In the Mission Garden

A poem by Francis Bret Harte

Father Felipe

I speak not the English well, but Pachita,
She speak for me; is it not so, my Pancha?
Eh, little rogue? Come, salute me the stranger

Sir, in my country we say, “Where the heart is,
There live the speech.” Ah! you not understand? So!
Pardon an old man, what you call “old fogy,”
Padre Felipe!

Old, Señor, old! just so old as the Mission.
You see that pear-tree? How old you think, Señor?
Fifteen year? Twenty? Ah, Senor, just fifty
Gone since I plant him!

You like the wine? It is some at the Mission,
Made from the grape of the year eighteen hundred;
All the same time when the earthquake he come to
San Juan Bautista.

But Pancha is twelve, and she is the rose-tree;
And I am the olive, and this is the garden:
And “Pancha” we say, but her name is “Francisca,”
Same like her mother.

Eh, you knew her? No? Ah! it is a story;
But I speak not, like Pachita, the English:
So! if I try, you will sit here beside me,
And shall not laugh, eh?

When the American come to the Mission,
Many arrive at the house of Francisca:
One, he was fine man, he buy the cattle
Of Jose Castro.

So! he came much, and Francisca, she saw him:
And it was love, and a very dry season;
And the pears bake on the tree, and the rain come,
But not Francisca.

Not for one year; and one night I have walk much
Under the olive-tree, when comes Francisca,
Comes to me here, with her child, this Francisca,
Under the olive-tree.

Sir, it was sad; . . . but I speak not the English;
So! . . . she stay here, and she wait for her husband:
He come no more, and she sleep on the hillside;
There stands Pachita.

Ah! there’s the Angelus. Will you not enter?
Or shall you walk in the garden with Pancha?
Go, little rogue st! attend to the stranger!
Adios, Señor.

Pachita (briskly).

So, he’s been telling that yarn about mother!
Bless you! he tells it to every stranger:
Folks about yer say the old man’s my father;
What’s your opinion?

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