He's yonder, on the terrace of the Cafe de la Paix, The little wizened Spanish man, I see him every day. He's sitting with his Pernod on his customary chair; He's staring at the passers with his customary stare. He never takes his piercing eyes from off that moving throng, That current cosmopolitan meandering along: Dark diplomats from Martinique, pale Rastas from Peru, An Englishman from Bloomsbury, a Yank from Kalamazoo; A poet from Montmartre's heights, a dapper little Jap, Exotic citizens of all the countries on the map; A tourist horde from every land that's underneath the sun -- That little wizened Spanish man, he misses never one. Oh, foul or fair he's always there, and many a drink he buys, And there's a fire of red desire within his hollow eyes. And sipping of my Pernod, and a-knowing what I know, Sometimes I want to shriek aloud and give away the show. I've lost my nerve; he's haunting me; he's like a beast of prey, That Spanish man that's watching at the Cafe de la Paix.
Say! Listen and I'll tell you all . . . the day was growing dim, And I was with my Pernod at the table next to him; And he was sitting soberly as if he were asleep, When suddenly he seemed to tense, like tiger for a leap. And then he swung around to me, his hand went to his hip, My heart was beating like a gong -- my arm was in his grip; His eyes were glaring into mine; aye, though I shrank with fear, His fetid breath was on my face, his voice was in my ear: "Excuse my brusquerie," he hissed; "but, sir, do you suppose -- That portly man who passed us had a wen upon his nose?"
And then at last it dawned on me, the fellow must be mad; And when I soothingly replied: "I do not think he had," The little wizened Spanish man subsided in his chair, And shrouded in his raven cloak resumed his owlish stare. But when I tried to slip away he turned and glared at me, And oh, that fishlike face of his was sinister to see: "Forgive me if I startled you; of course you think I'm queer; No doubt you wonder who I am, so solitary here; You question why the passers-by I piercingly review . . . Well, listen, my bibacious friend, I'll tell my tale to you.
"It happened twenty years ago, and in another land: A maiden young and beautiful, two suitors for her hand. My rival was the lucky one; I vowed I would repay; Revenge has mellowed in my heart, it's rotten ripe to-day. My happy rival skipped away, vamoosed, he left no trace; And so I'm waiting, waiting here to meet him face to face; For has it not been ever said that all the world one day Will pass in pilgrimage before the Cafe de la Paix?"
"But, sir," I made remonstrance, "if it's twenty years ago, You'd scarcely recognize him now, he must have altered so." The little wizened Spanish man he laughed a hideous laugh, And from his cloak he quickly drew a faded photograph. "You're right," said he, "but there are traits (oh, this you must allow) That never change; Lopez was fat, he must be fatter now. His paunch is senatorial, he cannot see his toes, I'm sure of it; and then, behold! that wen upon his nose. I'm looking for a man like that. I'll wait and wait until . . ." "What will you do?" I sharply cried; he answered me: "Why, kill! He robbed me of my happiness -- nay, stranger, do not start; I'll firmly and politely put -- a bullet in his heart."
Now yonder like a blot of ink he sits across the way, Upon the smiling terrace of the Cafe de la Paix; That little wizened Spanish man, his face is ghastly white, His eyes are staring, staring like a tiger's in the night. I know within his evil heart the fires of hate are fanned, I know his automatic's ready waiting to his hand. I know a tragedy is near. I dread, I have no peace . . . Oh, don't you think I ought to go and call upon the police? Look there . . . he's rising up . . . my God! He leaps from out his place . . . Yon millionaire from Argentine . . . the two are face to face . . . A shot! A shriek! A heavy fall! A huddled heap! Oh, see The little wizened Spanish man is dancing in his glee. . . . I'm sick . . . I'm faint . . . I'm going mad. . . . Oh, please take me away . . . There's BLOOD upon the terrace of the Cafe de la Paix. . . .