“Can’t you guess?” asked “Red,” coming forward, smiling.
“A girl? What use I ’ave for girls?” laughed Pancho Lopez. “What you say now—what’s ze name?”
“Why, Panchita! What else could we have named her?” Angela said.
You could have knocked the Mexican down with a straw. This time he was flabbergasted.
“You all too fine, too tender, too good to me,” he said; and there was a softness in his speech that none of them had guessed could be there, save, perhaps, Gilbert.
“Oh, no,” Jones said. “We wanted a little Mexican touch in our households. And we’ve never forgotten you, old friend. Tell me, where have you been all these months? We hoped to hear from you. But never a word or a sign from you. Aren’t you just a little ashamed of yourself now, when you see how much we have been thinking of you?”
Lopez hung his head. “Yes, my frand, I am ashamed.” Then he looked around at all of them. “I love you very much. I dream of you often, an’ I say to myself. ‘Some day I go back there, an’ see my old frands which I make so ‘appy.’ But I bandit no more, an’ travel I hate in trains. I reform. I settle down in Mexico City. I ‘ave baby too, an’ good wife, good mother. But I get ’omesick, ‘ow you say, for you all, an’ so I come down for what you call ’oliday, an’—’ere I am! You ’ave made me very ’appy to-night. I love you all even more seence I see zese cheeldrens. Madre Dio! How fine to ’ave cheeldren!”
“Ain’t we ever goin’ to finish our supper?” Uncle Henry wanted to know; but his tone was not querulous; it was plaintively sweet, and it held a note of invitation for everyone.
Laughing, they all sat down, but not before Pedro had been asked in. The frightened cook—the same who had been drunk that fatal evening when Pancho first arrived—scurried here and there, eager to serve the distinguished guest.
“You all right!” Lopez told him. “Never fear, so long as you bring me good ’ot coffee!”
And, happy as the babies, they all fell to; and it was Pancho himself who was asked to cut Mrs. Quinn’s big cake.
“First time I use a knife in long while!” he laughed, as he stood up to the job. “Now we all eat much; an’ mebbe give some to leetle Pancho and Panchita too, eh?”
* * * * *
A Selection from the Catalogue of
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* * * * *
Noel Carton, driven to desperation by his vulgar little wife who, in buying his position, is forced to accept him with it, determines to bury himself in the writing of a novel, in the vain hope of forgetting. At the same time he elects to keep a secret journal. In his novel he subconsciously draws the portraits of the living people surrounding him.