Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part II — Scene II >> Page 11

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Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription Michael Bonham : or the Fall of Bexar. 11

Pedro. There was some rumor of a small force of Texian rebels, but it was said they were dispersed by famine.
Esteban. Famine, indeed ! When will the world do justice ! And our valor and skill, by which they were dispersed, must go for nothing.
Pedro. My dear Governor, suffer my congratulations. These are truly pleasant tidings. It was feared that these outlawed wretches would give you trouble. Fortunately, there were few of them.
Esteban. Few ! Four thousand men at least. Pedro. Can it be possible? And your force ? Esteban. But a poor three hundred. But they are
soldiers as you may suppose. Brave fellows, I admit.
You will suffer we to add that they were admirably
managed ! War is a science, Don Pedro.
Pedro. This alone suffices to prove it ! But three hunched to four thousand ! Your success was truly miraculous.
Esteban. Miraculous ! Is a man, now-a-days, to get credit for nothing ? Is Fate to be the enemy of Fame? I shall begin to dread lest the honor of this victory will be ascribed to Saint Iago, as in the days of IIernan Cortez. People will begin to fancy that they saw his white horse leading the pursuit of these cursed Pagan Yankeyos. But, you are surely too wise for such notions, Don Pedro. There was, let me assure you, no other miracle in the affair than such as belongs to good Generalship—such as a true military genius may effect at any moment. The miracle lay in my successful strategy; and that you may call miracle, if you will.
Pedro. Glorious strategy indeed! But tell me, my dear Don Esteban, where was this battle fought ? It is so very strange that I should have heard nothing of it before.
Esteban. [hesitatingly.] Fought! Where was it fought? 'Why, I may say, everywhere ! It was a sort of' running fight in which, from the panic of the filgitives, the parties did not absolutely come to blows. For that matter, the rebels are supposed to be running still. They have had a prodigious fiight, I assure you. It was quite in vain that 1 endeavored to pursue them. I could not hope to overtake them. Never did panic stricken scoundrels better use their legs. It is through their fears that you have the sufficient proof of their danger.
Pedro. Most conclusive testimony ! And now, my dear Governor, of other matters. How is our fair cousin ?
Esteban. We shall surprise her as I would have surprised the Texians. With this view, I have said nothing as yet of our little arrangement.
Pedro. Indeed ! But my dear Don Esteban
Esteban. A part of my plan, Don Pedro ! I am none of your rude, direct, undivel ting, matter-of-fact persons, to speak out abruptly to the simple point before me. This requires no sort of genius. I am for a stratagem in most things, as a matter of art and refinement.
Pedro. But, my dear Don Esteban, where's the necessity of stratagem in a case like this ?
Esteban. Necessity! Where's the necessity of my daughter marrying at all? It is matter of taste purely. Now, my tastes lie in stratagem. I never broke my egg, or ate my supper, or kissed my wife, or did any other natural and necessary thing, without a stratagem. Stratagem is to action what the wine is to the feast,—the oil to the dressing; the salt to the salad ; the sugar to the cake ; beauty to the woman ; wisdom to the man ; glory to the saints, and tail, hoof and horns to Don Sathanas ! If you deny me my strategy, Don Pedro, I deny you my daughter, and there is an end of it !

Pedro. But, my dear Don Esteban, will you not make some allowance for the impatience of a lover ?
Esteban. To be sure! so I do! so I will ; but you must suffer me to say too, that I require, in turn, some allowance to be made for my genius as a strategist. This is my life, my passion. You shall have my daughter: but only after a process of my own ; and I tell you that, as vet, she does not know you in the character of a lover. I shall surprise her with the fact—an agreeable surprise, as I shall design it—though surprises of this sort usually operate pleasantly on the fancies of young damsels.
Pedro. I hope they may in this instance.
Esteban. Never doubt it, Don Pedro. Only, don't be impatient. Hear my plan ! First, for the masked battery. Pedro. The masked battery ?
Esteban. Exactly. I speak in military parlance ;—and a masqued ball may fairly be considered a masked battery.
Pedro. I begin to see.
Esteban. Don't attempt to anticipate. It's quite impossible that you should divine my expedients. A few explanations shall enlighten you. Now then, and firstly, as she is, by the favor of Holy Mother, a christian damsel, you shall assail her as a Turk!
Pedro. As a Turk ! I' faith, Don Esteban, your stratagem promises to be somewhat intricate.
Esteban. Intricate! To be sure. This is the very 1 nature of all stratagem, to be intricate. But patiently. Look you then. I propose a Bal Masque, at the Palace, this very night, solely to bring about this stratagem.
Pedro. But shall I not see Olivia before to-night ?
Esteban. Oh' ay ! See her, to be sure, as often as you please ; but not a word of your passion, or of our purpose, till I give the word. I am Governor and Commander here, in Chief, and we must proceed in all things, in military fashion. I must give the signal,—my hand must fire the train.
Pedro. Well, Governor, I hope you will not by your stratagems succeed in compelling my cousin to a flight as rapid as that to which you forced the Texians.
Esteban. Well hit that! Very good! No! DO! To prevent that danger, let us go to her at once. Ho, within there!


[Enter Luis.]
Esteban. Say to the Senorita, Donna Olivia, that Se-nor Don Pedro deZavalo of Tuscasito, and myself; pre-sent ourselves to kiss her hands.
Luis. The Senorita has gone to the Plaza, your Excellency.
Esteban. To the Plaza! Good! The day is a fine one. We will follow her, Don Pedro. [Luis assists him with hat and sword.
Pedro. With all my heart.
Esteban, [bowing him to advance.] Your servant, Senor.
Pedro, [bowing and retreating.] Pardon the, your Excellency, but your politeness must not make vie forgetful of your rank.
Esteban, [aside.] Excellent young man! He was born to be a courtier. [Takes the arm of Don Pedro, and together they march statelily out.

SCENE II.
The Plaza, or Public Walks in Bexar. A gay scene of trees and shrubery. Prolonged vistas filled with groups of well and variously dressed people of both sexes. The ladies with parasolettes and head-dresses and veils, but without bonnets. A frequent sprinkling of the military,