CHAPTER TEN -- A SECRET REVEALED
DE LA VEGAS HACIENDA
Alejandro was sitting at one of the patio tables with Diego's wife
Moneta on a slightly cool but overcast November morning. She had been
unable to sleep, even with the aid of the ‘hot milk’ drink that
Diego had asked Bernardo to prepare for her. Her new husband had been
getting to bed well past midnight every night for the past two weeks.
They would retire around nine or nine thirty each night. But soon after
Moneta fell asleep, Diego would arise and not return to bed until two or
three hours later. Yesterday at breakfast, he had appeared not to have
gotten any rest at al. His vibrant hazel eyes were red and puffy from
fatigue. He even fell asleep in the middle of a discussion with Don
Alejandro regarding the latest shipment of a considerable amount of
Gruyere, which was Diego’s favorite cheese.
a neutral subject, Moneta decided to seek Don Alejandro’s advice.
“Father, do you think that it will rain today and thus the break the
drought?“ she asked quietly.
Alejandro smiled warmly at her. “One can only hope, but sí, I would
say that there is a good chance that the pueblo might get some rain
frowned slightly and fidgeted with her linen napkin. “Actually,
father, I ...”
looked up at her then.
is troubling you, my child?”
know that Diego keeps ah--unusual hours, but ...” Moneta hesitated
again, unwilling to appear nosy. “He never misses having breakfast
with us ...” But the wonderful sound of her esposo amado’s
voice halted all of her questions.
dias!” Diego said as he bounded down the hacienda‘s stairs to have
breakfast with his father and his new wife.
Alejandro used his handkerchief to wipe the perspiration from his
forehead while his son greeted his wife. By my patron saint’s
beard! he sighed inwardly. The tone and subject matter of our
conversation is becoming uncomfortable!
there you are Diego!“ Don Alejandro said as he winked at the new
Senora de la Vega. Moneta decided to have breakfast in the patio but I
think that it is too cold for her! And, Moneta forgets that she must eat
for two people, not just herself! Why your lovely wife eats like a
Father Alejandro. the way you coddle me, it is a wonder that I am not
getting as fat as a porco! If I continue eating ‘for
two,’ it will take the both of you plus Bernardo to help me in and out
of the carriage!”
am only thinking of the child,” Don Alejandro said in mock severity.
father?“ Diego winked at him and then bent down to kiss Moneta on her
sensuous lips. “Why, querida, you are growing more and more
beautiful daily!” He said as he pulled his chair closer to her.
“Being enceinte [pregnant] definitely agrees with
Said Moneta. “You certainly do know how to treat a lady! By the way,
Diego, you came in rather late last night, or should I say perhaps very
early this morning?“
Alejandro and Diego exchanged worried looks. Each man was thinking the
same thing. [Moneta has finally discovered that Diego and Zorro are
the same person!]
pursed his lips before answering. Perhaps the time is ripe to have a
serious discussion with my beloved wife, he thought. “I.. uh..”
crossed her arms over her chest. “ Sí, you were about to say
something, my dear husband?”
Diego spoke first. “Exactly so, querida. I have
something very personal and private to discuss with you. Please, let us
retire to our room.”
had meant her question to be humorous, but the seriousness of his voice
Diego, I only meant to be --”
know mi preciosa. But we do need to discuss this matter,
por favor?” He offered her his arm and when he focused his entire
attention on her, she was oblivious to everything and everyone around
her. Bernardo was just about to pour more hot chocolate for Don
Alejandro when they all heard a commotion at the patio gate. Diego and
Alejandro looked up to see Ricardo del’Amo shoving aside Don
Alejandro’s mozo, Felipe Lopez.
Don Alejandro yelled when he saw Lopez fall to the patio floor. Somehow
Felipe got back on his feet and foolishly tried to grab Senor del’Amo.
But he was no match for the young caballero.
Indian!” Ricardo del’Amo spat at Felipe as he backhanded the elderly
servant. This time when Alejandro’s mozo fell, he
Dias, Señores y Señora de la Vega!” Don Ricardo said sarcastically.
“Well Diego, your little trick did not work - indeed
perhaps it has backfired!” Ricardo taunted Diego as he threw a piece
of paper onto Don Diego’s lap. “I know that you are the
author of this vile outrage!”
and Don Alejandro rushed to see if Felipe was seriously injured.
snickered. “Such touching concern for an Indian!”
Diego yelled as he flew across the patio where del’Amo had started
toward Don Alejandro.
to worry Diego,” Ricardo smirked. “You are the one I am
> Diego toppled del‘Amo with a left cross and when Ricardo tried to
rise, both Don Alejandro and Diego bodily threw him off their property.
Ricardo was not yet finished with Don Diego. “‘WHAT DID YOU DO,
HIRE THAT COWARDLY BANDIT EL ZORRO TO SEND WHAT YOU WERE AFRAID
TO DELIVER YOURSELF? Del’Amo shouted as he stood outside pounding
on their patio gate.
suddenly had an idea. He whispered to his father to count to three. As
they held the gate shut, Diego finished his mental count, and quickly
swung open the door. He stepped aside as Ricardo’s momentum caused him
to stumble into a couple of chairs.
I ordered you to stay away from our home and us! Please excuse my
haste, but I have a lot of business to attend to! Buenos dias!” Diego
said angrily as he again threw the now breathless Ricardo - hard-- from
the patio onto the dusty dirt road.
hastily brushed the dirt from his clothes. “YOU HAVE NOT HEARD THE
LAST OF THIS INCIDENT, DON DIEGO! My revenge will be
public and swift!” Ricardo yelled over his shoulder as
he stalked down the road leading back to his rented hacienda.
she made certain that Felipe was all right, Moneta retrieved Ricardo’s
note and read it to herself. RICARDO DEL’AMO IS NO GENTLEMAN!
ALL OF HIS EVIL DEEDS AND TRICKERY WILL SOON BE REVEALED.” It was
unsigned. This is El Zorro’s work! Bravo, Señor Fox! she
thought. “Oh, my sweet husband, we do indeed have much to discuss! Moneta
glanced at her beloved Diego.
tears spilled unashamedly from her eyes. Moneta suddenly no longer cared
whether or not that miserable toad, Ricardo told everyone in Los Angeles
that she was a ‘loose woman.’ For Moneta, it was sufficient that her
father- in- law and her husband, Don Diego, knew the truth. When she
heard the both of them chuckling behind her, she quickly thrust the
half-crumpled and torn note in her dress pocket. Besides, now her idol, Zorro,
had intervened in her behalf. But now she must speak with Diego
regarding his all too frequent evening absences.
sat at his small dressing table in their bedroom fully prepared with
answers to any and all of Moneta’s queries regarding his nocturnal
habits. At least I hope I can offer credible answers he thought
handed Ricardo‘s note to him. “I must say, my husband, Zorro is
such a fine gentleman for writing this.”
how do you know it was he, querida mia? His eyes searched
her face for clues to her true feelings, but she turned away from him.
I do not understand, my beloved, is WHY you did not trust me enough to
tell me that you are Zorro before writing this!” She
gestured at Ricardo‘s note that she just threw onto his dressing table.
Surely you can not be serious--.”
sighed heavily. “Honestly, men!“ she exclaimed. “ Diego, I have
known ever since the night that odious Señor Basilio was shot by his
own Captain Mendoza!”
groaned aloud. He peeked at her face through half lidded eyes as he lit
up a cubano. [Ah, somehow I am relieved that Moneta
finally knows]! “I see...you must have guessed the truth when I
appeared in the sala right in front of you and surprised
His Excellency during one of his threatening tirades!“
Moneta’s eyes twinkled merrily as she reached out for him. “My sweet
husband! You know, both as a child here and later when I went away to
school in Spain. I constantly dreamed that one day I would become your
wife! And now---”. Moneta started crying and he wisely rocked her
gently while she let great sobs shake her body until Moneta felt all the
fear for herself and her baby’s future dissipate.
was perplexed. “Just why are you crying?” he anxiously
cannot believe that I am Señora de la Vega! When I kissed
you in the garden that day I thought you were shocked--”
is much too mild a term, my dearest Moneta! On the night before our
wonderful betrothal, I dreamed of the pleasant days you, Rosarita,
Joaquin and I spent together as children! I was your hero, El Cid and
you wanted, no, you DEMANDED that I stop allowing Rosarita to constantly
be the princess El Cid rescues!“ Diego smiled at the pleasant memory.
gazed into his wonderfully sexy hazel eyes. “Ah, sí! “Well, I was
and still am prettier than Rosarita!“ Moneta exclaimed teasingly.
laughter bellowed throughout the hacienda. “Are you jealous? You
should not even bother! Did you know that she considers me to be a major
disappointment and advised me to seek Zorro’s aid to
turn myself into a real caballero?”
it was Moneta’s turn to laugh. “Rosarita could not see the truth if
it raised itself before her and struck her on her pretty, but empty
head! Too dumb to see past your ‘indifferent’ facade and realize
what a fine and brave gentleman you really are!”
Diego roared with laughter. “I wish” ---I am laughing so hard that I
wish what, Señor Zorro?”
day in the patio -- I would have paid--in gold, to have seen you poke
Rosarita with your sewing needle when you and Rosarita had your little
cat fight and ... “
WAS NOT A CATFIGHT!”
laughter followed as they both fell down on their bed. “You should
have seen yourself, pulling Rosarita’s hair!”
said mischievously, “Well, she deserved it! Believing that no one
could play the princess except her! Harrumph! The very idea!“
my lovely jealous one. Now that I will show you the secret cave--”
giggled. “I am afraid I have spoiled your surprise. You see Tornado
and I are already fast friends!” She squeezed him even tighter. “And
speaking of one other very important matter, I assume that neither you
nor El Zorro have finished toying with Don Ricardo.”
de la Vega, you can count on that!” Diego replied in all sincerity.
lowered his head and he covered her mouth with his own. Then he gently
pushed her further back on their bed. Diego pulled her silk dress down
past her slender shoulders to the swell of her bosom and proceeded to
show her just how deeply he loved her...
Ricardo sat in the Posada de Los Angeles and brooded over his next idea
to have his revenge on Diego and his hired henchman, Zorro. “And I
shall have it, my former friend, Diego de la Vega!” he announced to
the few patrons left in the Posada after ten p.m. “I hate the de la
Vegas!” Ricardo shouted as he repeatedly slammed his mug on the table.
“Mas vino, por favor! MAS VINO!” he yelled as he tossed utensils and
mugs all over the posada floor.
Reyes was just entering the tavern when he overheard Don Ricardo’s
outburst. Ay yi yi! I must get the Acting Comandante!
Garcia!” Reyes shouted as he entered the Acting Comandante’s office.
“Don Ricardo is causing trouble in the tavern again!”
slapped his hands against his face. “Dios! That one is determined to
make my life miserable!”
nodded. “He certainly is doing a good job of that, Sergeant.”
on, Don Ricardo,” Garcia said as Reyes and the other two lancers
struggled to get him across the plaza and into a jail cell where the
Acting Comandante wanted him to spend a week as his guest.
Don Ricardo awakened late the next day he demanded to be released.
GARCIA! LET ME OUT IMMEDIAMENTE! DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER
IS? HE IS THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN Alta California!” Del’Amo
hollered as loudly as he possibly could.
Reyes’ mouth fell open. “No, he is not, Don Ricardo! Don Alejandro
face purpled with rage. “So, it was Diego de la Vega who
told you to arrest me! Sergeant, when my father comes to Los Angeles you
will regret ever crossing paths with me!”
late for me to worry about that,” Garcia said. Seven thirty in the
morning and already I have a throbbing headache! What a miserable excuse
for a caballero! he thought disgustedly. He nudged Corporal Reyes.
“Idioto! See what a mess you have made this time! You
would have to mention the de la Vegas to Don Ricardo!”
mouth drooped. “Sorry, Sergeant Garcia. I was just trying to help. I
have an idea!”
I know that I am going to regret asking this question, but what is
Don Ricardo is from San Francisco, is he not?”
but what does that mean regarding him and his terrible behavior here?”
us ask Judge Vasca to toss him into jail in San Francisco!“
silently mumbled a prayer to the Three Marias to grant him some sorely
needed patience. “Oh, sí, Corporal Reyes! I will just tell His Honor
that we do not feel like dealing with Don Ricardo here in Los
shall I release Don Ricardo and get some guards to escort him to the
Presidio of San Francisco?“
OF COURSE NOT! As soldiers of the King, we must do our duty as it comes
to us and not where and when we feel like enforcing the
said nothing as he motioned for the corporal to leave him alone. “To
think that eight months ago I wanted to be Comandante of
the Pueblo de Los Angeles! By all the Santos! What kind of trouble have
I gotten myself into?”