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persuading the natives to bury their dead
m coffins. If the Donna Isabella could
have seen the White Hawk in a mantilla
and long silk wrapper, she would have been
as well satisfied as Padre Andreas if he
could place baptismal waters on her fore-
head. To such costume White Hawk her-
self objected. Could she have q)oken
Hebrew she would have said, with Jesse's
son: "I have not proved diem." And
here our pretty Inez proved her loyal fiiend.
How charming it was to see these lovely
girls together! No) White Hawk had
come to them in savage costume — and so it
was best that she should come to the party.
Only these feathers must be crisp and new.
And the presidio was quite competent to
fiimish cnsp new crane's featheis. This
doeskin tunic — ^yes, it did have a bad
smell— even Inez had to confess that But
the quartermaster produced a lovely new
doeskin, at the sight of which those black
eyes of White Hawk's flashed fire; and
what with Inez's needle, and Eunice's, and
the Mexican maid of Donna Isabella, and
White Hawk's own nimble fingers, every
pretty fiinge, every feather, with every bead
and every shell from the old wilderness-
worn dress, were transferred in an hour to
the new robe. As for hair, as Inez said,
there was not a major's wife, nor a captain's,
at the party, but envied White Hawk her
magnificent coifiiire.

For slippers — €Uias moccasins — ^they were
fain to go to the store-house of the presidio
again, and select one of the smallest pair
Uiey found there made ready for women's
wear. They gave these to White Hawk,
who laughed merrily. Before the *| party "
began they were embroidered widi the
brightest colors, discovered only White
Hawk knew where or how.

Thus appareled, White Hawk certainly
drew all eyes. Inez confessed that she
paled her ineflfectual fires. Her ivory fan,
fifesh from Paris, did not win the homage,
she said, which White Hawk won by her
crane's feathers.

*< And what could you expect," said the
enthusiastic girl, " when she has those won-
derfiil cheeks, those blazing eyes, and that
heavenly smile. Eunice, if jrou do not



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take her to Antonio with us, why Eunice, I
shaUdie!"

The garrison, at its best, furnished twelve
ladies — confessed as ladies — when there
was any such occasion for festivity as this
evening. Of gentlemen, as at all military
posts, there was no lack. The frontier gar-
rison towns of Mexico presented at that
time a series of carious contrasts. Gentle-
men of the best training of Europe, who had,
perhaps, brought with them ladies of the
highest culture — as Governor Herrara had
at this very time — ^were stationed for years,
in the discharge of the poor details of
frontier duty, in the midst of the simplest
and most ignorant people in Christendom.
In the same garrison would be young Mexi-
can gendemen — in training for the same
service^ — not deficient in the external mari^
of a gentleman, but without any other cul-
ture dian training in the details of tactics.
Between the wives was a broader contrast,
perhaps, than between the husbands. Veiy
few Mexican ladies of the Spanish blood,
'* Creoles," if we may take the expression of
the day, were educated for any conversation
with intelligent men, or expected to bear a
share in it But such a lady as Madame
Herrara, with whom the persevering reader
of these pages will meet, or the Seiiora
Maria Caberairi, or the Seiiora Marguerite
Valois, accustomed to the usages of Europe,
lived as rational beings. That is, they re-
ceived visits and discharged the duties of
an elegant hospitality. Such a protest
against Ae Oriental seclusion which, per-
haps, the Moors introduced into Spanish
life, whether in Old Spain or in New Spain,
met with no favor fit>m the handsome, mdo-
lent and passive ladies who made up the
majority of garrison society. And the line
was marked with perfect distinctness, on this
occasion, between four on the one side and
eight on the other, of the ladies who attended
at Donna Maria's ball

This contrast added greatly to the lively
Inez's enjoyment of the evening. She had no
lack of good putaers, only eager to take
her out to the minuet. The livdy girl
showed that she, at least, had no objection
to talking to young officers, and that she
had enough to say to them.

"Do not disgrace^ your duenna," said
Etmicd, laughing, as Inez left her on one
of these campaigns of conquest. And Inez
said:

" Dearest duenna, if I could only use a
fan as well as you do."

Harrod said to Etmice that he should



find his occupation gone, now that there was
a litde army of Dons and hidalgos only
too eager to take charge of the ladies of his
convoy. Indeed, in brilliancy of costume,
the gendemen of the party quite held their
own in comparison with even the French
and Spanish toilets of the ladies. The
dragoons wore a short blue coat, with red
cape and cuffe, with small-clothes of blue
velvet, always open at the knee. Every
gentieman brought with him a tall dress hat,
such as the modem reader associates with
banditti on the stage. It was etiquette to
bring this even into the ball-room, because
the ribbon of gay colors with which it was
bound was supposed to be a lady's gift and
a mark of gallantry. Many of the men
were tan and handsome, and you would
have said that dancing and cards were the
only business of their lives.

Although Inez had spent her whole life
in what was called a Spanish colony — in a
town which thought much of itself— while
Nacogdoches was but a garrison post, she
had never seen, till now, any of the peculiar
forms of Spanish society. Orleans held its
head very high in the social way, but it
was as a French city. The governors and
their courts could make no head against the
proud Gallicism of the people they found
there, and French travelers said with pride
that Spaniards were ^^ FranHsed^' but
Frenchmen were not "Espanoled" in
Orleans.

The minuet was at that moment the prop-
erty of the world. The fandango and die
bolero were dances Inez had never seen
before; nor would she have shed tears if
she had been told she should never see
them again. The White Hawk, who joined
even merrily in the gayeties of the evening,
seemed hurt and annoyed at the intimacies
of the fandango, and showed that she was
glad when it was over. None of the stran-
gers indeed could take part in it, and they
observed that a part of the ladies among
their hosts would not take part in it. Nat-
urally enough, the talk turned on National
Dances, in a circle of such varied nation-
aliries. The White Hawk frankly and sim-
ply performed an Apache pas de seul for
the smprise and amusement of her hosts,
so soon as she found they would take
pleasure from it. And dien, after a litUe
conference between Donna Maria and her
husband, and a word with Colonel Rodri-
guez the Commander of the Garrison, one
of the band-men was sent out to bring m a
party of dancers from the vulgar crowd



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without, who would show a pure Mexican
dance to the visitors.

This was the dance of the Matachines, —
which dates back even to the Court of
Montezuma. A boy, gayly dressed, rushed
in with his bride. These were Montezuma
and Malinche. The girl's rattle took the
place of the castanets of the fandango. In
an instant more the other dancers, armed
also with rattles, followed in two parallel
rows, soon breaking into four, and a large
man with a hideous mask, — ^the devil of
the scene, — ^whip in hand, ruled the pa-
geant. Nobod3r but Montezuma and Mal-
mche escaped his blows.

At times the Emperor and his bride sat
in chairs which were placed, for their
thrones, and received fh)m the other dan-
cers the most humble protestations.

Friar Andres said that the whole was
typical of astronomical truths. Perhaps it
was. I remember Margaret Fuller once
told me, who write these words, what the
quadrille called '^Pantalon" typified. If
I only remembered! That is the figure
where the gendeman leaves hb partner for
a while in captivity on the other side.

Meanwhile all the men were not occu-
pied in minuets, in fandangos, in boleros,
or in fanning ladies. Parties of officers, not
inconsiderate, sat at cards in Ae card-
rooms, and if one could judge fix>m their
cries now and then, the play was exciting
and high.

In such amusements the "dressed day"
came to a close, and it stole an hour even
firom the day of departure.

CHAPTER IX.
TALKING AND WALKING.

^'Such noise as I can make to be heard fitrthest
ril venture."— Milton.

It was decided in solemn assembly, the
next morning, that the White Hawk should
join the party of travelers for San Antonio.
Donna Maria had seen too much of garri-
son life to wish to keep the girl longer than
was necessary, at a post like Nacogdoches.
Indeed, if she ever were to seek her birth-
place, it must be from such a point as San
Antonio, and not from a garrison town.
Eunice and Inez gladly took the care of
her, — and Colonel Troviiio formally prepar-
ed a new passport which should describe
her and her condition also.

"I have added your name. Monsieur
Philippe," said the hospitable Colonel. " I



see you joined the party after the Marauis's
pass was filled. Ah me! the Marqms is
growine a little drowsy after all !" And he
laughed with that conceit with which a rival
bureau always detects errors in the admin-
istration of the establishment "over the
way."

And so, after every conceivable delay,
innumerable adios and commendations to
the Virgin, the little party started again.
To the last, Blackburn, Richards, Adams and
King were taken for granted as part of the
party. They asked no questions, — and the
Colonel, with all his formaliries, never asked
them where they joined or where they were
to leave.

With no prospect of other detention be-
fore arriving at San Antonio, ^ey all pushed
out into what was very nearly desert coun-
try.

The afternoon was well advanced, when
they made the halt which with an eariier
start would have been made eariier, — ^for a
rest from the saddle, and to give the beasts
a chance for food. The ladies sat on their
shawls a little away from the caravan
proper, and Harrod, with some help fi'om
Ransom, improvised a screen from the wind
by stretdiing his own blanket above some
stakes driven into the ground.

The first care had been to send notes and
messages to Capt. Nolan, who was supposed
to be not far away. TTiese were intrusted
to Blackburn, and to old Csesar, whom
Blackburn had persuaded to join him for
a few days. After their departure, the en-
campment took on an air of tranquil repose.

" We are as happy as Arabs," said Inez.

" As happy as Ma-ry here would be in
your father's salon on the plantation," said
Harrod. " Ask her if she sees anything
piquant or strange in lunching al fresco
here."

"Ask her," said Eunice, "what she
makes of Ransom's Boston crackers; and
whether she would rather have a rabbit
h la me$quitr

" Ah weU !" said Harrod, " the rarity of
the thing is all very well, but when Miss
Inez here has lunched twenty days more
al fresco ^(tw^ be glad to find herself in
her aunt's mner chamber "

"As Ma-ry will after twenty days of the
salon Hfe, — to find herself on a ixlustang
horse, riding after antelopes," said Inez, —
this time sadly.

" Miss Inez, I do not believe a word
of it."

"A word of what?"



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"Of what you are afraid o£i — that this
giri has becotee a child of the forest and is
going to love mustangs and antelopes and
mesquit bushes, and grilled rabbits, more
than she will love books and guitars and
the church and a Christian home. Blood is
a good deal thicker than water, Miss Inez,
and blood wiUteUr

" Seventeen years go a good way," Mr.
Harrod; "and she must be as old a« I am,"
said Inez, as if she herself were the person
of most experience in this world.

" But seventeen centuries go farther,"
said he, and I may say eighteen, lacking,
two months, I believe. Oh, Miss Inez,
trust a man who has seen white skins, and
Uack skins, and red skins, and olive skins,
and skins so dirty that Uiey had no color.
Trust me who speak to you. If the sins of
the fathers go to the children for the third
and fourth generation," — there was no ban-
ter in his tone now; but all this was in serious
earnest — ^**shallnot the virtues of the mothers,
— and their loves and even their fancies, and
their tastes ? Shall not their faith and hope,
shall not their prayer, have a hold deeper
than a Httle cahco or flannel ? Does not
jTOur commandment say ' through all gene-
rations for those who love Him,' and do
you not suppose that means something ?"

It was the first time Harrod had spoken
with quite this earnestness of feeling. To
Eunice it was not unexpected, however. She
had seen from his first salute at the encamp-
ment that he was every inch a man. To
Inez there was all the satis&ction which
comes to every girl of yesterday when some
person of insight sees that she is a woman
to-day. The change from boy to man takes
years, and is marked by a thousand slow
graduations. The change from girl to
woman is well-nigh immediate. But the
woman just bom cannot scream out : " The
world is all changed to me. Why will you
talk to me, as if I were playing with my
doll." All the same is she gratefiil to him
or her who finds out this change. And so
Inez was grateful to William Harrod now.

"You see," said Harrod, "I was bom
dose to the frontier, and since I <^ remem-
ber I have been on it and of it. Dear old
Daniel Boone — ^have you ever * beam tell '
of him, Miss Perry? Dear old Daniel
Boone — many is the time that he has spent
the weeks of a winter-storm and clearing at
my Other's, and many is the tramp that I
have taken with him and with his sons.
I fired his rifle before I was ten years
old. Yesl and I have seen this thing



always. Why I when I was a little boy
I have seen our dear Elder Brainerd take
these savage boys, and be good to them
and helpful, and let them cheat him and
lie to him, and since then I have seen them
go off* like hawks when they smelt carrion.
And I have seen — well I have seen Daniel
Boone, who had slept under the sky as they
sleep, had starved as they starve, had frozen
as they freeze — and he would come to my
dear mother's table as perfect and finished a
gentlonan as there is in Orleans or Paris.
Dear Miss Pary, there is such a thing as
race, and blood does tell ! "

" And I hope it tells in something better
than choice of places to limch in," said Inez.

" Yes indeed," said the young fellow, who
was on one of his hobbies now. "You
shall see that your pretty Ma-ry will be a
lady of the land, if you can once see her in
her land. As for these greasers, I do not
know that I rate them as of much more
help to her than so many Caddoes or
Apaches. Oh dear I how I hate them I"
and he laughed heartily.

" Pray do not say so to Inez," said her
aunt "You do not guess yet how hard
I find it to make her loyal to her sovereign."

" Most estimable of dueimas," cried Inez,
"pray do not say that again for a week.
Let me mildly represent to your grace, that
your unsuspected loyalty to the most gracious
of masters, and to the loveliest of queens,
has led you to make this protest daily since
her Majesty's sacred birthday — ^blessed be
her gracious life, and her sweet memory —
recalled to your loveliness's recollection your
duty to your honored sovereign. There, you
darling old tease, can I not do it as well as
you can ? And do not the adjectives and
compliments roll out rather more graciously
in the language of Squam Bay than even in
the glcmous Castilian itself? Oh dearl I
wish I could set Ransom to translate one
of the Bishop's prelections on royalty into
genuine Yankee."

" Do it yoiuself," said Harrod, who was
rapidly gaining all Nolan's enthusiasm for
the old man.

And Inez attempted a rapid imitation.

" There," said she, " it is the day of our
Lady of the Sacred Torch, and by a miracu-
lous coincidence, it happens also to be the
day of the Santissima Luisa, the patron saint
of my beloved, most honored, and never-
to-be-forgotten queen and sovereign lady. ^
And as the Bishop rides to the cathedral,
by a great misfortune the wheels of the
carriage of the most right-reverend and



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best-beloved Father come ofif in the fosse or
ditch just in front of the palace of the Gov-
ernor of my most gracious sovereign Charles
the Fourth, and die holy Father is thrown
forward into the mud."

" Inez, you shall not run on so." |

" Dear duenna, hold your peace ; I shall, j
and I will. And all shall be said decently {
and in order.

"Word is carried of the misfortune to
the cathedral, where Ransom is waiting in
the sacristy with a note from Miss Eunice
Perry, heretic though she be, and fated to
be burned when her time comes, inviting
the most reverend and beloved Father to
dinner. Ransom observes the dangers to ',
the elect, should the prolocution in honor of \
my gracious and never-to-be-forgotten queen
be omitted. By a happy instinct he slips
oiff his white jacket and with grace and ease
slips on the tunic, which seems to him most
to resemble the Calvinistic gown of his
childhood, and then, preceded by acolytes
and followed by thurifers, he mounts to the
pulpit just as the faithfril are turning away
disappointed, and says :

" ' It's all nonsense, 'n I told the Biship
so last time I see him. I says, sayrs I, them
hubs to the wheel of your coach ain't fit for
nothin', they ain't, and ef you will ride in it
you'll break down some day, an' good
\ \. c^^ „^„ »^ j^Q^ jjg |j^ broke

[ him he would, 'n he
ueen's sermon. I tell
much, but she's a sight
erve, any on you. Ye
ueen, none on ye; ye
'n ye don't know what

is. Ye'd git more'n
to ef ye had old George
r, 'n he's the wust King

will be. The Queen's
so they sez, but they's

know nothin', as how
[ley's all Catholics and
ain't learned nothin'. I
lin't no good preachin'

you be, but becos he
!'ve come to tell ye all

not run on so," said
Dked that the girl who

feeling in her, should
nt nonsense,
ilunice, you are afraid
ay reputation in the
Hawk and of Mr. Har-
^rhaps, be so kind as to
sermon yourself?"



" That is a way she has, Mr. Hanod, and
I recommend it to you, if you are ever so
fortimate as to have the education of a ]roung
lady of seventeen intrusted to you."

" This dear Aunt Eunice of mine, who is
the loveliest and kindest duenna that
ever was in this world — if I do say so— she
will rebuke me for my sins, because I do
not sin to please her, and then she will set
the example of the way the thing ought to
be done.

'< For instance, suppose I am tempted by
the spirit of evil to imitate the Donna Dul-
cinea del Tobago, I call her, because' her
husband, the Chief Justice, smokes all day
long ; suppose I am tempted to imitate her
solo, accompanied by the harpsichord, I sit
down at my piano-forte and I just begin,

* Oh happy souls, by death al length set free,'

when my dear aunt says, ' You shall not do
so, Inez, it is very wrong.' And then I be-
gin again, and she says, ' Inez, it is very im-
proper.' And then if I begin a third time,
she says, ' Inez, if you will do anything so
absurd, pray do it correctly ; let mesit there.
I will show you how she sings it,' and then
she makes the Donna Dulcinea ten times as
absurd as I could, because she has heard
her ten times as often. You are the dear-
est old aunt that ever was, and I am the
worst tease that ever was bom."

And she flung herself on the neck of her
aunt and kissed her again and again.

Meanwhile, the White Hawk sat amused
beyond expression, and mystified quite as
much by what was to her only a pantomime^
in which she could not make out one tenn in
ten.

As Inez ceased her eulogy, she looked
around upon the girl, and caught the roguish
twinkle of her eye, and could not but turn
to her and kiss her as eagerly as she had
kissed her aunt, though from a sentiment
wholly different.

For both these ladies watched the White
Hawk with the feeling with which you would
watch an infant, mingled with that with which
you regard a woman. '< What does she think ?
How doe| all this seem ? What would she
say if she could speak to us ? "

The range of her pantomime and the
spirit and truth of Hanod's interpretation
of it, were enough to express thin^ and to
make them feel, just up to a certam point,
that here was a woman closely tied to them,
sympathizing with them, as they, indeed, with
her. But where things stopped, and ideas
began, just where they wanted language



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most, language stopped for them, and White
Hawk seemed like a child of whose resources
even they knew nothing. It was a comfort
to Inez to overwhefan her with this storm of
kisses, and a comfort to the other also.

''She must learn to speak to us. And
while we are on the trail here, she shall
learn her own language. We will not
make her talk about ' yoiu- loftiness/ and
' your serenity/ Miss Eunice."

" Dear, dear Ma-ry," said the girl, tinning
to her again, and q>eaking very dowly, as if
that wotdd help, ^ do say something to me.
Talk baby-telk, dear Ma-ry."

And then she tried her with ** ma-ma."
And, as before, it was very certain that
" Ma-ry " knew what these syllables meant
And with a wild eagerness ^e would listen
to what Inez said to her, and then would try
to form words like Inez's words. Perhaps
she had some lingering memory of what her
mother had taught her, but the words would
not come.

** Then, if I cannot teach you, you shall
teach me, dear Ma-ry." And so the two girls
began, with Harrod'said,to work out thechief
central signs of the language of pantomime.
And when Inez found her diance, she would
make '' Ma-ry " repeat in English this word
or that, which the girl caught quickly. The
readiness of her organs for thCs speech was
enough to show ^at she had had some
training in it when she was yet very young.

In this double schooling the giris passed
' the afternoon, for many miles after they were
all in the saddle again. Indeed, it became
(Kxupation and amusement for all the leaders
of the party, for day after day, in their not
very eventful journey. Their fortune did
not differ from that of most travelers in such
an expedition. The ^irit and freshness of
an open-air life lifted them well over the
discomforts of a beginning, and when the
bivouac, the trail, and the forest began to
be an old story, the experience gained in a
thousand details made compensation for the
lack of novelty and consequent excitement.
For some days from Nacogdoches the trail
led them through woods, ^y occasionally
broken by little prairies. A litde Spanish
post at the Trinity River, and once or twice
the humble beginnings of some settler, on the
trail, vary the yellow pages of poor little Inez's
diary. But the party were beginning to
grow reckless, in comparison with their
caution at the outset — reckless merely because
they had been so favored in the weather and
in the monotonous safety of their march,
when they were recalled, only too suddenly.



to the sense of the danger which always
hangs over such travelers in the wilderness.

Harrod had sent on his men in advance,
as had come to be the custom, with direc-
tions to select the position for the camp, and
have the ladies' tents ready before the cara-
van proper arrived. Adams and Richards
found that a bayou known as the Little
Brassos, was so swollen that the passage
would be perhaps circuitous, and certainlv
difficult, and, with fit discretion, fixed then-
camp on high land above the water's edge,
although by this location the party made a
march shorter, b^ an hour, than was usual
Nobody complamed, however, of the early
release firom the saddle, the two young
people least of all. A few minutes were
enough for them to refit themselves, and
there was then half an hour left before the
late dinner or early supper — now called by
one name, and now by another — which
always closed the day.

Harrod's directions were absolute, and
Ransom's as well, that there should be no
straggling, not the least, fix>m the camp ; and
the gu-ls were least inclined of any to disre-
gard them. Certainly poor Htde Inez had
no thought of disobedience, when she point-



Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 114 of 163)