THE ANARCHIST. [rising] A point of order, Mendoza —
MENDOZA. [forcibly] No, by thunder: your last point of order took half an hour. Besides, Anarchists don't believe in order.
THE ANARCHIST. [mild, polite but persistent: he is, in fact, the respectable looking elderly man in the celluloid collar and cuffs] That is a vulgar error. I can prove —
MENDOZA. Order, order.
THE OTHERS [shouting] Order, order. Sit down. Chair! Shut up.
The Anarchist is suppressed.
MENDOZA. On the other hand we have three Social-Democrats among us. They are not on speaking terms; and they have put before us three distinct and incompatible views of Social-Democracy.
THE MAJORITY. [shouting assent] Hear, hear! So we are. Right.
THE ROWDY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [smarting under oppression] You ain't no Christian. You're a Sheeny, you are.
MENDOZA. [with crushing magnanimity] My friend; I am an exception to all rules. It is true that I have the honor to be a Jew; and, when the Zionists need a leader to reassemble our race on its historic soil of Palestine, Mendoza will not be the last to volunteer [sympathetic applause — hear, hear, etc.]. But I am not a slave to any superstition. I have swallowed all the formulas, even that of Socialism; though, in a sense, once a Socialist, always a Socialist.
THE SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS. Hear, hear!
MENDOZA. But I am well aware that the ordinary man — even the ordinary brigand, who can scarcely be called an ordinary man [Hear, hear!] — is not a philosopher. Common sense is good enough for him; and in our business affairs common sense is good enough for me. Well, what is our business here in the Sierra Nevada, chosen by the Moors as the fairest spot in Spain? Is it to discuss abstruse questions of political economy? No: it is to hold up motor cars and secure a more equitable distribution of wealth.
THE SULKY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. All made by labor, mind you.
MENDOZA. [urbanely] Undoubtedly. All made by labor, and on its way to be squandered by wealthy vagabonds in the dens of vice that disfigure the sunny shores of the Mediterranean. We intercept that wealth. We restore it to circulation among the class that produced it and that chiefly needs it — the working class. We do this at the risk of our lives and liberties, by the exercise of the virtues of courage, endurance, foresight, and abstinence — especially abstinence. I myself have eaten nothing but prickly pears and broiled rabbit for three days.
THE SULKY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [Stubbornly] No more ain't we.
MENDOZA. [indignantly] Have I taken more than my share?
THE SULKY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [unmoved] Why should you?
THE ANARCHIST. Why should he not? To each according to his needs: from each according to his means.
THE FRENCHMAN. [shaking his fist at the anarchist] Fumiste!
MENDOZA. [diplomatically] I agree with both of you.
THE GENUINELY ENGLISH BRIGANDS. Hear, hear! Bravo, Mendoza!
MENDOZA. What I say is, let us treat one another as gentlemen, and strive to excel in personal courage only when we take the field.
THE ROWDY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [derisively] Shikespear.
A whistle comes from the goatherd on the hill. He springs up and points excitedly forward along the road to the north.
THE GOATHERD. Automobile! Automobile! [He rushes down the hill and joins the rest, who all scramble to their feet].
MENDOZA. [in ringing tones] To arms! Who has the gun?
THE SULKY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [handing a rifle to Mendoza] Here.
MENDOZA. Have the nails been strewn in the road?
THE ROWDY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. Two ahnces of em.
MENDOZA. Good! [To the Frenchman] With me, Duval. If the nails fail, puncture their tires with a bullet. [He gives the rifle to Duval, who follows him up the hill. Mendoza produces an opera glass. The others hurry across to the road and disappear to the north].
MENDOZA. [on the hill, using his glass] Two only, a capitalist and his chauffeur. They look English.
DUVAL. Angliche! Aoh yess. Cochons! [Handling the rifle] Faut tire, n'est-ce-pas?
MENDOZA. No: the nails have gone home. Their tire is down: they stop.
DUVAL. [shouting to the others] Fondez sur eux, nom de Dieu!
MENDOZA. [rebuking his excitement] Du calme, Duval: keep your hair on. They take it quietly. Let us descend and receive them.
Mendoza descends, passing behind the fire and coming forward, whilst Tanner and Straker, in their motoring goggles, leather coats, and caps, are led in from the road by brigands.
TANNER. Is this the gentleman you describe as your boss? Does he speak English?
THE ROWDY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. Course he does. Y'don't suppowz we Hinglishmen lets ahrselves be bossed by a bloomin Spenniard, do you?
MENDOZA. [with dignity] Allow me to introduce myself: Mendoza, President of the League of the Sierra! [Posing loftily] I am a brigand: I live by robbing the rich.
TANNER. [promptly] I am a gentleman: I live by robbing the poor. Shake hands.
THE ENGLISH SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS. Hear, hear!
General laughter and good humor. Tanner and Mendoza shake hands. The Brigands drop into their former places.
STRAKER. Ere! where do I come in?
TANNER. [introducing] My friend and chauffeur.
THE SULKY SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT. [suspiciously] Well, which is he? friend or show-foor? It makes all the difference you know.
MENDOZA. [explaining] We should expect ransom for a friend. A professional chauffeur is free of the mountains. He even takes a trifling percentage of his princpal's ransom if he will honor us by accepting it.
STRAKER. I see. Just to encourage me to come this way again. Well, I'll think about it.
DUVAL. [impulsively rushing across to Straker] Mon frere! [He embraces him rapturously and kisses him on both cheeks].
STRAKER. [disgusted] Ere, git out: don't be silly. Who are you, pray?
DUVAL. Duval: Social-Democrat.
STRAKER. Oh, you're a Social-Democrat, are you?
THE ANARCHIST. He means that he has sold out to the parliamentary humbugs and the bourgeoisie. Compromise! that is his faith.
DUVAL. [furiously] I understand what he say. He say Bourgeois. He say Compromise. Jamais de la vie! Miserable menteur —
STRAKER. See here, Captain Mendoza, ow much o this sort o thing do you put up with here? Are we avin a pleasure trip in the mountains, or are we at a Socialist meetin?
THE MAJORITY. Hear, hear! Shut up. Chuck it. Sit down, etc. etc. [The Social-Democrats and the Anarchist are hurtled into the background. Straker, after superintending this proceeding with satisfaction, places himself on Mendoza's left, Tanner being on his right].
MENDOZA. Can we offer you anything? Broiled rabbit and prickly pears —
TANNER. Thank you: we have dined.
MENDOZA. [to his followers] Gentlemen: business is over for the day. Go as you please until morning.
The Brigands disperse into groups lazily. Some go into the cave. Others sit down or lie down to sleep in the open. A few produce a pack of cards and move off towards the road; for it is now starlight; and they know that motor cars have lamps which can be turned to account for lighting a card party.