« AnteriorContinuar »
as a sacerdotal garment. Boots, you can swing a lasso, hallooing like stockings, or unmentionables, he had Indios Bravos." none. A cigarito, of tobacco rolled “But, José, how many did they in corn shuck, was occasionally leave dead on the field ?" placed between his lips; whereupon “Not one." huge clouds of smoke rushed in "And we?" columns from his mouth and nostrils. “Valgame Dios ! thirteen dead, and His face was of a golden yellow many more wounded." colour, relieved by arched and very “That's it! Now if these savages black eyebrows; his shaven chin was come again, (and the Chemeguaba, of most respectable duplicity-his cor- who came in yesterday, says he saw poration of orthodox dimensions. a large trail,) we must fight adentroSeveral Indians and half-bred Mexican within-outside is no go; for as you women were pounding Indian corn on very properly say, José, these Amemetates near at hand; whilst sundry ricans don't know how to fight, and beef-fed urchins of whitey-brown com kill us before-before we can kill plexion sported before the door, exhi them. Vaya!" biting, as they passed Fray Augustin, At this moment there issued from a curious resemblance to the strongly the door of the Mission Don Antonio marked features of that worthy padre. Velez Trueba, a Gachupin-that is, a They were probably his nieces and native of Old Spain—a wizened old nephews-a class of relations often hidalgo refugee, who had left the possessed in numbers by priests and mother country on account of his polimonks.
tical opinions, which were stanchly The three remaining brothers were Carlist, and had found his way-how, absent from the Mission ; Fray Ber- he himself scarcelyknew-from Mexico nardo, huifting elk in the sierra; to San Francisco in Upper California, Fray José, gallivanting at Puebla where, having a most perfect contempt de los Angeles, ten days' journey dis- for every thing Mexican, and hearing tant; Fray Cristoval, lassoing colts that in the Mission of San Fernando, upon the plain. Augustin,thus left to far away, were a couple of Spanish his own resources, had just eaten his padres of " sangre regular," he had vespertine frijolitos and chile colorado, started into the wilderness to ferret and was enjoying a post-canal smoke them out; and having escaped all of fragrant pouche under the shadow dangers on the route, (which, howof his own fig-tree.
ever, were hardly dangers to the Don, Whilst thus employed, an Indian who could not realise the idea of dressed in Mexican attire approached scalp-taking savages,) had arrived him hat in hand, and, making a reve- with a whole skin at the Mission. rential bow, asked his directions There he was received with open arms concerning domestic business of the by his countryman Fray Augustin, Mission.
who made him welcome to all the “ Hola! friend José," cried Fray place afforded, and there he harmlessly Augustin in a thick guttural voice, smoked away his time; his heart far “ pensaba yo-I was thinking that it away on the banks of the Genil and was very nearly this time three years in the grape-bearing vegas of his beago when those malditos Ameri- loved Andalusia, his withered cuerpo canos' came by here and ran off with so in the sierras of Upper California. many of our cavallada."
Don Antonio was the walking essence " True, reverend father," answered of a Spaniard of the ancien régime. the administrador, "just three years His family dated from the Flood, and ago, all but fifteen days: I remember with the exception of sundry refreshit well. Malditos sean-curse them !" ing jets of Moorish blood, injected “How many did we kill, José ?" into the Truebas during the Moorish
“Quizas mõõchos—a great many, epoch, no strange shoot was ever I dare say. But they did not fight engrafted on their genealogical tree. fairly-charged right upon us, and The marriages of the family were gave us no time to do any thing. ever confined to the family itselfThey don't know how to fight, these never looking to fresh blood in a Mericanos; come right at you, before station immediately below it, which
was not hidalgueño ; nor above, your worship also, I trust you are in since any thing higher in rank than good health ?" the Trueba y Trueba family, no habia, “ Sin novedad—without novelty ;' there was not.
which, since it was one hour and a half Thus, in the male and female scions since our friends had separated to of the house, were plainly visible the take their siestas, was not impossible. ill effects of breeding " in and in." "Myself and the worthy José," The male Truebas were sadly dege- continued Fray Augustin, “ were nerate Dons, in body as in mind speaking of the vile invasion of a -compared to their ancestors of band of North American robbers, who Boabdil's day; and the señoritas of three years since fiercely assaulted the name were all eyes, and eyes this peaceful Mission, killing many of alone, and hardly of such stamp its inoffensive inhabitants, wounding as would have tempted that amorous many more, and carrying off several monarch to bestow a kingdom for of our finest colts and most promising a kiss, as ancient ballads tell.
mules to their dens and caves in the “ Dueña de la negra toca,
Rocky Mountains. Not with impuPor un beso de tu boca,
nity, however, did they effect this Diera un reyno, Boabdil ; atrocity. José informs me that Y yo por ello, Cristiana,
many of the assailants were killed by Te diera de buena gana
my brave Indians. How many said Mil cielos, si fueran mil."
you, José ?" Come of such poor stock, and "Quizas mo-o-ochos," answered reared on tobacco smoke and" gazpa- * the Indian. cho," Don Antonio would not have “Yes, probably a great multitude," shone, even amongst pigmy Mexicans, continued the padre; “but, unfor physical beauty. Five feet high, a warned by such well-merited castiframe-work of bones covered with a gation, it has been reported to me by skin of Andalusian tint, the Trueba a Chemeguaba mansito, that a band stood erect and stiff in all the con- of these audacious marauders are sciousness of his " sangre regular." now on their road to repeat the His features were handsome, but offence, numbering many thousands, entirely devoid of flesh, his upper lip well mounted and armed; and to was covered with a jet-black mustache oppose these white barbarians it bemixed with gray, his chin was bearded hoves us to make every preparation “ like the pard." Every one around of defence."* him clad in deer and goat skin, our “ There is no cause for alarm," Don walked conspicuous in shining answered the Andaluz. “I tapping suit of black-much the worse for wear, his breast) have served in three wars : it must be confessed — with beaver in that glorious one. de la Indepenhat sadly battered, and round his dencia,' when our glorious patriots body and over his shoulder an un- drove the French like sheep across exceptionable “capa" of the amplest the Pyrenees; in that equally glorious dimensions. Asking, as he stepped one of 1821 ; and in the late magnaover him, the pardon of an Indian nimous struggle for the legitimate urchin who blocked the door, and rights of his majesty Charles V., bowing with punctilious politeness king of Spain, (doffing his hat,) whom to the sturdy mozas who were God preserve. With that right grinding corn, Don Antonio ap- arm," cried the spirited Don, exproached our friend Augustin, who tending his shrivelled member, “ I was discussing warlike matters with have supported the throne of my his administrador.
kings — have fought for my coun"Hola! Don Antonio, how do you try, mowing down its enemies before find yourself, sir ?"
me; and with it," vehemently ex" Perfectly well, and your very claimed the Gachupin, working humble servant, reverend father ; and himself into a perfect frenzy, “I
* From the report to the Governor of California by the Head of the Mission, in reference to the attacks by the American mountaineers.
will slay these Norte Americanos, which Juanita was despatched to bring, should they dare to show their faces and, on presenting it, the churchin my front. Adios, Don Augustin man facetiously inquired why she Ignacio Sabanal - Morales-y Fuen- wished for the Americans, adding, tes," he cried, doffing his hat with an “Don't think they'll come hereno, earth-sweeping bow: “I go to grind no: here we are brave men, and have my sword. Till then adieu."
Don Antonio with us, a noble fellow, "A countryman of mine!” said the well used to arms." As the words frayle, admiringly, to the administra were on his lips, the clattering of a dor. ." With him by our side we horse's hoofs was heard rattling across need not to fear: neither Norte Ameri- the loose stones and pebbles in the canos, nor the devil himself, can bed of the river, and presently an harm us when he is by."
Indian herder galloped up to the door Whilst the Trueba sharpens his of the Mission, his horse covered with Tizona, and the priest puffs volumes foam, and its sides bleeding from of smoke from his nose and mouth, spur-wounds. let us introduce to the reader one “Oh, padre mio !” he cried, as of the muchachitas, who knelt soon as he caught sight of his revegrinding corn on the metate, torence,“ vienen los Americanos—the make tortillas for the evening meal. Americans, the Americans are upon Juanita was a stont wench from us. Ave Maria purissima - more Sonora, of Mexican blood, hardly than ten thousand are at my heels!” as dark as the other women who Upstarted the priest and shouted for surrounded her, and with a drop the Don. or two of the Old Spanish blood That hidalgo presently appeared, struggling with the darker Indian armed with the sword that had graced tint to colour her plump cheeks. An his thigh in so many glorious encounenagua (a short petticoat) of red ters, the sword with which he had serge was confined round her waist mowed down the enemies of his counby a gay band ornamented with try, and by whose aid he now probeads, and a chemisette covered the posed to annibilate the American upper part of the body, permitting, savages should they dare to appear however, a prodigal display of her before him. charms. Whilst pounding sturdily The alarm was instantly given ; at the corn, she laughed and joked peones, vagueros hurried from the with her fellow-labourers upon the plains; and milpas, warned by the anticipated American attack, which deep-toned bell, which soon rung out appeared to have but few terrors for its sonorous alarum. A score of her. “Que vengan," she exclaimed mounted Indians, armed with gun and
--" let them come; they are only lasso, dashed off to bring intelligence men, and will not molest us women. of the enemy. The old gingall on the Besides, I have seen these white men roof was crammed with powder and before-in my own country, and they bullets to the very muzzle, by the are fine fellows, very tall, and as frayle's own hand. Arms were white as the snow on the sierras brought and piled in the sala, ready Let them come, say I!"
for use. The padre exhorted, the “Only hear the girl!" cried another: women screamed, the men grew pale " if these savages come, then will and nervous, and thronged within they kill Pedrillo, and what will Jua the walls. Don Antonio, the fiery nita say to lose her sweetheart?” Andaluz, alone remained outside,
"Pedrillo !" sneered the latter; flourishing his whetted sabre, and 6 what care I for Pedrillo ? Soy roaring to the padre, who stood on the Mejicana, yo- Mexican girl am roof with lighted match, by the side I, I'd have you know, and don't of his formidable cannon, not to be demean me to look at a wild Indian. affrighted. “That he, the Trueba, was Not I, indeed, by my salvation! there, with his Tizona, ready to defeat What I say is, let the Norte Ame- the devil himself should he come on." ricanos come."
He was deaf to the entreaties of the At this juncture Fray Augustin priest to enter. called for a glass of aguardiente, “ Siempre en el frente-Ever in
the van," he said, " was the war-cry descent; but when the plain was of the Truebas.
reached, they formed into something But now a cloud of dust was seen like a line, and trotted fearlessly toapproaching from the plain, and pre- wards the Californians. These began sently a score of horsemen dashed to sit uneasily in their saddles; neverheadlong towards the Mission. “El theless they made a forward moveenemigo," shouted Fray Augustin; ment, and even broke into a gallop, and, without waiting to aim, he clapped but soon halted, and again huddled his match to the touch-hole of the together. Then the mountaineers gun, harmlessly pointed to the sky, quickened their pace, and their loud and crying out in el nombre de sbout was heard as they dashed into Dios"-in God's name-as he did the middle of the faltering troop. so, was instantly knocked over and The sharp cracks of the rifles were over by the recoil of the piece, then heard, and the duller reports of the was as instantly seized by some smooth-bored pieces of the Califorof the Indian garrison, and forced nians; a cloud of smoke and dust through the trap-door into the build- arose from the plain, and immediing; whilst the horsemen (who were ately half-a-dozen horses, with empty his own scouts) galloped up with saddles, broke from it, followed the intelligence that the enemy quickly by the Californians, flying was at hand, and in overwhelming like mad across the level. The little force.
steady line of the mountaineers adThereupon the men were all mounted, vanced, and puffs of smoke arose, as and formed in a body before the build they loaded and discharged their rifles ing, to the amount of more than fifty, at the flying horsemen. As the Ameriwell armed with guns or bows and cans came on, however, one was seen arrows. Here the gallant Don ha- to totter in his saddle, the rifle fell rangued them, and infusing into their from his grasp, and he tumbled headhearts a little of his own courage, long to the ground for an instant they eagerly demanded to be led his companions surrounded the fallen against the enemy. Fray Augustin man, but again forming, dashed tore-appeared on the roof, gave them wards the Mission, shouting fierce his blessing, advised them to give no war-whoops, and brandishing aloft quarter, and, with slight misgivings, their long and heavy rifles. Of the saw them ride off to the conflict. defeated Californians some jumped off
About a mile from the Mission, the their horses at the door of the Mission, plain gradually ascended to a ridge of and sought shelter within ; others galmoderate elevation, on which was a loped off towards the sierra in panicgrowth of dwarf oak and iles. To this stricken plight. Before the gate, howpoint the eyes of the remaining inmates ever, still paced valiantly the proud of the convent were earnestly directed, hidalgo, encumbered with his cloak, as at this point the enemy was first ex and waving with difficulty his sword pected to make his appearance. Pre- above his head. To the priest and sently a few figures were seen to crown women, who implored him to enter, the ridge, clearly defined against the he replied with cries of defiance, of clear evening sky. Not more than a “ Viva Carlos Quinto," and “Death dozen mounted men composed this or glory.” He shouted in vain to the party, which all imagined must be flying crowd to halt; but, seeing their doubtless the vanguard of the thousand panic was beyond hope, he clutched invaders. On the summit of the ridge his weapon more firmly as the Amethey halted a few minutes, as if to re ricans dashed at him, closed his teeth connoitre; and by this time the Cali- and his eyes, thought once of the fornian horsemen were halted in the vega of his beloved Genil, and of plain, midway between the Mission Granada la Florida, and gave himself and the ridge, and distant from the up for lost. Those inside the Mission, former less than half-a-mile, so that when they observed the flight of all the operations were clearly visible their cavalry, gave up the defence as to the lookers-on.
hopeless; and already the charging The enemy wound slowly, in Indian mountaineers were almost under the file, down the broken ground of the walls when they observed the curions
figure of the little Don making demon- which were quickly placed before them, strations of hostility.
washing down the hot-spiced viands " Wagh !” exclaimed the leading with deep draughts of wine and hunter, (no other than our friend La brandy. It would have been amusBonté,)“ here's a little crittur as ing to have seen the faces of these means to do all the fighting ;" and rough fellows as they gravely pledged seizing his rifle by the barrel, he poked each other in the grateful liquor, and at the Don with the butt-end, who looked askance at the piles of fruit parried the blow, and with such a served by the attendant Hebes. sturdy stroke, as nearly severed the These came in for no little share of stock in two. Another mountaineer attention, it may be imagined; but rode up, and, swinging his lasso over- the utmost respect was paid to them, head, threw the noose dexterously for your mountaineer, rough and bearover the Spaniard's head, and as it like though he be, never, by word fell over his shoulders, drew it taut, or deed, offends the modesty of a thus securing the arms of the pugna- woman, although sometimes obliged cious Don as in a vice.
to use a compulsory wooing, when " Quartell" cried the latter ; " por time is not allowed for regular courtDios, quartel !"
ship, and not unfrequently known to "Quarterbed !"exclaimed one jerk a New Mexican or Californian of the whites, who understood Spa- beauty behind his saddle, should the nish ; " who's agoin' to hurt you, you obdurate parents refuse consent to little crittur?"
their immediate union. It tickled the By this time Fray Augustin was Americans not a little to have all their waving a white flag from the roof, in wants supplied, and to be thus waited token of surrender; and soon after he upon, by what they considered the appeared trembling at the door, bé houris of paradise; and after their seeching the victors to be merciful and long journey, and the many hardships to spare the lives of the vanquished, and privations they had suffered, their when all and everything in the Mission present luxurious situation seemed would be freely placed at their disposal. scarcely real.
" What does the niggur say?" The Hidalgo, released from the asked old Walker, the leader of the durance vile of the lasso, assisted at mountaineers, of the interpreter. the entertainment; his sense of what
"Well, he talks so queer, this hos was due to the "sangre regular" which can't rightly make it out."
ran in his veins being appeased by the "Tell the old coon then to quit fact, that he sat above the wild unthat, and make them darned greasers couth mountaineers, these preferring clear out of the lodge, and pock some to squat crosslegged on the floor in corn and shucks here for the animals, their own fashion, to the uncomfortfor they're nigh give out."
able and novel luxury of a chair. This being conveyed to him in Killbuck, indeed, seemed to have quite mountain Spanish, which fear alone forgotten the use of such pieces of made him understand, the padre gave furniture. On Fray Augustin offerorders to the men to leave the Mission, ing him one, and begging him, with advising them, moreover, not to re- many protestations, to be seated, that commence hostilities, as himself was old mountain worthy looked at it, and kept as hostage, and if a finger was then at the padre, turned it round, lifted against the mountaineers, he and at length comprehending the inwould be killed at once, and the Mis- tention, essayed to sit. This he sion burned to the ground. Once in- effected at last, and sat grimly for side, the hunters had no fear of attack, some moments, when, seizing the they could have kept the building chair by the back, he hurled it out of against all California; so, leaving a the open door, exclaiming,—"Wagh ! guard of two outside the gate, and first this coon aint hamshot anyhow, and seeing their worn-out animals sup- don't want such fixins, he don't;" plied with piles of corn and shucks, and gathering his legs under his body, they made themselves at home, and reclined in the manner customary to soon were paying attention to the hot him. There was a prodigious quantity tortillas, meat, and chile colorado of liquor consumed that night, the