The statue in Colombia to Policarpa Salavarieta is but a symbol of South American gratitude to a host of women who fought side by side with their husbands during the trying days of the early nineteenth century. One of them, Manuela la Tucumana, was even made an officer in the Argentine army. This derivation of the river's name is by many considered fanciful.
It came nearer the grass rustled and shook close beside them; and out from the tufted tangle came three large land-crabs, scuttling along on their ungainly claws, and evidently in a hurry. Manuela uttered a shriek, but Rita laughed aloud. "Good luck!" she said. "They are good Cubans, the land-crabs. Many a good meal has Carlos made on them, poor fellow. If we followed them, Manuela?
It is finished." "And you have given me the detente, moon of my soul!" "Then you cannot complain that I never gave you anything. And now I give you one thing more, leave to depart. Adios, Don Pepe!" and she actually shut the door of the hut in the face of her astonished adorer, who departed muttering strange things concerning the changeableness of all women, and of Manuela in particular.
"Ah, well, that alters the case, Manuela," said the colonel, with most un-Medo-Persic hesitancy, and still frowning a little at his ink-bottle not at his daughter. "Of course, if it had been merely one of your whims, nothing would have induced me to let you go in such guise, but there is truth in what you say, and yes a good thought, you shall travel near Pedro. Good-night. Go to bed, love.
A few minutes later Manuela entered the room, and, with a modest yet gracious smile, took a seat opposite her pupil-teacher. "Dignity," thought the latter "native dignity and grace! Being the daughter of a great chief of the Incas a princess, I suppose she cannot help it.
You are a heroine; you have had the opportunity, and you knew how to take it. Daughter of Cuba, your sister blesses you." Before Manuela could reply, Donna Prudencia broke in. "There! there!" she said. "Come down off your high horse, Miss Margaritty, there's a dear; and help me to see to things.
A friendly dispute ensued; and it was finally decided that Rita and Manuela were to make themselves as comfortable as might be in Carlos's own tent, while he shared that of his commander. The General yielded only under protest to this arrangement; yet he did yield, seeing that resistance would distress both brother and sister.
As for Manuela, with that quiet indifference to mere prospective danger that usually characterises her race, she laid her head on her tiger-skin pillow, and slept the sleep of innocence having absolute faith, no doubt, in the vigilance and care of her protectors. It might have been observed, however, that before lying down the Indian maiden knelt beside her hammock and hid her face in her hands.
"So I is, Quash, bery t'ankful, but what's to be dooed? Is massa to go away widout sayin' good-bye to Miss Manuela?"
Manuela was tall and slender and graceful, and once you knew her the lithe form could never be mistaken. She walked with the easy spring that comes from a perfectly arched foot. To-day she swept swiftly down Marais Street, casting a quick glance here and there from under her heavy veil as if she feared she was being followed.