太子爷小说网 > 英语电子书 > the devotion of enriquez >


the devotion of enriquez-第1节

小说: the devotion of enriquez 字数: 每页4000字

按键盘上方向键 ← 或 → 可快速上下翻页,按键盘上的 Enter 键可回到本书目录页,按键盘上方向键 ↑ 可回到本页顶部!


In another chronicle which dealt with the exploits of 〃Chu Chu;〃 a

Californian mustang; I gave some space to the accomplishments of

Enriquez Saltillo; who assisted me in training her; and who was

also brother to Consuelo Saitillo; the young lady to whom I had

freely given both the mustang and my youthful affections。  I

consider it a proof of the superiority of masculine friendship that

neither the subsequent desertion of the mustang nor that of the

young lady ever made the slightest difference to Enriquez or me in

our exalted amity。  To a wondering doubt as to what I ever could

possibly have seen in his sister to admire he joined a tolerant

skepticism of the whole sex。  This he was wont to express in that

marvelous combination of Spanish precision and California slang for

which he was justly famous。  〃As to thees women and their little

game;〃 he would say; 〃believe me; my friend; your old Oncle 'Enry

is not in it。  No; he will ever take a back seat when lofe is

around。  For why?  Regard me here!  If she is a horse; you shall

say; 'She will buck…jump;' 'She will ess…shy;' 'She will not

arrive;' or 'She will arrive too quick。'  But if it is thees women;

where are you?  For when you shall say; 'She will ess…shy;' look

you; she will walk straight; or she will remain tranquil when you

think she buck…jump; or else she will arrive and; look you; you

will not。  You shall get left。  It is ever so。  My father and the

brother of my father have both make court to my mother when she was

but a senorita。  My father think she have lofe his brother more。

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

I will efface myself。  Adios!  Shake hands!  Ta…ta!  So long!  See

you again in the fall。'  And what make my mother?  Regard me!  She

marry my fatheron the instant!  Of thees women; believe me;

Pancho; you shall know nothing。  Not even if they shall make you

the son of your father or his nephew。〃

I have recalled this characteristic speech to show the general

tendency of Enriquez' convictions at the opening of this little

story。  It is only fair to say; however; that his usual attitude

toward the sex he so cheerfully maligned exhibited little

apprehension or caution in dealing with them。  Among the frivolous

and light…minded intermixture of his race he moved with great

freedom and popularity。  He danced well; when we went to fandangos

together his agility and the audacity of his figures always

procured him the prettiest partners; his professed sentiments; I

presume; shielding him from subsequent jealousies; heartburnings;

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

the SEMICUACUA; a somewhat corybantic dance which left much to the

invention of the performers; and very little to the imagination of

the spectator。  In one of the figures a gaudy handkerchief; waved

more or less gracefully by dancer and danseuse before the dazzled

eyes of each other; acted as love's signal; and was used to express

alternate admiration and indifference; shyness and audacity; fear

and transport; coyness and coquetry; as the dance proceeded。  I

need not say that Enriquez' pantomimic illustration of these

emotions was peculiarly extravagant; but it was always performed

and accepted with a gravity that was an essential feature of the

dance。  At such times sighs would escape him which were supposed to

portray the incipient stages of passion; snorts of jealousy burst

from him at the suggestion of a rival; he was overtaken by a sort

of St。 Vitus's dance that expressed his timidity in making the

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

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

from her produced marked delirium。  All this was very like

Enriquez; but on the particular occasion to which I refer; I think

no one was prepared to see him begin the figure with the waving of

FOUR handkerchiefs!  Yet this he did; pirouetting; capering;

brandishing his silken signals like a ballerina's scarf in the

languishment or fire of passion; until; in a final figure; where

the conquered and submitting fair one usually sinks into the arms

of her partner; need it be said that the ingenious Enriquez was

found in the center of the floor supporting four of the dancers!

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

crowd or by his evident success with the fair。  〃Ah; believe me; it

is nothing;〃 he said quietly; rolling a fresh cigarette as he

leaned against the doorway。  〃Possibly; I shall have to offer the

chocolate or the wine to thees girls; or make to them a promenade

in the moonlight on the veranda。  It is ever so。  Unless; my

friend;〃 he said; suddenly turning toward me in an excess of

chivalrous self…abnegation; 〃unless you shall yourself take my

place。  Behold; I gif them to you!  I vamos!  I vanish!  I make

track!  I skedaddle!〃  I think he would have carried his

extravagance to the point of summoning his four gypsy witches of

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

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

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

gold…rimmed eyeglasses in complete critical absorption。  I stared

in amazement and consternation; for I recognized in the fair

stranger Miss Urania Mannersley; the Congregational minister's


Everybody knew Rainie Mannersley throughout the length and breadth

of the Encinal。  She was at once the envy and the goad of the

daughters of those Southwestern and Eastern immigrants who had

settled in the valley。  She was correct; she was critical; she was

faultless and observant。  She was proper; yet independent; she was

highly educated; she was suspected of knowing Latin and Greek; she

even spelled correctly!  She could wither the plainest field

nosegay in the hands of other girls by giving the flowers their

botanical names。  She never said 〃Ain't you?〃 but 〃Aren't you?〃

She looked upon 〃Did I which?〃 as an incomplete and imperfect form

of 〃What did I do?〃  She quoted from Browning and Tennyson; and was

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

possibly be doing at a free…and…easy fandango?

Even if these facts were not already familiar to everyone there;

her outward appearance would have attracted attention。  Contrasted

with the gorgeous red; black; and yellow skirts of the dancers; her

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

sufficiently notable in themselves; even had they not seemed; like

the girl herself; a kind of quiet protest to the glaring flounces

before her。  Her small; straight waist and flat back brought into

greater relief the corsetless; waistless; swaying figures of the

Mexican girls; and her long; slim; well…booted feet; peeping from

the stiff; white edges of her short skirt; made their broad; low…

quartered slippers; held on by the big toe; appear more

preposterous than ever。  Suddenly she seemed to realize that she

was standing there alone; but without fear or embarrassment。  She

drew back a little; glancing carelessly behind her as if missing

some previous companion; and then her eyes fell upon mine。  She

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

more curiously upon Enriquez; who was still by my side。  I

disengaged myself and instantly joined her; particularly as I

noticed that a few of the other bystanders were beginning to stare

at her with little reserve。

〃Isn't it the most extraordinary thing you ever saw?〃 she said

quietly。  Then; presently noticing the look of embarrassment on my

face; she went on; more by way of conversation than of explanation:

〃I just left uncle making a call on a parishioner next door; and

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

heard the music; and dropped in。  I don't know what has become of

her;〃 she added; glancing round the room again; 〃she seemed

perfectly wild when she saw that creature over there bounding about

with his handkerchiefs。  You were speaking to him just now。  Do

tell meis he real?〃

〃I should think there was little doubt of that;〃 I said with a

vague laugh。

〃You know what I mean;〃 she said simply。  〃Is he quite sane?  Does

he do that because he likes it; or is he paid for it?〃

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

scion of one of the oldest Castilian families; that the performance

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

a patron; and that he was my dearest friend。  At the same time I

was conscious that I wished she hadn't seen his last performance。

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

said。  〃I don't believe it。  It was only like him。〃  As I hesitated

over this palpable truth; she went on: 〃I do wish he'd do it again。

Don't you think you could

返回目录 下一页 回到顶部 6 6