The brigand-poetaster is depicted as a rather attractive man in his way. He is tall and strong, and has a fine speaking voice and a ready wit. His manners, one may reasonably assume, he learned as a waiter. "Hence my cosmopolitanism," he explained in reference to his former occupation. Inevitably he became the organizer and leader of his group, and he presides with dignity and skill at the evening meetings of the Socialist debating society high in the Spanish Sierra. If he is a man with "a Mephistophelean affectation," a swagger, and a certain sentimentality, his preeminence is unquestioned.
Mendoza greets Tanner in the correct manner; he is the soul of decorum. He brushes aside thoughts of discussing the ransom immediately: Business can wait while he plays the solicitous host. He is, to be sure, a romanticist. Unrequited love for Louisa Straker, cook in a private home, had driven him to banditry. Consistent with his romanticism, he is an unrestrained writer and reciter of love poetry.
Unsuccessful in love as he has been, Mendoza has nevertheless found his true calling — the robbing of the rich in order, as he explains, to correct the "injustice of the existing distribution of wealth." He has proved his capabilities by getting Malone to invest in his enterprise although the American millionaire knew none of the details concerning it at the time of his investment.