“Let’s take them one by one,” laughed his host, “and prove them imaginary. I see a great good-fortune in store for you.”
It was midnight before Senor Andres Garavel, the banker, bade his friends good-bye. When he descended the hotel steps to his carriage, he held his white head proudly erect, and there was new dignity in his bearing. As he was whirled homeward behind his spirited Peruvian mare, a wonderful song was singing in his heart.
THE SIEGE OF MARIA TORRES
The faithful Allan was not long in fulfilling his mission. Such devotion as his, it seemed, could hardly fail, and, if there had been a hundred Chiquitas, doubtless he would have corralled them all. He conveyed the impression that, if it had been necessary to journey beyond the grave and bring back the ghost of some dead-and-gone Chiquita, he would have gloriously succeeded. One morning, a few days later, he appeared to Kirk, bursting with importance and news.
“Well, sar! I have discovered your female,” he announced, pompously.
“No? What’s her name? Who is she?”
“Her is named Maria Torres, sar, and resides in the small ’ouse you h’observed upon the ’ill.”
“Did you see her?” Anthony could hardly believe his ears.
“Oh yes, very h’extensively.”
“What does she look like? Is she dark?”
“Very dark, sar.”
“Not too small,” opined Allan.
“Of course, just right. And her eyes, like—like—”
“H’ink! Spots of h’ink. Oh, it is she, Master h’Auntony.”
“Jove! I believe it is! You’re an ace, Allan. You’re my ace of spades.” Out of pure joy he began to pummel him playfully. “Why don’t you rejoice? Lift up your voice and sing. Maria Torres! It’s a heavenly name—Why don’t you make a joyful noise?”
Allan voiced a feeble hurrah.
“It was only by chawnce that I h’encountered her, boss, for she is residing in the city. I h’ascertained all those facts—”