Problemos for Selena ...
November 11, 1821
Commandante Glorioso took even greater pains with his
military uniform regarding his personal grooming today, because this was
the most important day of his career. His decision to arrest
Selena de la Vega was his opportunity to determine the fate of his most
lethal enemy, El Zorro. His valet, Lancer Gomez, helped him pull thigh
high cavalry boots, which Gomez had polished so much the Visconde could
almost see his reflection in them. Glorioso paused to admire his
appearance in the full-length mirror in his private quarters. The blue
wool jacket with the gold sash, made weighty with the scores of medals
commemorating both his military experience and social status as the
Fifth Visconde of Estrada, was perfectly tailored to flatter his broad
chest. As Gomez fitted the red dyed ostrich plumed bicorn on his head,
he dreamed of what he would do with the combined confiscated wealth of
both the de la Vegas’ and the de Rojas’ estates.
To spare his beloved wife the humiliation and scandal of
a public trial for treason, Glorioso was certain Diego and Alejandro de
la Vega would pay a considerable bribe to prevent such a spectacle from
ever taking place. And if the de la Vega men refused what the Visconde
considered to be a most generous offer, he would proceed with the full
prosecution of Selena de la Vega as a traitor to the Spanish Crown. Then
he would play his trump card and inform Diego he would prevent his
wife’s exile from Alta California and possible execution only if
Selena de la Vega would betray El Zorro to him. And if she refused, well,
there would be one less arrogant female left to cross him in the pueblo.
If that scenario came to pass, then Glorioso would still be able to
seize Selena de Rojas’s dowry of 70,000 acres, more than 1,000
head of livestock and the splendid de Rojas hacienda. I have
everything to gain and nothing to lose. And, my dear Selena, I will make
whatever time you spend in my custody memorable for you in more ways
When he finished dressing, he told Gomez to fetch
Sergeant Garcia pronto. He had decided last night not to inform Garcia
of the nature of this morning’s expedition outside the pueblo. I
can not wait to see the surprised expressions on the de la Vegas’
faces, especially Don Diego’s! Being the law-abiding citizen that he
is, he would not jeopardize his social status and family honor by trying
to obstruct justice. He snickered to himself. And to finally
possess Selena de la Vega! The sublime visions Glorioso had been
imagining of her in his bed was the only thing that had made his sojourn
in Los Angeles bearable. As for Diego de la Vega, your “noble
sacrifice” of taking Jose
Tiñtero’s punishment in the plaza was anything but
that...it only accentuated your other weakness ... your misguided
concern for the lower classes of this pueblo. His wonderful daydream was rudely
sidetracked by a knock on his office door, Ah, sí; that must be
“Entrar, sergeant!”the capitán called out.
“Buenos dias ...” Garcia hesitated when he noticed
Glorioso dressed in his special uniform. “Capitán ...I mean Your
Excellency!” The sergeant then rigidly snapped to attention and nearly
popped his own uniform’s buttons as he “sucked in” his enormous
“Gracias, sergeant. I am pleased you noticed my
elegant attire, for today is indeed a special day. Today we are going to
arrest a person who has aided and abetted the Fox for quite some time.
And, in the process of incarcerating this person, we will be much closer
to unmasking Zorro himself!”
Oh, no! The sergeant thought as he tried to
appear enthusiastic. “Very good, Your Excellency! Who is the person we
are going to arrest?”
The Visconde de Estrada chuckled, although to Garcia it
appeared as if he were frowning. “The identity of the traitor shall be
revealed to everyone shortly. For now, call out the entire garrison and
bring along the cart normally used to transport prisoners immediamente!”
“At once, Your Excellency!” Garcia saluted and was
about to leave when the Visconde’s sharp voice stopped him.
“Just one more thing, Garcia. The person being
arrested today will probably offer us stiff resistance, so your lancers
must be prepared to execute that person or persons presenting
resistance. Am I making myself perfectly clear?” Glorioso slapped his
bullwhip against his thigh to emphasize his remarks while scrutinizing
the sergeant’s face for any sign of weakness or revulsion at obeying
such an order.
“O-of course, Your Excellency!” Garcia nervously
responded, while praying to the Virgin that such a thing would be
“Fine, dismissed. Be prepared to leave the Cuartel in
In less than half that time, Glorioso saw that the
lancers were ready. After mounting his horse, he turned to give the
sergeant their destination.
“We ride for the de la Vega hacienda! Andelante!”
Garcia and Reyes exchanged puzzled looks. The de la Vega hacienda, but why? But neither lancer wanted to ask the Visconde and spoil his obviously good mood.
“Selena, querida, you seem a little pale this
morning.” Diego noted worriedly. “Surely Dr. Avila did not find
anything wrong with you yesterday afternoon. or did he?” Her husband
persisted when he noted she avoided his eyes. “Selena,” Diego
crossed his arms over his chest as he towered over her
“Oh, nothing much, just ...” Selena intentionally
did not finish her thought.
He bent down and pulled her up to him. “Beloved, what
is wrong, please tell me!” His hazel eyes searched her pale gray ones
for whatever information she was hiding from him.
“Well,” Selena began, as she paused to look up at
Diego, “we have been married for only three weeks, correct, my
“Si, but what does that have to do...with
anything...” Diego’s eyes widened considerably. “You can not be....”
“Perhaps I should inform Dr. Avila’s his medical
opinions are faulty and that he ...” his wife nonchalantly replied as
she began to giggle.
“QUERIDA!” You are pregnant, no?” Diego crowed.
“I am pregnant, YES!” Selena playfully retorted.
“Selena, my darling Selena, is with child!’ He
playfully twirled her around their bedroom. “Come we must tell father
we--.” Diego saw her head roll slightly to one side and scooped her up
in his arms.
“Just a little dizzy... and hungry.” She managed to
say. “Diego, tell Amontildar to prepare some of her ‘women’s
special tea,’ she will know what I want. Please ... and some plain
“Of course. And while I am gone, you are to remain in
bed, young lady!” Diego said as he sat down on their bed and kissed
her firmly on the mouth. “Promise?” He tenderly caressed her
forehead and then placed one of his hands over her stomach. “The both
of you remain right here!’” he added.
Selena’s eyebrows skyrocketed. “Promise. I am
ravenous and I do not think I can move until I have some food and drink
some of that tea.”
But when Diego opened their door to leave, he saw
Bernardo and Amontildar walking towards him. Both servants were carrying
trays of food.
“Mam’selle, the Señora wishes a cup of --”
“Oui, ze especial thé [tea], Amontildar know what she
needs. Her mistress is with child. Me, I notice de signs straight away.
You lucky man, Monsieur Diego. Lucky man.”
After Bernardo and Amontildar left them alone to eat
breakfast, Diego shook his head in amazement. Selena’s intellect and
the dynamic force of her personality continued to intrigue him. One
moment she was a charming conversationalist exchanging interesting
theories regarding philosophy with him, and then she would make an
apropos witty remark about their discussion and cause him to dissolve
into uncontrollable laughter. Diego looked heavenward for thanks. Oh,
si, Selena could keep me puzzling over her and women in general for the
rest of my life. I am so delighted she is my wife.
"But how did Amontildar possibly know you were
pregnant? Surely you did not inform her before you told me!" Diego
said to his wife when they were alone again.
Selena saw the amused look on his face and could not
help but giggle. "Of course not, beloved, but you must realize that
Amontildar is a Creole voodoo priestess from New Orleans. Her family has
had secret knowledge of potions and spells for hundreds of years. Oh and
by the way, she is convinced that I am going to have a son. Now are you
happy?" Señora de la Vega replied quietly.
Diego threw up his arms and sighed in defeat.
"Never mind. Of course I am happy Selena! Does this prove how happy
I really am?" He covered her tender mouth with his own until she
was gasping for air.
"Señor de la Vega, please allow me to drink my
tea, and I must put something in my stomach or I will never be able to
leave the bedroom today. I have good old-fashioned morning sickness, and
I must say I am not enjoying this stage of pregnancy one little bit at
the moment!" She looked up at Diego and winked. "My husband,
please let me eat now and I promise you that I shall be a different
person once the tea has had some time to work its magic."
"Well, Señora de la Vega, let us have breakfast
together and then we shall discuss what you can or cannot do for the
rest of day." Diego poured her a cup of her servant’s special tea
and then proceeded to feed her some tortillas with his own hands. "Delicioso?"
He asked as he watched the tea take effect in settling her stomach and
some of her natural color gradually return to her cheeks.
"Much better, mi caballero."
“Drink another cup mi corazon, and then it is back to
bed for you and the little one,” Diego insisted.
Soon Selena dozed and Diego was determined to remain at her side to insure that his pregnant wife obtained she needed and deserved.
Don Alejandro de la Vega was sitting at a patio table
composing a letter to his solicitor, Señora Montero, regarding his
calculation of the profits due to the de la Vega estate from the latest
sale of cow hides. So intent was his concentration in writing the letter
that he failed to hear the loud knocks at the patio gate until Bernardo
tapped him on the shoulder. He instructed Diego's mozo to see who
their early morning visitors were.
Bernardo opened the patio gate slowly and when he saw
the identity of the visitors he became very frightened. Before he could
turn around and warn Don Alejandro, Glorioso marched in with a quartet
of armed lancers, rudely shoving Bernardo aside.
Hearing the clatter of military boots, Don Alejandro
leaped up from his chair as the Visconde strutted around the patio, his
stern gaze continuously sweeping the area.
“Buenos dias, Don Alejandro,” said Glorioso coldly
as he finally settled his attention on the elder de la Vega
Alejandro tried to stem his rising temper. “To what
dubious honor do we owe this visit so early in the day Commandante? I
must insist upon an answer.”
“You, Señor de la Vega, will address me as ‘Your
Excellency.’ I am here to see Señora Selena de la Vega. Please inform
her that my business with her is important and I that I am a very
Upstairs, Diego and Selena had just finished eating
breakfast when Diego heard strange noises and then his father’s voice
raised in anger. “I had better investigate querida. Wait
Diego stepped out onto the balcony and gasped inwardly. The
Visconde! Dios, mi, but I must be hospitable to him.
“Buenos dias, Visconde de Estrada. How may I help
you?” Diego announced.
“You may help me, Señor de la Vega,” he replied
sarcastically, “by sending Selena de la Vega downstairs. My business
is with her, not you!”
“Your Excellency,” Diego said, setting his jaw
firmly to control his temper, you may discuss whatever ‘business’
you have regarding my wife with me!” The caballero then bounded
downstairs to confront the madman. I pray Selena’s rest is deep
enough so that she will not hear this conversation....
Visconde de Estrada slapped his bullwhip on a patio
table. “No amount of argument will prevent me from seeing ...”
“Forgive our manners, Your Excellency,” Selena said
loudly as she descended the staircase to chill the heated conversation,
“please, would you like some hot chocolate?“
Diego went instantly to help her negotiate the descent.
Oh, Selena, dearest, you should have remained in our bedroom. Well,
what’s done is done. But he noted with alarm that there was only
the merest tint of color in her cheeks and her gray eyes were
Glorioso was a momentarily stunned by her graciousness,
then he grimaced. So much the better my dear! Your despair will be
that more poignant when I lock you up away from your precious husband! he
“Thank you, no. I am afraid that I have come here on
official business, Señora. You see I am compelled by certain events to
place you under arrest for aiding and abetting the known outlaw, El
Zorro. Lancers, arrest her in the name of His Majesty King Ferdinand
VII! Surround her to prevent her from escaping!”
Diego stepped between her and de Estrada’s lancers.
“Please, Your Excellency, the Señora is ill! Leave at once, Your
Excellency, and I shall forget this display of odious behavior!”
Selena pushed Diego aside to face de Estrada. “Si, I
must confess I am not myself today, Your Excellency. Could we not
discuss this matter rationally here in the patio or perhaps in the sala
as civilized beings?“
The Visconde snapped his fingers and his lancers aimed
their rifles solely at Diego. “If anyone resists her arrest, then I
will shoot that person! Now, Senora,” he said as he reached for
her wrists, “you will come with me!”
From his position in the sala, Teodores could not
believe his eyes as he watched the hated Glorioso try to take his
mistress from her husband. He
clenched his fists. The selvaje [savage] has returned
and again he wants to hurt my mistress! Stifling tribal curses, he
boldly stepped into the patio, slowly advancing towards Glorioso.
Corporal Peldar saw the giant Indian first and yelled
“’Alto!’” But Teodores cared nothing about his personal safety.
All he wanted to do was to get his massive hands around the Visconde’s
neck! Peldar fired and the Indian fell to the stone floor.
Selena screamed and tried to run to the injured man. “Teodores!”
Teodores, no!” but Diego held her tightly against his chest while she
sobbed. “Murderer!” she yelled. “Murderer!”
END OF CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR