
and woman stood hushed and tense, listening in the



i6 DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

gloom. Was it a scurry of pebbles blast-driven, or
stones thrown by a human hand?

" None pass at this hour," she muttered, " Blessed
be Heaven you carved a cross on the lintel ! "

Robledo shook off her grasp, and flung open the
door on a night of storm and stars. " Who is there ?
Come in, or I fire.'*

A sound of squeaking leather answered him as
of a man dismounting from the saddle.

''Ahi, Dios mio? " moaned the woman, " it is the
civile." (The Civil Guard, who are the terror of
evildoers, but the succour of any in peril or distress
throughout the land of Spain.)

''Are you not the cazador, Robledo? " asked
a quiet voice in halting Spanish from the night out-
side. " I am Lord Guy Barwood ; do you not expect
me?"

Robledo ran out. "A thousand pardons, excel-
lency, we did not expect you until to-morrow; a
thousand pardons, but these are wild times up here
in the sierra. I am, indeed, Robledo the cazador,
and this is my poor house. It and all within it are
at your service. Enter, I pray you, and I will stable
your horse."

The stranger entered, pulling open his fur coat
to get at his pince-nez, which he set on the bony
ridge of his nose to look round the house.

" Is there not a fire, patrona? " he said in the same
cold voice and diffident Spanish.

Isabellilla hastened to lay together some pieces



HOW DON Q. CAME BACK 17

of wood, apologising as she did so for the smoke. But
she was not too busy to inspect the sportsman. Her
survey satisfied her, for he looked rich indeed, from
the beauty of his furs to the fine leather of his
leggings and the solidity of his unmistakably English
boots. Isabellilla had become something of a con-
noisseur in sportsmen.

Lord Guy sat down on the bench, and taking off
his cap, passed his hand slowly over his thick dark
hair and beard, but he did not speak until Robledo
led a mule into the doorway.

** You are alone, excellency?" the mountaineer
said with much surprise.

Lord Guy put on his glasses again. " They told
me in the plains that a mule was safer than a horse
in the sierra." He seemed to find his words with
difficulty. "And two Guardias Civiles escorted me
to the wood in the valley, and put me on this path.
My — my — baggage comes to-morrow."

In silence Robledo stabled the mule at a safe dis-
tance from his own, in silence his wife prepared the
best fare she had in the house. Their guest ate
sparingly, and also in silence, but when the last olive
stone dropped upon his plate, he lit his curved pipe
and turned to Robledo.

" Now of the ibex," he said. " Shall I have good
sport?"

Robledo stood before him. " There is no longer
any sport in the sierra, excellency," he said fiercely.

"What do you mean?"
2



i8 DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

Isabellilla wrung her hands and struck her bosom.
" It is not his fault, excellency."

But the Englishman was still looking sternly at
Robledo. "Speak!" he ordered. "Explain!"

" There is danger in the mountains for travellers,"
repeated the ca^ador, " danger that lies in wait up
above there."

" Do you mean brigands — are they not always
in your sierra! I have heard of some Don Z. or
Don Q."

Isabellilla brought her palms sharply together.
"Alas ! excellency, Don Q. is dead ! "

Lord Guy appeared rather taken aback. " Do
you, then regret him? "

Robledo and his wife looked at one another. This
would certainly be an awkward admission to make.
Then Robledo spoke.

" Had your excellency been fortunate enough to
have been entertained by Don Q., that would have
been an honour, believe me. For Don Q. was the
friend of princes. But this El Zurriago, although he
boasts of himself, is but a vile dog of the gutter, one
who would eat offal in the streets;" and he spat
forcibly into the flames.

"All brigands are alike," commented Lord Guy,
scornfully.

" Pardon, excellency ! " exclaimed Robledo, af-
fronted, " you did not know Don Q."

" Did youf " demanded the Englishman, grimly.

Robledo hesitated. " My papers are all in order,



HOW DON Q. CAME BACK 19

excellency. Have not many at the foothills told
you that I am an honest man, and that none meet
with — trouble who go with me into the mountains? "

" Yes, I have heard this is so ; therefore I shall
certainly hunt ibex to-morrow," was the answer.

" You will of a surety fall into the hands of El
Zurriago. He may shoot me, but I cannot save
you. Thus you will be shamed, for El Zurriago is
not a true seqiiestrador who holds to ransom, but a
mean and vile thief who has sought refuge in the
sierra. Afterwards he will come down and burn
my posada and my wife in it," said Robledo. " Turn
back, excellency, I beseech you! "

" I never turn back," said Lord Guy in his cold,
indifferent voice.

Silence dropped on the little group. Without
the wind tore at the walls, and to the hunter and
his wife a sense of loneliness and impending doom
seemed to creep in with its moaning.

" Then we perish," said Robledo at last very
quietly. Isabellilla turned away and covered her face
with her hands.

Lord Guy rose. " It is time to sleep. Give me
a glass of aguardiente, patron;'* he followed Rob-
ledo to the counter; "also a second glass for the
patrona, and a third for yourself. Now, let us drink
to the old days, my children ! " he added in a
changed voice, which caused Isabellilla to whip round
with a scream.

The figure was indeed that of Lord Guy, but his



20 DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

pince-nez dangled uselessly across his breast, his
wig and whiskers lay on the counter, and it was
Don Q.'s bald head and well-known face that bowed
in grave courtesy before her.

" My lord has come to save us," she sobbed.

Robledo and his wife looked at one another. This
Zurriago, lord — " he began.

" Yes, yes, I heard of him in England," said Don
Q., " and also they told me much in the plains."

" My lord will kill him ! " exclaimed the young
mountaineer, leaping up eagerly. " I know where
Caspar lives — in Barcelona — Pablo, Estaban. In
a week I can gather forty of my old comrades, and
my lord will lead them into the sierra — "

Don Q.'s geniality disappeared. " Have I asked
for suggestions ? " he inquired harshly.

Robledo hung his head.

" Your tongue has grown loose during my ab-
sence, Robledo," went on Don Q. '* It is a fault you
must hasten to correct. To-morrow at daybreak you
and the English sportsman, Lord Guy Barwood,
will start to shoot ibex in the high gorges."

He spoke no further word that night.



CHAPTER II
HOW DON Q. CAME BACK — (continued)

It was yet black dark and very cold when Isabell-
illa, hooded in her shawl, brewed steaming chocolate,
such as men drink in the hill villages, for Don Q.
and her husband. Later she watched them vanish
into the gloom that yet hung about the valley. Lord
Guy rode ahead, his rifle slung behind his saddle,
while Robledo followed on foot, leading his own
mule, laden with bedding, food, cooking pots, and his
employer's valise. The stars were now hidden, and
as they rode the ink-black night turned ashen, hard-
ened into bleak stencillings, and then the light of
dawn filtered through the air like milk through a cup
of tea. The sun rose with a chilly shower.

By vague bridle-paths the casador and the pre-
tended Lord Guy travelled upon their way, hardly
exchanging a word as they mounted from one
sombre defile to another. A forsaken land this, with
not a hut to break its solitude ; the sole reminder that
man had ever trod those lonely trails were the
ghastly tokens set up to show that here or there one
had been done to death by violence, and to implore
passers-by to remember in their prayers the shudder-
ing souls hurried unshriven into eternity.

Clouds drew up to the zenith, and the sierra put
on its most forbidding aspect, and for the first time

21



22 DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

in his life Robledo felt the menace of their enfold-
ing. Even his seasoned courage was shaken as the
grey shoulders of the hills closed in behind them,
for he had expected a rendezvous with his old com-
rades of the Boca de Lobo. But as they entered
one sinister ravine after another his hope failed, and
some shadow of Don Q.'s plan came to his appre-
hension.

Knowing as he did the almost fiendish intrepidity
of his master, he yet found it difficult to believe
that Don Q. actually intended facing El Zurriago
practically singled-handed, even perhaps allowing
himself to be made prisoner. A premonition of evil
weighed upon the young mountaineer until the frail
figiire ahead chanced to turn, and Robledo saw the
angled face eye-bright with anticipation of conflict.

So evening drew on, and in the mouth of a snow-
streaked valley, Robledo pitched camp under the lee
of a clump of firs. Now it is hard to know what
Don Q. might have done had the development for
which he waited been delayed. But it came that
same evening. The raven and his mate, first of
birds to foretell the night, were already flapping to
their roost in some mist-hidden cliff, when a bullet
sang mournfully over the camp fire, and a voice
cried out to the Englishman to surrender.

Lord Guy arranged his pince-nez with delibera-
tion, and surveyed the seven or eight men bound
about the head and middle with garish colours, who
gradually drew within the circle of the firelight.



HOW DON Q. CAME BACK 23

It is quite unnecessary to tell of the fight which
followed. Don Q. was of all men the last to omit
observance of any detail likely to lend credibility to
the role he chose to sustain. In this case it is probable
that, unless he desired it, he would never have been
taken at all. But when he had, with Robledo's help,
thinned the eight brigands down to five, he sur-
rendered with all dignity and some of the honours
of war.

"You vermin will be wise not to interfere too
greatly with me," he said imperiously; *' I will
accompany you. That is sufficient."

He, however, submitted to be bound upon his
mule, and as it was led further and further into the
remoter gorges, he gave way to a train of thought,
to which he mentally acknowledged circumstances
had hitherto forced him to remain a complete
stranger. In short, he was, for the first time in his
life, a prisoner, and, as he was borne on towards the
brigands' camp, he endeavoured with some success
to analyse the hopes and fears proper to a man in
so perilous a position. He found this occupation
more engrossing than he had imagined possible,
and the line of thought led him so far afield that he
was surprised, and almost disagreeably brought to
earth again, when the party, rounding a shoulder of
rock, saw below them the camp of El Zurriago.

Upon the cliff-bound slope great fires burned,
round which wild men, shaggy with their life among
the mountains, were squatting. In the gloom, above



24 DON Q. IN THE SIERRA

their heads, the flames made gnomes of out-jutting
crags and stumps, and gleamed upon the outer sur-
faces of a black couchant boulder, against which
stood out in relief a rough shelter of canvas, closed
to the public eye by a curtain of stained and ragged
red.

Don Q. was scandalised when instead of the
orderly and ceremonious advent formerly accorded
to his own captives, a score of men leaped from the
fires, and ran to meet him with uncouth cries and
jeers. They pulled and pushed the mule on which
he was riding as they hurried it down to the camp,
where twenty hands unbound Lord Guy's ankles
and set him on his feet.

A sound like a pistol-shot echoed at the same
moment round the clifif, and Lord Guy perceived
a burly fellow seated on an overturned barrel where
the full play of the pine-fed fire beat upon him. He
held a whip in his hand, and as he cracked it the men
rose up and herded together behind the prisoner.
Some act of brutality seemed imminent. El Zurri-
ago's evil reputation, entirely justified by his aspect,
promised as much. Robledo shivered with fury as
he beheld his lord standing thus exposed to the
chance of insult.

But Lord Guy lost no time. He bowed cere-
moniously, as a man bows to his equal, and with a
suavity that made amends for his broken Spanish,
he said :

" I am Lord Guy Barwood from England. I




AH, 80 YOU PCRCEIVE WHO 1 AM?"



HOW DON Q. CAME BACK 25

beg to introduce myself, seiior, for I perceive that
you are the captain here."

El Zurriago eyed his captive. His vicious glance
betrayed perplexity.

"Ah, so you perceive who I am ? " he sneered. " I
am the Whip, the Scourge of the sierra,"

Lord Guy bowed again. " I have heard of you,"
he said, and his complimentary tone implied that
the things told him were of a pleasant nature.

El Zurriago considered this sulkily, biting at the
handle of his whip meanwhile.

" Have you heard what happens to my prison-
ers? " he inquired presently with a twisted grin.

" I presume it is necessary for them to find a
ransom."

" Not so easy as that, you English pig ! I will
teach you very soon. Here, comrades, take this
man and tie him to a tree, and I will flog the skin
from his back ! "

To his surprise, the captive listened unmoved.

" You do not understand me," he shouted, " or
you would grovel for mercy. I will flay you alive !
— do you understand now ? " He looked again for
a change in the prisoner's indifference, but could dis-


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