Hill always was a friendly sort of a fellow, and except he used terrible bad language, which he said come of his having to drive mules he was a real first-class ladies' man. Hill said he spotted Hart's aunt the minute he set his eyes on her waiting for the coach at the Fonda, there not being likely to be more'n one in the Territory of that kind.
Russell used to pay me a regular visit to the Fonda de la Playa. One morning as we were chatting, Leader strode into the coffee-room, a vision of splendour. He had got on his uniform as Commandant of the Foreign Legion a uniform which did much credit to his fancy, for he had designed it himself. He wore a white boina with gold tassel, a blue tunic with black braid, red trousers, and brown gaiters.
But I did not know Spaniards, their country, the Pyrenees, nor what blizzards can blow in sunny Spain. Myself and my servant Nunn trudged on alongside the cart with the women. It took an hour to get out of sight of the fonda, and then we struck a fine, wide military road that wound in and around the mountains, but always up and deep in snow.
By nine o'clock the camp was struck, and we had burnt our ships: the last of the five mules, three men, and baggage tailed off out of sight along the road to Tangier. Under a cloudy sky, prophesying rain, we walked into the city to look for quarters: better, perhaps, a fonda in Tetuan than a tent at the fondâk in wet weather.
There was a fonda, or inn, close by, and leaving my wife there, I finally managed by a liberal use of money to secure an ox-cart, and by virtue of great generalship on the part of myself and servant, got all our baggage out of the wrecked train and safely up to the inn.
Situated on the outskirts of the town which had long outgrown it, it still bore traces of its former importance as a hacienda, or smaller farm, of one of the old Spanish landholders. The patio, or central courtyard, still existed as a stable-yard for carts, and even one or two horses were tethered to the railings of the inner corridor, which now served as an open veranda to the fonda or inn.
The men of the Mohawk district regiment, who came more directly under my eye, were mustered at Caughnawaga, and some of the companies that were best filled despatched forward under Captain Adam Fonda, who was all impatience to get first to Fort Dayton, the general rendezvous.
The Major never opened his mouth, nor Thalcave, whose amour propre, as an Indian, seemed quite wounded by having allowed himself to go on a wrong scent. No one, however, would have thought of reproaching him for an error so pardonable. They went back to the FONDA, and had supper; but it was a gloomy party that surrounded the table.
At the Fonda de Mallorca I took, in Spanish fashion, a three-roomed suite, and for one entire day did not move out of their whitewashed fastnesses. I sat thinking, thinking, and thinking, and felt my brain grow duller with every effort. "This will not do," I told myself.
Cross debarked, and Major Fonda would have us eat and drink while he told us the news, and Tulp's crazy rowing later, through excitement at nearing home, it was twilight before the boat was run up into our little cove, and I set my foot on land. The Cedars stood before us as yet lightless against the northern sky. The gate was open.