“WHACK!” WHACK!” The Creole
servant struck the Spaniard with her makeshift weapon. She thrust the
blunt end of the broom into his stomach and then continued hitting him
in the head with the other end.
“DIOS!” the capitán yelped as
he pushed Selena away to protect himself from this madwoman. Although he
had no time to think about the damage Selena had done to his lip, the
tart metallic taste of his own blood in his mouth infuriated him beyond
Amontildar added several more blows
with her kitchen broom. “Bête! You leave my mistress be! “VA
T’EN! A LA GARE! Go away! Hit the road!]
Commandante Glorioso ducked
Amontildar’s quasi-lethal weapon as quickly as he could, and he
received no more blows as his military hand-to-hand combat training
enabled him to evade her best efforts. Selena continued yelling for her
manservant, Teodores, as the capitán easily disarmed Amontildar and
backhanded her across another patio table. However, Selena knew she
could not elude this lunatic forever. Glorioso shifted his balance
slightly, hoping Selena would go on the offensive and try to kick him in
the shins. To his relief, the señorita reacted exactly as he hoped. As
she lashed out with her foot, Glorioso sidestepped her blow and struck
Selena on the right side of her face. She lost her balance as she
fainted. Unfortunately for Selena, he caught the señorita before she
“Enough of your foolishness,
Selena! I will not be trifled with!” he said, smoldering from both
fury and desire. Glorioso pulled another clean pañuelo from his
pocket and wiped the blood from his mouth. He looked at the unconscious
señorita lying limply in his arms before he kissed her again and said
“You will pay dearly for this insult, señorita, dearly!”
“Señor, please release my
mistress!” said a deep masculine voice behind him.
The capitán did not even bother to
turn around. “Whoever you are do not try to interfere!”
In one swift motion, Teodores
plucked the capitán from Selena and held him up several feet from the
ground. “SELVAJE!“ The huge Chumash Indian bellowed. Then he threw
the commandante to the ground. Teodores looked down at his
semi-conscious mistress and saw a bruise forming on her right cheek. He
gingerly lifted her up and carried her into the sala where a few
of the young girl servants had just came downstairs from packing
Selena‘s personal items.
Teodores spoke to them in their
native tongue. “Watch the mistress. I go to take care of that camaróncito,
[little shrimp] the capitán!“
The huge Indian loomed over
Glorioso, who still remained on the ground in a half-sitting position.
“You hurt the señorita!” he roared at the commandante. “You hurt
my mistress bad!“
Stunned, Glorioso simply stared at
the giant and desperately tried to scramble to his feet. Again Teodores
picked up the capitán, who began to yell for help. The giant shook him
until the commandante stopped shouting. Teodores placed him under one
arm, carried him to his horse and threw the Spanish officer over his
saddle. He yanked Glorioso upright, shoved his hat on the
Commandante’s head, thrust the officer’s
The Creole woman had recovered
enough to walk with Teodores’ assistance into the sala. Sacre bleu!
Amontildar collected her wits and ordered Teodores to carry Selena
upstairs to her bedroom. Once there, another maid brought a large bowl
of cool water and clean cloths for Amontildar. Selena’s criada
gave Manuela the key to her farmacia cabinet and told the maid to
bring a bottle of ivy healing cream and a bottle of sleeping elixir to
“Ma chere, ma pauvre petite!”
[My dear poor little one!]she crooned into Selena’s ear while she
bathed her mistress’s fevered brow. Teodores hovered outside
Selena’s bedroom until Amontildar reassured him that the señorita
“Teodores, please fetch Don Diego
and his father at once! Dey must be told at once, mon ami!“ When the
Indian hesitated, she reminded him once the de la Vegas arrived, there
would be more than enough men to protect his mistress.
“You go now, vite, vite,
mon ami. Mistress be fine with Amontildar’s help.”
The Indian nodded. “I go now, for
help for the good señorita.”
Don Diego awoke the next morning at
eleven o’clock after riding through the entire night and past dawn as
Zorro. Satisfied that he had distributed as much money as possible to
needy peons so that they could pay their taxes by the end of October, he
simply fell into bed after he returned home. The young caballero was
so exhausted he had slept through Bernardo’s efforts to rouse him an
hour before. Diego was more than grateful that his mozo permitted
him to get some much needed rest. I guess four hours sleep will
suffice. he thought as he yawned. He heard Bernardo’s coded knock
on his bedroom door and said “Entrar.”
Bernardo smiled at Diego as he
entered his room. Good morning, my master. You need a shave, his mozo
signed. Are you ready now?
Diego scratched his face. “Oh, si.
I have to help Selena finish packing the remainder of her things today
and I would not want to frighten my fiancee with my unkempt
His mozo grinned at
Diego’s humor and began lathering Diego’s face while the young caballero
discussed his previous evening’s activities.
“Bernardo, Selena is amazing.
Yesterday I learned from some péons that she had also decided to
donate her money to her tenants whom she knew would be at the
commandante’s mercy because they were made penniless by last month’s
new round of taxes!”
See I told
you that she had a good heart, Don Diego. As far I am concerned the señorita
can walk on water! Bernardo mimed.
“Diego!” his father’s voice
called out as he knocked on the door. “Are you awake yet?”
“Come in, father.”
“Diego!“ Don Alejandro’s face
was full of confusion. “Señorita de Rojas’s Indian manservant is
downstairs asking to speak with you. He insists that he has urgent news
and will only speak with you. He is quite agitated and I was unable to
calm him down!” Alejandro exclaimed. “You had better come down right
“Say no more, father.” Diego
hastily threw on a clean shirt and his rust colored calzoneros. Bernardo
carried his chaqueta with him as Diego sprinted downstairs.
“Teodores, what is wrong ...”
Diego stared at Teodores’ ashen face.
“Don Diego ... Commandante
Glorioso, he come to mistress’s hacienda this morning. He
...” Teodores’ face was covered with tears. “He mistreat her, Señor.
I threw him out! I want to kill him!” The Indian said fiercely.
“Dios, mi!” was all
Diego could manage to say. When he looked at his father, Don
Alejandro’s visage had turned purple with outrage.
“BY ALL THE SAINTS! We will leave
immediately, Teodores. I am coming with you. Diego, what are you going
to do my son?” Alejandro heatedly declared.
Diego finished buttoning up his
shirt as Bernardo handed him his chaqueta and sombrero.
“About Glorioso?” his son
replied, somehow managing to remain calm.
“Of course I am referring to the
commandante!“ Don Alejandro instantly regretted his choice of words,
for Diego’s eyes became misty.
Diego bowed his head and furiously
balled his fists. When he looked up again, his father was taken aback by
the vengeful look in his son’s eyes. “First things first. I must
take care of Selena. Capitán Glorioso will regret ever having crossed
El --” He stopped himself just in time. Dios! I almost said El
Zorro! Compose yourself, man!
Don Alejandro grinned to himself.
“Bueno, Diego.” He had no doubt that El Zorro would properly deal
with Glorioso, but he was curious to know what action Diego would
take. Hmm, if I were the commandante, I would depart at once for
Amontildar bathed Selena’s
bruised cheek and neck with cool water and mixed one of her ivy scented
herb potions that would heal the señorita’s skin fairly quickly. She
checked her mistress’ pulse regularly and was relieved to see Selena
was resting comfortably.
Manuela Perez, one of Selena’s
household staff, saw the de la Vegas’ arrival and ran upstairs to
Manuela said to her, “Teodores has returned with Don Diego and Don
“Bien, chere. Now you run back to
de kitchen child and tell cook dat she should give you a sweet! Go now,
vite, vite!” Amontildar said as she patted the
Don Diego knocked on Selena’s
bedroom door and was grateful to see Amontildar tending to his fiancée
when the Creole lady told him to enter.
“Monsieur Diego! I am tres
heureuse to see you! “ the Creole lady exclaimed as she clasped
her hands together in relief.
“Calm yourself, Amontildar. I am
here and will make certain Selena remains safe. And I am most relieved
the both of you were not seriously injured. Mam’selle, I beg you to
tell me everything,” he said in a low but strangled tone. Diego
watched Selena’s chest rise and fall as she rested peacefully while
listening to Amontildar.
The Creole servant dropped her
voice to a whisper. “Glorioso told my mistress she not to marry you,
Monsieur. The señorita she told him to leave, yes! But him, dat bête,
he grab and force her to kiss him! I found zee broom and me, I hit
demonstrated her assault broom technique for him and Diego bit his lip
to prevent him from bursting into laughter. “Me, I hit him in de tête,
on de shoulder and on dat ugly Spanish head of his!” She hesitated and
then curtsied to him. “Pardonnez-moi, Monsieur, me, I meant no
“None taken, mam’selle.” he
assured her. “Please do continue.”
“Your fiancée, she den starts to
yell for Teodores and he come, he done trow out dat couchon, yes! Zee
whole story, Monsieur! Amontildar, she no menteur! [liar] And me,
I give my mistress somezing to make zee sleep come!”
Diego led her from the bedroom.
“Amontildar, you did your best and I believe you. Dieu vous bénisse,
mam’selle. [God bless you]. Por favor, I want to stay with Selena a
little while.” He smiled warmly at the octaroon lady and told her to
get some rest as he bowed slightly.
“Monsieur if that bête
had had his way with her, me, I promise you dat Teodores and I would
have his head!” Amontildar added before she went downstairs to the
Diego reentered Selena’s bedroom,
closed the door and went to sit beside her bed. “Merde!” he
winced. One bruise was forming on her neck but otherwise she appeared to
comfortably. He gently caressed her
face and kissed her sweet lips. Diego then silently expressed his thanks
to the Blessed Mother. “I shall be right outside, beloved, if you need
me, just say my name.” he whispered into her ear before he left.
Amontildar was waiting for Diego as
he came into the sala.
“Everything is well with you,
mam‘selle?” he inquired politely.
“Monsieur, I must tell you
‘bout how brave Selena was. I zee her throw zee hot chocolate all over
zee commandante. Dat one,” Mam’selle Perilleaux continued, “she a
lady but she be tough. You should see le capitaine’s face! Her, she
scratched him all over!”
Diego’s eyes widened. So like
her, to confront evil directly regardless of the personal cost. Thank
the Virgin she was not seriously injured. “Stay with her
mam’selle. I have to discuss some plans with my father.”
“Très bien, Monsieur. Oh,
me, I told the cook dat we have guests for luncheon,” Amontildar
“Mam’selle you are a treasure,
gracias.” Diego bowed again. “If she calls for me, well, you know
where I shall be.”
“But of course, Monsieur.”
Amontildar sighed blissfully as she watched him stide from the sala with
those long well muscled legs of his. “Wish I could find me a good
Creole man from New Orleans like Don Diego!”
In the de Rojas’s sala, Don
Alejandro poured some Jerez as tried to comfort his son. His
father sighed. “Diego, I am sorry I did not see the commandante’s
truly base desire for Selena well before today!”
Diego shook his head in
disagreement. “Do not blame yourself, father.”
“We obviously can not permit
Selena to remain here any longer. Also, what are you going to do about
Commandante Glorioso?” Don Alejandro asked, wondering if his son would
now take this opportunity to reveal the truth to his father about his
secret identity as Zorro.
“Something that he would never
expect Diego de la Vega to do,” his son muttered dourly. Diego brooded
for several minutes longer and then shook himself from his unpleasant
reverie. “Father, I agree that Selena should move into our home at
once. Would you have any objection if I sent word to Father Felipe to
marry us as soon as possible?”
Alejandro nodded. “No objections
whatsoever. Allow me to contact Father Felipe so that you can
concentrate on helping Selena to recover from this ... this ..” his
father sputtered angrily. “If only I were twenty years younger... “
Diego looked grimly at his father.
“I shall handle the capitán in my own way and in a very special
manner.” he vowed. “I swear this before Our Holy Savior, Glorioso
will live to regret he ever came to Los Angeles!” And, he
thought darkly as his anger burned white hot in his veins, it will
very difficult to restrain myself either as Zorro or Diego!
END OF CHAPTER 22