Entewa – 3 (At last!)

As they approached Barkley, his eyes were fixed upon the lovely form of an Indian girl, clad in the russet garb of her native home, half-concealed by the graceful folds of a Mexican Sirappo,* that had been carelessly thrown about her shoulders. The lashes of her wild dark eyes, and orange cheek, were moist with tears, and as he gazed upon that face, now clouded by a tint of grief, his eye met hers, and spoke to her of hope, which she as if with supernatural aid, too plainly read.

Oh! how his heart throbbed within him, and his soul fluttered with the happiest emotions when a consciousness of the power to relieve that lovely and innocent creature, flashed before him, as she rushed and thrust herself upon her knees at his feet — ‘save me, save me,” she cried in broken Spanish.

Ah, love at first sight! Fair young Indian maiden meets handsome young woodsman.  I have an idea that the author, J.R. Poynter, had read his fair share of James Fenimore Cooper.

Here at last we meet Entewa, who has been captured, along with her companions, by Lieutenant Blakely and and a troop of armed men, “bent on revenge.”

She gave him briefly to understand that she was a stranger here — a traveller on her return from one of the Missions where she was educated and taught the [Spanish] tongue, which she now spoke, and that those who accompanied her were the attendants of her father, a venerable Sachem, on the far waters of the north.

What else would you expect? Entewa is beautiful, of good family, refined, educated, and in peril. She is, in short, everything a romantic novelist could want in a heroine.

Barkley springs forward to defend Entewa, and the endeavor sends him into the highest flights of high-flown language.

“Stay! By Heaven, you shall be protected,” said he, dropping her hand, and stepping out before the party. “For what are these people prisoners,” he continued, drawing himself erect, his gun planted by his side, while from the keen flashing of his dark grey eye, the working of his soul were plainer read than from his words.

Opposed by the captors, Barkley declares:

“By Heaven, not another foot until I’m heard, or this earth shall be drenched with the blood of some of you. You are many, but armed as I am in the cause of right, alone, I will oppose you, though my life shall pay the forfeit.”

It sounds to me like Barkley should be played in the movie by Nelson Eddy, but maybe you can think of someone more recent for the role. And what about Entewa? Any suggestions?

nelson eddy


*”Serape” (or “sarape” as it is spelled in Mexico) is a word spelled in multiple ways by Anglo writers in early California.


About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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