He sat still, his mind working, while in a fair inner land Isabel and I moved together; then in a meditative quiet he finished his drawing. He himself was admirable, fine gold and bronze, sapphire-eyed, with a face where streams of visions moved the muscles, and all against the blue and the willow tree.
At last he put away pencil, and at his gesture I came from the boat and the reeds. I looked at what he had drawn, and then he shut book and, the mule following us, we moved back to the road.
“My dear fisherman,” he said, “you are trudging afoot and your dress exhibits poverty. Painters may paint Jove descending in showers of golden pesos and yet have few pesos in purse. I have at present ten. I should like to share them with you who have done me various good turns to-day.”
I said that he was generous but that he had done me good turns. Moreover I was not utterly without coin, and certainly the hour had paid for itself. So he mounted his mule and wished me good fortune, and I wished him good fortune.
“Are you going to Santa Fe?”
“Yes. I have a friend in the camp.”
“I go there to paint her Highness the Queen
Highness the King. Perhaps we shall meet again. I am
“I guessed that,” I answered, “an hour ago! Be so good, great painter, as not to remember me. It will serve me better.”
The light played again over his face. “The Disguised Hidalgo. Excellent pictures come to me like that, in a great warm light, and excellent names for pictures.—Very good. In a way, so to speak, I shall completely forget you!”
Two on horseback, a churchman and a knight, with servants following, came around a bend of the dusty road and recognizing Manuel Rodriguez, called to him by name. Away he rode upon his mule, keeping company with them. The dozen in their train followed, raising as they went by such a dust cloud that presently all became like figures upon worn arras. They rode toward Santa Fe, and I followed on foot.
Santa Fe rose before me, a camp in wood, plaster and stone, a camp with a palace, a camp with churches. Built of a piece where no town had stood, built that Majesty and its Court and its Army might have roofs and walls, not tents, for so long a siege, it covered the plain, a city raised in a night. The siege had been long as the war had been long. Hidalgo Spain and simple Spain were gathered here in great squares and ribbons of valor, ambition, emulation, desire of excitement and of livelihood, and likewise, I say it, in pieces not small, herded and brought here without any “I say yes” of their own, and to their misery. There held full flavor of crusade, as all along the war had been preached as a crusade. Holy Church had here her own grandees, cavaliers and footmen. They wore cope and they wore cowl, and