A monologue from the play by Luis Bayon Herrera

NOTE: This translation by Jacob S. Fassett, Jr. is reprinted from Three Plays of the Argentine. Ed. Edward Hale Bierstadt. New York: Duffield & Co., 1920. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

GUMERSINDO: There have been few Indian fights as fierce as that one. It is the saddest memory I have in my life. So don't be surprised, my friends, if I cry a little when I talk about it. To make matters worse, the moon made everything as bright as day. If it hadn't been a beautiful clear night I never could have seen that Indian carry off the prettiest flower in the country. On the other nights as beautiful as that you might have heard our songs and the sweet, sad strumming of our poor guitars in the calm silence of the pampas. Since that night, however, our guitars have not sounded the same and our verses are not like those we used to make. All the good in us was carried off on the spears of the savages. That night, when we were all eating supper after a hard day's work, the dogs all suddenly began to growl at once. I was the first to notice it. It was like an evil omen warning us that something was disturbing the quiet slumber of the pampas. I rushed to the door of our quarters. The country was bathed in silver; and up there beneath the stars was the large white moon. In the distance I could see why the dogs were growling. It was the Indians! Full tilt they came--like a sudden cloud on a stormy night driven by a hundred winds--on horses as fast as the wind, if not faster. I could hardly see them, they were so far away, and there was so much dust from the horses' hoofs, but I could already hear their shrieks. It was horrible, friends, to see them coming, faster than it takes to tell. They came like shots out of a gun! Next I could see their spears sticking out above the dust cloud. I began to hear even the tinkling of the little bells fastened to the horses' foreheads. They charged in a half-moon as usual, led by an Indian as big as a bull. I judged by his looks that he was the chief, or the devil--for his face, which I could see as he came nearer, was horrible to look on. I barely had time to raise the alarm. Everything happened like lightning. When they heard me shout, the ranchmen jumped on their horses and went out like a lot of brave fellows to open a breach in that wall of lances--and there must have been five hundred of them! I confess my legs trembled as I jumped on my horse. I didn't see much of what went on. I fought with my knife, and came near losing my life many times. At last I opened up a breach! Just then I heard a scream that was like a stab in the heart, for I knew whose it was. Our little patroncita was being dragged off by her precious hair between two ferocious indians! Friends! If all the lances the savages carried that night had been stuck into my body at one time I wouldn't have suffered as much as I did when I saw that little girl dragged off like a rag and half covered with blood. I could do no more after that. I was blinded by grief. Though the danger was great, I hardly knew what was going on. Suddenly a big Indian, the same who was leading the others when they made the attack, ordered them to drop the poor child. Then he stood for a moment looking at her. He must have been thinking how pretty she was, for, just as she was--half dead from pain and fright--he threw her across his horse's back and rode off like a streak of lightning. He knew he was carrying off a prize! Bah! She was the soul of the ranch, the flower of this house that is so sad now that she has gone! She is worse than dead now. She is in the desert, on the pampas. Our poor patroncita! She was so pretty, so happy here ... and that is why her mother is raving mad, and why Don Paulo is so gloomy. And that is why our poor guitars, now that she is not here to listen to them, do not sound as they used to. Everything went with her. Without her, everything seems empty.