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Emerson Hough
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about 54-40 or Fight.

“But these are Mexicans, and Van Zandt is leader of the Texans, their most bitter enemies!”

“Precisely.  All the less reason why Senora Yturrio should be suspected.”

“I am not sure that I grasp all this, Mr. Calhoun.”

“Perhaps not You presently will know more.  What seems to me plain is that, since we seem to lose a valuable ally in the Baroness von Ritz, we must make some offset to that loss.  If England has one woman on the Columbia, we must have another on the Rio Grande!”

CHAPTER XXI

POLITICS UNDER COVER

     To a woman, the romances she makes are more amusing than those she
     reads.—­Theophile Gautier.

It was curious how cleverly this austere old man, unskilled in the arts of gallantry, now handled the problem to which he had addressed himself, even though that meant forecasting the whim of yet another woman.  It all came easily about, precisely as he had planned.

It seemed quite correct for the daughter of our secretary of state to call to inquire for the health of the fair Senora Yturrio, and to present the compliments of Madam Calhoun, at that time not in the city of Washington.  Matters went so smoothly that I felt justified in suggesting a little drive, and Senora Yturrio had no hesitation in accepting.  Quite naturally, our stately progress finally brought us close to the residence of Miss Calhoun.  That lady suggested that, since the day was warm, it might be well to descend and see if we might not find a sherbet; all of which also seemed quite to the wish of the lady from Mexico.  The ease and warmth of Mr. Calhoun’s greeting to her were such that she soon was well at home and chatting very amiably.  She spoke English with but little hesitancy.

Lucrezia Yturrio, at that time not ill known in Washington’s foreign colony, was beautiful, in a sensuous, ripe way.  Her hair was dark, heavily coiled, and packed in masses above an oval forehead.  Her brows were straight, dark and delicate; her teeth white and strong; her lips red and full; her chin well curved and deep.  A round arm and taper hand controlled a most artful fan.  She was garbed now, somewhat splendidly, in a corded cherry-colored silk, wore gems enough to start a shop, and made on the whole a pleasing picture of luxury and opulence.  She spoke in a most musical voice, with eyes sometimes cast modestly down.  He had been a poor student of her species who had not ascribed to her a wit of her own; but as I watched her, somewhat apart, I almost smiled as I reflected that her grave and courteous host had also a wit to match it.  Then I almost frowned as I recalled my own defeat in a somewhat similar contest.

Mr. Calhoun expressed great surprise and gratification that mere chance had enabled him to meet the wife of a gentleman so distinguished in the diplomatic service as Senor Yturrio.  The Senora was equally gratified.  She hoped she did not make intrusion in thus coming.  Mr. Calhoun assured her that he and his were simple in their family life, and always delighted to meet their friends.

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