CHAPTER 4

Sergeant Gonzales: Nobody but a highwayman, nobody but a cutthroat and thief would have done it! (1.__________________)

Man in the Throng near the Doorway: How is that, brave one? (2.___________________)

Sergeant Gonzales: This pretty Senor Zorro knew, of course! Some days ago I broke the thumb of my sword hand while fencing at San Juan Capistrano. No doubt the word was passed to their Senor Zorro. And he visits me at such a time that he may afterward say he had vanquished me. (3.___________________)

Sergeant Gonzales: Those who were here can tell you, senores. This Senor Zorro came in at the door and immediately drew a pistol--devil’s weapon--from beneath his cloak. He presents it at us, and forces all except me to retire to that corner. I refused to retire.

“Then you shall fight me,” says this pretty highwayman, and I draw my blade thinking to make an end of the pest. And what does he tell me then?

“We shall fight,” he says. “And I will outpoint you, so that I may boast of it afterward. In my left hand I hold the pistol. If your attack is not to my liking, I shall fire, and afterward run you through, and so make an end of a certain sergeant.” (4._________________)

Corporal: (5.___________________)

Fat Landlord: (almost ready to speak)

Sergeant Gonzales: (glares at Fat Landlord)

Sergeant Gonzales: Could anything be more devilish? I was to fight, and yet I would get a devil’s chunk of lead in my carcass if I pressed the attack. Was there ever such a farce? It shows the stuff of which this pretty highwayman is made. Someday I shall meet him when he holds no pistol--and then--

Someone in the Crowd: But how did he get away?

Sergeant Gonzales: He heard those at the door. He threatened me with the devil’s pistol and forced me to toss my blade in yonder far corner. He threatened us all, ran to the window, and sprang through. And how could we find him in the darkness or track him through the sheets of rain? But I am determined now! In the morning I go to my Captain Ramon and ask permission to be absolved from all other duty, that I may take some comrades and run down this pretty Senor Zorro. Ha! We shall go fox hunting.

Crowd: (6.________________)

Don Diego Vega: (hurries into the room) What is this I hear? They are saying that Senor Zorro has paid a visit here.

Sergeant Gonzales: Tis true word, caballero! And we were speaking of the cutthroat here this evening. Had you remained instead of going home to work with your secretary, you should have seen the entire affair.

Don Diego Vega: Were you not here? Can you not tell me? But I pray you make not the tale too bloody. I cannot see why men must be violent. Where is the highwayman's dead body? (7._________)

Sergeant Gonzales: (8._____________)

Fat Landlord: (turns away to hide his smile)

The Corporal and Soldiers: (begin picking up wine mugs to keep busy)

Sergeant Gonzales: He--that is, there is no body. (9._____________)

Don Diego Vega: Have done with your modesty, sergeant! Am I not your friend? Did you not promise to tell me the story if you met this cutthroat? I know you would spare my feelings, knowing that I do not love violence, yet I am eager for the facts because you, my friend, have been engaged with this fellow. How much was the reward? (10._____________)

Sergeant Gonzales:  By the saints! (11._____________)

Don Diego Vega: Come, sergeant! Out with the tale! Landlord, give all of us wine, that we may celebrate this affair! Your tale, sergeant! Shall you leave the army, now that you have earned the reward, and purchase a hacienda and take a wife?

Sergeant Gonzales: (chokes) (reaches gropingly for a wine mug)

Don Diego Vega: You promised me. That you would tell me the whole thing, word by word. Did he not say as much, landlord? You declared that you would relate how you played with him; how you laughed at him while you fought; how you pressed him back after a time and then ran him through-- (12._____________)

Sergeant Gonzales: By the saints! It is beyond the endurance of any man! You--Don Diego--my friend-- (13._____________)

Don Diego Vega: Your modesty ill becomes you at such a time. You promised the tale, and I would have it. What does this Senor Zorro look like? Have you peered at the dead face beneath the mask? It is, perhaps, some man that we all know? Cannot some one of you tell me the facts? You stand here like so many speechless images of men--

Sergeant Gonzales:  Wine--or I choke! Don Diego, you are my good friend, and I will cross swords with any man who belittles you! But do not try me too far this night-- (14._____________)

Don Diego Vega: I fail to understand. I have but asked you to tell me the story of the fight--how you mocked him as you battled; how you pressed him back at will, and presently ended it by running him through-- (15._____________)

Sergeant Gonzales: Enough! Am I to be taunted? (16._____________)

Don Diego Vega: Is it possible that you did not win the battle? But surely this pretty highwayman could not stand up before you, my sergeant. How was the outcome? (17. _____________)

Sergeant Gonzales: He had a pistol-- (18._____________)

Don Diego Vega: Why did you not take it away from him, then, and crowd it down his throat? But perhaps that is what you did. Here is more wine, my sergeant. Drink! (19._____________)

Sergeant Gonzales: (thrusts his way to the door through the crowd)

Sergeant Gonzales: I must not forget my duty! I must hurry to the presidio and report this occurrence to the comandante! (20._____________)

Don Diego Vega: But sergeant--

Sergeant Gonzales: And as to this Senor Zorro, he will be meat for my blade before I am done!

Don Diego Vega: (smiles and turns away)

END OF SCENE