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- TWO MEN OF SANDY BAR - 3/23 -
Jovita. It is Diego; and, Mother of God! drunk again!
Enter SANDY, carrying pack, intoxicated; staggers to centre, and, observing JOVITA, takes off his hat respectfully.
Jovita (shaking him by the shoulders passionately). Diego! How dare you! And at such a time!
Sandy (with drunken solemnity). Miss Jovita, did ye ever know me to be drunk afore at such a time?
Sandy. Zachy so. It's abnormal. And it means--the game's up.
Jovita. I do not understand. For the love of God, Diego, be plain!
Sandy (solemnly and drunkenly). When I say your game's up, I mean the old man knows it all. You're blowed upon. Hearken, miss. (Seriously and soberly.) Your father knows all that I know; but, as it wasn't my business to interfere with, I hev sorter helped along. He knows that you meet a stranger, an American, in these rides with me.
Jovita (passionately). Ingrate! You have not dared to tell him! (Seizing him by the collar, and threatening him with the horsewhip.)
Sandy (rising with half-drunken, half-sober solemnity). One minit, miss! one minit! Don't ye! don't ye do that! Ef ye forget (and I don't blame ye for it), ef ye forget that I'm a man, don't ye, don't ye forget that you're a woman! Sit ye down, sit ye down, so! Now, ef ye'll kindly remember, miss, I never saw this yer man, yer lover. Ef ye'll recollect, miss, whenever you met him, I allers hung back and waited round in the mission or in the fields beyond for ye, and allowed ye to hev your own way, it bein' no business o' mine. Thar isn't a man on the ranch, who, ef he'd had a mind to watch ye, wouldn't hev known more about yer lover than I do.
Jovita (aside). He speaks truly. He always kept in the background. Even Don Juan never knew that I had an attendant until I told him. (Aloud.) I made a mistake, Diego. I was hasty. What am I to do? He is waiting for me even now.
Sandy. Well (with drunken gravity), ef ye can't go to him, I reckon it's the squar thing for him to come to ye.
Jovita. Recollect yourself, Diego. Be a man!
Sandy. Fash jus war I say. Let him be a man, and come to ye here. Let him ride up to this ranch like a man, and call out to yer father that he'll take ye jist as ye are, without the land. And if the old man allows, rather than hev ye marry that stranger, he'll give this yer place to the church, why, let him do it, and be damned.
Jovita (recoiling, aside). So! That is their plan. Don Jose has worked on the fears or the cupidity of this drunken ingrate.
Sandy (with drunken submission). Ye was speaking to me, miss. Ef ye'll take my advice,--a drunken man's advice, miss,--ye'll say to that lover of yours, ef he's afeard to come for ye here, to take ye as ye stand, he ain't no man for ye. And, ontil he does, ye'll do as the ole man says. Fur ef I do say it, miss,--and thar ain't no love lost between us,--he's a good father to ye. It ain't every day that a gal kin afford to swap a father like that, as she DOES KNOW, fur the husband that she DON'T! He's a proud old fool, miss; but to ye, to ye, he's clar grit all through.
Jovita (passionately, aside). Tricked, fooled, like a child! and through the means of this treacherous, drunken tool. (Stamping her foot.) Ah! we shall see! You are wise, you are wise, Don Jose; but your daughter is not a novice, nor a helpless creature of the Holy Church. (Passionately.) I'll--I'll become a Protestant to-morrow!
Sandy (unheeding her passion, and becoming more earnest and self- possessed). Ef ye hed a father, miss, ez instead o' harkinin' to your slightest wish, and surroundin' ye with luxury, hed made your infancy a struggle for life among strangers, and your childhood a disgrace and a temptation; ef he had left ye with no company but want, with no companions but guilt, with no mother but suffering; ef he had made your home, this home, so unhappy, so vile, so terrible, so awful, that the crowded streets and gutters of a great city was something to fly to for relief; ef he had made his presence, his very name,--your name, miss, allowin' it was your father,--ef he had made that presence so hateful, that name so infamous, that exile, that flyin' to furrin' parts, that wanderin' among strange folks ez didn't know ye, was the only way to make life endurable; and ef he'd given ye,--I mean this good old man Don Jose, miss,--ef he'd given ye as part of yer heritage a taint, a weakness in yer very blood, a fondness for a poison, a poison that soothed ye like a vampire bat and sucked yer life-blood (seizing her arm) ez it soothed ye; ef this curse that hung over ye dragged ye down day by day, till hating him, loathing him, ye saw yerself day by day becoming more and more like him, till ye knew that his fate was yours, and yours his,--why then, Miss Jovita (rising with an hysterical, drunken laugh), why then, I'd run away with ye myself,--I would, damn me!
Jovita (who has been withdrawing from him scornfully). Well acted, Diego. Don Jose should have seen his pupil. Trust me, my father will reward you. (Aside.) And yet there were tears in his drunken eyes. Bah! it is the liquor: he is no longer sane. And, either hypocrite or imbecile, he is to be trusted no longer. But where and why is he going? (Aloud.) You are leaving us, Diego.
Sandy (quietly). Well, the old man and me don't get on together.
Jovita (scornfully). Bueno! I see. Then you abandon me.
Sandy (quickly). To the old man, miss,--not the young one. (Walks to the table, and begins to pour out liquor.)
Jovita (angrily). You would not dare to talk to me thus if John Oakhurst--ah! (Checking herself.)
Sandy (drops glass on table, hurries to centre, and seizes DONA JOVITA). Eh! Wot name did you say? (Looks at her amazed and bewildered.)
Jovita (terrified, aside). Mother of God! What have I done? Broken my sacred pledge to keep his name secret. No! No! Diego did not hear me! Surely this wretched drunkard does not know him. (Aloud.) Nothing. I said nothing: I mentioned no name.
Sandy (still amazed, frightened, and bewildered, passing his hand over his forehead slowly). Ye mentioned no name? Surely. I am wild, crazed. Tell me, miss--ye didn't,--I know ye didn't, but I thought it sounded like it,--ye didn't mention the name of--of--of-- John Oakhurst?
Jovita (hurriedly). No, of course not! You terrify me, Diego. You are wild.
Sandy (dropping her hand with a sigh of relief). No, no! In course ye didn't. I was wild, miss, wild; this drink has confused me yer. (Pointing to his head.) There are times when I hear that name, miss,--times when I see his face. (Sadly.) But it's when I've took too much--too much. I'll drink no more--no more!-- to-night--to-night! (Drops his head slowly in his hands.)
Jovita (looking at DIEGO--aside). Really, I'm feeling very uncomfortable. I'd like to ask a question of this maniac. But nonsense! Don Juan gave me to understand Oakhurst wasn't his real name; that is, he intimated there was something dreadful and mysterious about it that mustn't be told,--something that would frighten people. HOLY VIRGIN! it has! Why, this reckless vagabond here is pale and agitated. Don Juan shall explain this mystery to- night. But then, how shall I see him? Ah, I have it. The night of the last festa, when I could not leave the rancho, he begged me to show a light from the flat roof of the upper corridor, that he might know I was thinking of him,--dear fellow! He will linger to- night at the Mission; he will see the light; he will know that I have not forgotten. He will approach the rancho; I shall manage to slip away at midnight to the ruined Mission. I shall--ah, it is my father! Holy Virgin, befriend me now with self-possession. (Stands quietly at L., looking toward SANDY, who still remains buried in thought, as)--
Enter DON JOSE; regards his daughter and DIEGO with a sarcastic smile.
Don Jose (aside). Bueno! It is as I expected,--an explanation, an explosion, a lover's quarrel, an end to romance. From his looks I should say she has been teaching the adventurer a lesson. Good! I could embrace her. (Crosses to SANDY--aloud.) You still here!
Sandy (rising with a start). Yes! I--a--I was only taking leave of Miss Jovita that hez bin kind to me. She's a good gal, ole man, and won't be any the worse when I'm gone.--Good-by, Miss Jovita (extending his hand): I wish ye luck.
Jovita (coldly). Adios, friend Diego. (Aside, hurriedly.) You will not expose my secret?
Sandy (aside). It ain't in me, miss. (To DON JOSE, going.) Adios, ole man. (Shouldering his pack.)
Don Jose. Adios, friend Diego. (Formally.) May good luck attend you! (Aside.) You understand, on your word as--as--as--A GENTLEMAN!--you have no further communication with this rancho, or aught that it contains.
Sandy (gravely). I hear ye, ole man. Adios. (Goes to gateway, but pauses at table, and begins to fill a glass of aguardiente.)
Don Jose (aside, looking at his daughter). I could embrace her now. She is truly a Castro. (Aloud to JOVITA.) Hark ye, little one! I have news that will please you, and--who knows? perhaps break up the monotony of the dull life of the rancho. To-night come to me two famous caballeros, Americanos, you understand: they will be here soon, even now. Retire, and make ready to receive them. [Exit JOVITA.
Don Jose (aside, looking at SANDY). He lingers. I shall not be satisfied until Concho has seen him safely beyond the Mission wall.
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