The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Stories HTML version

The Devotion Of Enriquez
In another chronicle which dealt with the exploits of "Chu Chu," a Californian mustang, I
gave some space to the accomplishments of Enriquez Saltillo, who assisted me in training
her, and who was also brother to Consuelo Saitillo, the young lady to whom I had freely
given both the mustang and my youthful affections. I consider it a proof of the superiority
of masculine friendship that neither the subsequent desertion of the mustang nor that of
the young lady ever made the slightest difference to Enriquez or me in our exalted amity.
To a wondering doubt as to what I ever could possibly have seen in his sister to admire he
joined a tolerant skepticism of the whole sex. This he was wont to express in that
marvelous combination of Spanish precision and California slang for which he was justly
famous. "As to thees women and their little game," he would say, "believe me, my friend,
your old Oncle 'Enry is not in it. No; he will ever take a back seat when lofe is around.
For why? Regard me here! If she is a horse, you shall say, 'She will buck-jump,' 'She will
ess-shy,' 'She will not arrive,' or 'She will arrive too quick.' But if it is thees women,
where are you? For when you shall say, 'She will ess-shy,' look you, she will walk
straight; or she will remain tranquil when you think she buck-jump; or else she will arrive
and, look you, you will not. You shall get left. It is ever so. My father and the brother of
my father have both make court to my mother when she was but a senorita. My father
think she have lofe his brother more. So he say to her: 'It is enofe; tranquillize yourself. I
will go. I will efface myself. Adios! Shake hands! Ta-ta! So long! See you again in the
fall.' And what make my mother? Regard me! She marry my father--on the instant! Of
thees women, believe me, Pancho, you shall know nothing. Not even if they shall make
you the son of your father or his nephew."
I have recalled this characteristic speech to show the general tendency of Enriquez'
convictions at the opening of this little story. It is only fair to say, however, that his usual
attitude toward the sex he so cheerfully maligned exhibited little apprehension or caution
in dealing with them. Among the frivolous and light-minded intermixture of his race he
moved with great freedom and popularity. He danced well; when we went to fandangos
together his agility and the audacity of his figures always procured him the prettiest
partners, his professed sentiments, I presume, shielding him from subsequent jealousies,
heartburnings, or envy. I have a vivid recollection of him in the mysteries of the
SEMICUACUA, a somewhat corybantic dance which left much to the invention of the
performers, and very little to the imagination of the spectator. In one of the figures a
gaudy handkerchief, waved more or less gracefully by dancer and danseuse before the
dazzled eyes of each other, acted as love's signal, and was used to express alternate
admiration and indifference, shyness and audacity, fear and transport, coyness and
coquetry, as the dance proceeded. I need not say that Enriquez' pantomimic illustration of
these emotions was peculiarly extravagant; but it was always performed and accepted
with a gravity that was an essential feature of the dance.
At such times sighs would escape him which were supposed to portray the incipient
stages of passion; snorts of jealousy burst from him at the suggestion of a rival; he was
overtaken by a sort of St. Vitus's dance that expressed his timidity in making the first