Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
  Maruja Bret Harte

Chapter VIII

Page 1 of 6

Table Of Contents: Maruja

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

When Faquita had made sure that her young mistress was so securely closeted with Dona Maria that morning as to be inaccessible to curious eyes and ears, she saw fit to bewail to her fellow-servants this further evidence of the decay of the old feudal and patriarchal mutual family confidences. "Time was, thou rememberest, Pepita, when an affair of this kind was openly discussed at chocolate with everybody present, and before us all. When Joaquin Padilla was shot at Monterey, it was the Dona herself who told us, who read aloud the letters describing it and the bullet-holes in his clothes, and made it quite a gala-day--and he was a first-cousin of Guitierrez. And now, when this American goat of a doctor is kicked to death by a mule, the family must shut themselves up, that never a question is asked or answered." "Ay," responded Pepita; "and as regards that, Sanchez there knows as much as they do, for it was he that almost saw the whole affair."

"How?--sawest it?" inquired Faquita, eagerly.

"Why, was it not he that was bringing home Pereo, who had been lying in one of his trances or visions--blessed St. Antonio preserve us!" said Pepita, hastily crossing herself--"on Kooratora's grave, when the Doctor's mustang charged down upon them like a wild bull, and the Doctor's foot half out of the stirrups, and he not yet fast in his seat. And Pereo laughs a wild laugh and says: 'Watch if the coyote does not drag yet at his mustang's heels;' and Sanchez ran and watched the Doctor out of sight, careering and galloping to his death!--ay, as Pereo prophesied. For it was only half an hour afterward that Sanchez again heard the tramp of his hoofs--as if it were here--and knowing it two miles away--thou understandest, he said to himself: 'It is over.'"

The two women shuddered and crossed themselves.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

"And what says Pereo of the fulfillment of his prophecy?" asked Faquita, hugging herself in her shawl with a certain titillating shrug of fascinating horror.

"It is even possible he understands it not. Thou knowest how dazed and dumb he ever is after these visions--that he comes from them as one from the grave, remembering nothing. He has lain like a log all the morning."

"Ay; but this news should awaken him, if aught can. He loved not this sneaking Doctor. Let us seek him; mayhap, Sanchez may be there. Come! The mistress lacks us not just now; the guests are provided for. Come!"

She led the way to the eastern angle of the casa communicating by a low corridor with the corral and stables. This was the old "gate-keep" or quarters of the mayordomo, who, among his functions, was supposed to exercise a supervision over the exits and entrances of the house. A large steward's room or office, beyond it a room of general assembly, half guard-room, half servants' hall, and Pereo's sleeping-room, constituted his domain. A few peons were gathered in the hall near the open door of the apartment where Pereo lay.

Stretched on a low pallet, his face yellow as wax, a light burning under a crucifix near his head, and a spray of blessed palm, popularly supposed to avert the attempts of evil spirits to gain possession of his suspended faculties, Pereo looked not unlike a corpse. Two muffled and shawled domestics, who sat by his side, might have been mourners, but for their voluble and incessant chattering.

Page 1 of 6 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Bret Harte

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004