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A Ramble with Eulogia Top of Form Bottom of Form I Dona Pomposa crossed her hands on her stomach and twirled her thumbs. A red spot was in each coffee-coloured cheek, and the mole in her scanty eyebrow jerked ominously. Her lips were set in a taut line, and her angry little eyes were fixed upon a girl who sat by the window strumming a guitar, her chin raised with an air of placid impertinence. Thou wilt stop this nonsense and cast no more glances at Juan Tornel! commanded Dona Pomposa. Thou l
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  A Ramble with EulogiaTop of FormBottom of Form I Dona Pomposa crossed her hands on her stomach and twirled her thumbs. A red spot was in eachcoffee-coloured cheek, and the mole in her scanty eyebrow jerked ominously. Her lips were set in a taut line, andher angry little eyes were fixed upon a girl who sat by the window strumming a guitar, her chin raised with an airof placid impertinence. Thou wilt stop this nonsense and cast no more glances at Juan Tornel! commanded Dona Pomposa. Thoulittle brat! Dost thou think that I am one to let my daughter marry before she can hem? Thank God we have moresense than our mothers! No child of mine shall marry at fifteen. Now listen--thou shalt be locked in a dark room ifI am kept awake again by that hobo serenading at thy window. To-morrow, when thou goest to church, take carethat thou throwest him no glance. Dios de mi alma! I am worn out! Three nights have I been awakened by that tw-a-n-g, tw-a-n-g.   You need not be afraid, said her daughter, digging her little heel into the floor. I shall not fall in love. I have nofaith in men. Her mother laughed outright in spite of her anger. Indeed, my Eulogia! Thou art very wise. And why, pray, hast thou no faith in men? Eulogia tossed the soft black braid from her shoulder, and fixed her keen roguish eyes on the old lady's face. Because I have read all the novels of the Senor Dumas, and I well know all those men he makes. And theynever speak the truth to women; always they are selfish, and think only of their own pleasure. If the womensuffer, they do not care; they do not love the women--only themselves. So I am not going to be fooled by themen. I shall enjoy life, but I shall think of myself  , not of the men. Her mother gazed at her in speechless amazement. She never had read a book in her life, and had not thoughtof locking from her daughter the few volumes her dead husband had collected. Then she gasped withconsternation. Por Dios, senorita, a fine woman thou wilt make of thyself with such ideas! a nice wife and mother--when thetime comes. What does Padro Flores say to that, I should like to know? It is very strange that he has let you readthose books. I have never told him, said Eulogia, indifferently. What! screamed her mother. You never told at confession? No, I never did. It was none of his business what I read. Reading is no sin. I confessed all-- 1/23   Mother of God! cried Dona Pomposa, and she rushed at Eulogia with uplifted hand; but her nimble daughterdived under her arm with a provoking laugh, and ran out of the room.That night Eulogia pushed aside the white curtain of her window and looked out. The beautiful bare hillsencircling San Luis Obispo were black in the silvered night, but the moon made the town light as day. The owlswere hooting on the roof of the mission; Eulogia could see them flap their wings. A few Indians were still movingamong the dark huts outside the walls, and within, the padre walked among his olive trees. Beyond the walls thetown was still awake. Once a horseman dashed down the street, and Eulogia wondered if murder had been donein the mountains; the bandits were thick in their fastnesses. She did wish she could see one. Then she glancedeagerly down the road beneath her window. In spite of the wisdom she had accepted from the Frenchromanticist, her fancy was just a little touched by Juan Tornel. His black flashing eyes could look so tender, andhe rode so beautifully. She twitched the curtain into place and ran across the room, her feet pattering on the barefloor, jumped into her little iron bed, and drew the dainty sheet to her throat. A ladder had fallen heavily againstthe side of the house.She heard an agile form ascend and seat itself on the deep window-sill. Then the guitar vibrated under the touchof master fingers, and a rich sweet tenor sang to her:--EL CORAZON El corazon del amor palpita,Al oir de tu dulce voz,Cuando mi sangreSe pone en agitacion,Tu eres la mas hermosa,Tu eres la luz del dia,Tu eres la gloria mia,Tu eres mi dulce bien. Negro tienes el cabello,Talle lineas hermosas,Mano blanca, pie precioso,No hay que decir en ti:--Tueres la mas hermosa,Tu eres la luz del dia, 2/23   Tu eres la prenda mia,Tu me haras morir. Que importa que noche y dia,En ti sola estoy pensando,El corazon palpitanteNo cesa de repetir:--Tu eres la mas hermosa,Tu eres la luz del dia,Tu eres la prenda mia,Tu me haras morir--Eulogia! Eulogia lay as quiet as a mouse in the daytime, not daring to applaud, hoping fatigue had sent her mother tosleep. Her lover tuned his guitar and began another song, but she did not hear it; she was listening to footfalls inthe garret above. With a presentiment of what was about to happen she sprang out of bed with a warning cry;but she was too late. There was a splash and rattle on the window-seat, a smothered curse, a quick descent, atriumphant laugh from above. Eulogia stamped her foot with rage. She cautiously raised the window and passedher hand along the outer sill. This time she beat the casement with both hands: they were covered with warmashes. Well, my daughter, have I not won the battle? said a voice behind her, and Eulogia sat down on thewindow-seat and swung her feet in silent wrath.Dona Pomposa wore a rather short night-gown, and her feet were encased in a pair of her husband's old boots.Her hair was twisted under a red silk kerchief, and again she crossed her hands on her stomach, but the thumbsupheld a candle. Eulogia giggled suddenly. What dost thou laugh at, senorita? At the way I have served thy lover? Dost thou think he will come soonagain? No, mamma, you have proved the famous hospitality of the Californians which the Americans are always talkingabout. You need have no more envy of the magnificence of Los Quervos. And then she kicked her heels againstthe wall. Oh, thou canst make sharp speeches, thou impertinent little brat; but Juan Tornel will serenade under thywindow no more. Dios! the ashes must look well on his pretty mustachios. Go to bed. I will put thee to board inthe convent to-morrow. And she shuffled out of the room, her ample figure swinging from side to side like alarge pendulum. II 3/23   The next day Eulogia was sitting on her window-seat, her chin resting on her knees, a volume of Dumas besideher, when the door was cautiously opened and her Aunt Anastacia entered the room. Aunt Anastacia was verylarge; in fact she nearly filled the doorway; she also disdained whalebones and walked with a slight roll. Herankles hung over her feet, and her red cheeks and chin were covered with a short black down. Her hair wastwisted into a tight knot and protected by a thick net, and she wore a loose gown of brown calico, patterned withlarge red roses. But good-nature beamed all over her indefinite features, and her little eyes dwelt adoringly uponEulogia, who gave her an absent smile. Poor little one, she said in her indulgent voice. But it was cruel in my sister to throw ashes on thy lover. Not butwhat thou art too young for lovers, my darling,--although I had one at twelve. But times have changed. My littleone--I have a note for thee. Thy mother is out, and he has gone away, so there can be no harm in reading it-- Give it to me at once --and Eulogia dived into her aunt's pocket and found the note. Beautiful and idolized Eulogia.--Adios! Adios! I came a stranger to thy town. I fell blinded at thy feet. I fly foreverfrom the scornful laughter in thine eyes. Ay, Eulogia, how couldst thou? But no! I will not believe it was thou! Thedimples that play in thy cheeks, the sparks that fly in thine eyes--Dios de mi vida! I cannot believe that they comefrom a malicious soul. No, enchanting Eulogia! Consolation of my soul! It was thy mother who so cruellyhumiliated me, who drives me from thy town lest I be mocked in the streets. Ay, Eulogia! Ay, misericordia! Adios!Adios! JUAN TORNEL. Eulogia shrugged her shoulders. Well, my mother is satisfied, perhaps. She has driven him away. At least, Ishall not have to go to the convent. Thou art so cold, my little one, said Aunt Anastacia, disapprovingly. Thou art but fifteen years, and yet thouthrowest aside a lover as if he were an old reboso. Madre de Dios! In your place I should have wept and beatenthe air. But perhaps that is the reason all the young men are wild for thee. Not but that I had many lovers-- It is too bad thou didst not marry one, interrupted Eulogia, maliciously. Perhaps thou wouldst --and she pickedup her book-- if thou hadst read the Senor Dumas. Thou heartless baby! cried her indignant aunt, when I love thee so, and bring thy notes at the risk of my life,for thou knowest that thy mother would pull the hair from my head. Thou little brat! to say I could not marry, whenI had twenty-- Eulogia jumped up and pecked her on the chin like a bird. Twenty-five, my old mountain. I only joked with thee.Thou didst not marry because thou hadst more sense than to trot about after a man. Is it not so, my old sack offlour? I was but angry because I thought thou hadst helped my mother last night. Never! I was sound asleep. I know, I know. Now trot away. I hear my mother coming, and Aunt Anastacia obediently left her niece to themore congenial company of the Senor Dumas. III The steep hills of San Luis Obispo shot upward like the sloping sides of a well, so round was the town. Scarlet 4/23 
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