Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part II — Scene II >> Page 13

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Page 13

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar. 13

Olivia. Oh ! no more ! Here comes my father.
Bonham, [aside.] Then my trial comes !
Enter Don Esteban and Don Pedro.
Olivia. My dear father!
Esteban. How now, Senorita ! It's as hard to find you as the gold mines of Gallipango. We have met with every body in all Bexar, but yourself—among others, with your good aunt, the ever-to-be-loved-and-honoredat-a-distance, Donna Elvira Teresa de los Flores y Banainos, who would have held on to an antediluvian himself had he only come in the guise of a bachelor. These old maids keep their hold upon a single elan, as if every' nerve had a tooth of its own. It's only when I meet with her that I ani painfully reminded that I am a widower. But I shook her off finally, by a stratagem, calling to her side Don Vincente Trueba, who is more certainly a marrying man than I am. She took to him as a hungry serpent to a drowsy frog. A most happy stratagem, that of mine, eh ! Don Pedro.
Pedro. Truly, a most happy stratagem !
Esteban. Who have you here, Senorita ? Senor, your health.
[Bonham bows in silence
Olivia. This, my dear father, is the brave gentleman who saved my cousin Donna Maria and myself from the Calnanches, at the fountains of Loro.
Esteban. Indeed, Senor, I rejoice to see you. My daughter has already made me acquainted with your valor, and the great service you rendered herself and consul. I love men of valor. I am one myself: I hate ingratitude, and will show that I am grateful. Senor, I kiss your hands, and beg to assure you that all that I am, and have, is at your command.
Bonham. You do me too much honor, your Excellency ; the small service
Esteban. Small service, do you call it ? What! to save my daughter, Senorita Olivia de Monteneros, from a horde of rascal.) Camanches, a small service ! By the wisdom tooth of my great grandmother, I would not suffer your enemy to speak of it so lightly. It was a great service, Senor, and you managed the rascals fhmously. It was a nice stratagem ! You took them by surprise—I can see that. Pray tell me how you planned it : a very nice stratagem, no doubt—worthy to be studied.
Bonham. Nay, your Excellency, but there was no stratagem at all. I simply heard the screams of women, hurried to the spot, and had the good fortune to extricate your daughter and her cousin from the savages.
Esteban. Bravely done, and told with rare modesty ! Still, I should have preferred that you had operated a little more by the rules of art—a little more strategetically. At all events, the affair tells for your valor. No small odds, Don Pedro, one man to some fifteen or twenty Camanches.
Bonham. But two, your Excellency.
Pedro. The Camanches are very cowardly scoundrels. One good man, with half a heart, is equal to a score.
Bonham, [to Pedro.] Did you ever manage a score of them, Senor?
Pedro, [ fiercely.] Hey ! Senor.
Esteban. Indeed, Don Pedro, but we differ very much in that opinion. But the subject of Caniuuclie valor will serve for future discussion. Meanwhile, this noble gentleman—Senor—[to Bonham]—I would bring you to the knowledge of my excellent kinsman, here, Don Pedro de Zavalo, but that I have not the honor of your name.
Bonham. I am known, sir, in Mexico, as Don Arurador de Aguilar.
Esteban. Don Armador de A guilar ! A good namean historical name, as I may say. Your family came in with the conquest.
Bonham. They (lid, your Excellency.
Esteban. -You will inherit their fortunes. You are a conqueror also. You look like a man who has been used to conquest.
Pedro, [half aside, at Bonham.] " Great as he is in dust he lies,
Ile meets a greater, and he dies!"
Bonham., [aside.] Truly I think, this gallant jeers at me:
We'll fathom him anon.
Esteban. `'hat is't you said, Don Pedro ?
Pedro. Truth, Senor, nothing of much. A poor jest, On a much poorer subject.
Esteban. A wise business that. But let ore bring you to know this gentleman, Senor I)on Aniador tie Aguilar. You should be friends. Both young, and brave, and of ancient family. All, if it had not been for the success of my stratagem—if we had not utterly annihilated these Texian rebels, scattered them to the four winds of heaven, how I should have rejoiced to see you two, rivals for fame and smiting trip and thigh among the runagates.
Pedro. These Texians are no Camauches—not easily driven by fine caparison and the mere show of weapons. It will require blows, absolute blows, with strong arm and good metal, I can tell Don Aniador, whenever he shall meet with tlicni ! [Touches his sword.
Bonham. Don Pedro thinks as I do, your Excellency. Ile has probably met these Texi;uis in battle. They have felt his sword. IIe knows them, or rather he has made them to know him by the strength of his arm. Ha! Se-nor, is't not so ?
Pedro, [haughtily.] No, Senor.
Bonham. Texians are not Camanches. They will require good weapons, and it is part of my business here to seek them with mine. I am indifferently ready for any enemy, and keep up the practice sometimes with a friend behind the walls of La Guayra. It is my favorite place of practice, when in Bexar, at sunrise every morning.
[ Touches Iris sword and looks sign ficartly to Pedro.
Olivia, [aside.] These men mean mischief.
Esteban. Well! well! whether Comanche or Texian, I feel sure of both of you. My strategies, and vour valor and vigor, would soon bury the whole banditti of Texas in the Gulf. You must go with me, Senors. My home shall be your house. Don Pedro, it has long been yours. Don Armador, it must be yours from this moment. Come!
Pedro. You must pardon me, your Excellency ; but an engagement—an engw ernertt of honor. [Looking to Bonham.
Esteban. Indeed! but this will never do. We must find another engagement for you. You must home with me. I must know Don Aniador better : and you, Don Pedro, must unite with we in securing his friendship. Two such gallants are not met with every day in Bexar. Ah, Senors, we are quite too fur from the great centre. The rays of Mexico seldom reach, and never warm us ; and when we can lay hands, as now, upon one of its choice spirits, we must not slitThr him to escape. Hear you, Don Amaclor. Come along! Come with me—I have a most delightfitl stratagem in progress.
Pedro. I too have a stratagem, your Excellency. It is very like, your friend, Don Amador, has his also. If he be the gallant that you speak him, as I do not question, he can scarcely well be without one.
Bonham, 'Prue, I have my stratagem, Senor, and am always ready for a good one, such as your Excellency and Don Pedro may propose. It is possible that I may match you both with something in return. At present, however,