She flung up her head and met the challenge in her own way, which was with the knife-thrust of her light laughter. “Ah, the poor Americanos! Not the prayers of all the padres can save them from the blackness of their fate, since Don Jose Pacheco frowns and will not take their hand in friendship! How they will gnash the teeth when they hear the terrible tidings—Jose Pacheco, don and son of a don, will have none of them, nor will he give way to their poor burros on the highway!” She shook her head as she had done over the tragedy of the little cakes. “Pobre gringos! Pobre gringos!” she murmured mockingly.
“Children, have done!” The hand of the senora went chidingly to the shoulder of her incorrigible daughter. “This is foolish and unseemly—though all thy quarreling is that, the saints know well. Our guests are Americanos; our guests, who are our friends,” she stated gently, looking at Jose. “Not all Spaniards are good, Jose; not all gringos are bad. They are as we are, good and bad together. Speak not like a child, amigo mio.”
The guitar which Jose flung down upon a broad stool beside him hummed resonant accompaniment to his footsteps as he left the veranda. “Thy house, Senora, has been as my mother’s house since I can remember. Until thy gringo guests have made room for me, I leave it!”
“Senor Allen, would you like to see my birds?” invited Teresita wickedly, her glance flicking scornfully the reproachful face of Jose, as he turned it towards her, and dwelling with a smile upon Jack.
“Wicked one!” murmured the senora, in her heart more than half approving the discipline.
Jose had humiliation as well as much bitterness to carry away with him; for he saw the senor with the bright blue eyes follow gladly the laughing Teresita to her rose garden, and as he went jingling across the patio without waiting to summon a peon to bring him his horse, he heard the voice of Don Andres making apology to Dade for the rudeness of him, Jose.
DON ANDRES WANTS A MAJORDOMO
“Senor, those things which you desired that I should bring, I have brought. All is of the best. Also have I brought a letter from the Senor Weelson, and what remains of the gold the senor will find laid carefully in the midst of his clothing. So I have done all as it would have been done for the patron himself.” In the downward sweep of Manuel’s sombrero one might read that peculiar quality of irony which dislike loves to inject into formal courtesy.
Behind Manuel waited a peon burdened with elegant riding gear and a bundle of clothing, and a gesture brought him forward to deposit his load upon the porch before the gringo guest, whose “Gracias” Manuel waved into nothingness; as did the quick shrug disdain the little bag of gold which Jack drew from his pocket and would have tossed to Manuel for reward.