The Mark of Zorro chapter 18 Don Diego returns

The Mark of chapter 18 returns
Author McCulley, Johnston, 1883-1958
Title The Mark of Zorro
Note Published serially under the title: The curse of Capistrano.
Language English
Copyright Status Public domain in the USA.

Lolita had to tell her parents, of course, what had happened during their absence, for the despensero knew, and would tell when he returned, and the was wise enough to realize that it would be better to make the first explanation.

The despensero, having been sent for wine, knew nothing of the love scene that had been enacted, and had been told merely that Zorro had hurried away. That seemed reasonable, since the was pursued by the soldiers.

So the girl told her father and mother that Captain Ramón had called while they were absent, and that he had forced his way into the big living-room to speak to her, despite the entreaties of the servant. Perhaps he had been drinking too much wine, else was not himself because of his wound, the girl explained, but he grew too bold, and pressed his suit with ardor that was repugnant, and finally insisted that he should have a kiss.

Whereupon, said the , this Zorro had stepped from the corner of the room—and how he came to be there, she did not know—and had forced Captain Ramón to apologize, and then had thrown him out of the house. After which—and here she neglected to tell the entire truth— Zorro made a courteous bow and hurried away.

Don was for getting a blade and going at once to the presidio and challenging Captain Ramón to mortal combat; but was more calm, and showed him that to do that would be to let the world know that their daughter had been affronted, and also it would not aid their fortunes any if Don quarreled with an officer of the army; and yet again the don was of an age, and the captain probably would run him through in two passes and leave Doña Catalina a weeping widow, which she did not wish to be.

So the don paced the floor of the great living-room and fumed and fussed, and wished he were ten years the younger, or that he had political power again, and he promised that when his daughter should have wedded , and he was once more in good standing, he would see that Captain Ramón was disgraced and his uniform torn from his shoulders!

Sitting in the chamber that had been assigned to her, Lolita listened to her father’s ravings, and found herself confronted with a situation. Of course, she could not wed Don Vega now. She had given her lips and her love to another, a man whose face she never had seen, a rogue pursued by soldiery—and she had spoken truly when she had said that a loved but once.

She tried to explain it all to herself, saying that it was a generous impulse that had forced her to give her lips to the man; and she told herself that it was not the truth, that her heart had been stirred when first he spoke to her at her father’s during the hour.

She was not prepared yet to tell her parents of the love that had come into her life, for it was sweet to keep it a secret; and, moreover, she dreaded the shock to them, and half feared that her father might cause her to be sent away to some place where she never would see Zorro again.

She crossed to a window and gazed out at the plaza—and she saw approaching in the distance. He rode slowly, as if greatly fatigued, and his two native servants rode a short distance behind him.

Men called to him as he neared the house, and he waved his hand at them languidly in response to their greeting. He dismounted slowly, one of the natives holding the stirrup and assisting him, brushed the dust from his clothes, and started toward the door.

Don and his wife were upon their feet to greet him, their faces beaming, for they had been accepted anew into society the evening before, and knew it was because they were Don Diego’s house guests.

“I regret that I was not here when you arrived,” said, “but I trust that you have been made comfortable in my poor house.”

“More than comfortable in this gorgeous palace!” Don exclaimed.

“Then you have been fortunate, for the saints know I have been uncomfortable enough.”

“How is that, Don Diego?” Doña Catalina asked.

“My work at the hacienda done, I rode as far as the place of Fray , there to spend the night in quiet. But as we were about to retire, there came a thundering noise at the door, and this and a troop of soldiers entered. It appears that they had been chasing the highwayman called Zorro, and had lost him in the darkness!”

In the other room, a dainty gave thanks for that.

“These are turbulent times,” continued, sighing and mopping the perspiration from his forehead. “The noisy fellows were with us an hour or more, and then continued the chase. And because of what they had said of violence, I endured a horrible nightmare, so got very little rest. And this morning I was forced to continue to Reina de !”

“You have a difficult time,” Don said. “ Zorro was here, , in your house, before the soldiers chased him.”

“What is this intelligence?” cried, sitting up straight in his chair and betraying sudden interest.

“Undoubtedly he came to steal, else to abduct you and hold you for ransom,” Doña Catalina observed. “But I scarcely think that he stole. Don and myself were visiting friends, and Lolita remained here alone. There—there is a distressing affair to report to you—”

“I beg of you to proceed,” said.

“While we were gone, Captain Ramón, of the presidio, called. He was informed we were absent, but he forced his way into the house and made himself obnoxious to the señorita. This Zorro came in and forced the captain to apologize, and then drove him away.”

“Well, that is what I call a pretty bandit!” exclaimed. “The señorita suffers from the experience?”

“Indeed, no!” said Doña Catalina. “She was of the opinion that Captain Ramón had taken too much wine. I shall call her.”

Doña Catalina went to the door of the chamber and called her daughter, and Lolita came into the room and greeted as became a proper maiden.

“It makes me desolate to know that you received an insult in my house,” said. “I shall consider the affair.”

Doña Catalina made a motion to her husband, and they went to a far corner to sit, that the young folk might be somewhat alone, which seemed to please Don Diego, but not the señorita.


Mama dwójki Zorrątek. Trenuję jujitsu japońskie i kiedyś miałam krótką przygodę z kendo. Lubię RPGi, planszówki, geografię, historię, piłkę nożną i książki. Nie wróć, książki to kocham. :) ----------------------------------- Mother of two Zorro cubs. I train Japanese jujitsu and once had a short adventure with kendo. I like RPGs, board games, geography, history, soccer and books. Wait, come back, I love books. :)

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