Chapter 11 Summary
When it rains in Monterey, the paisanos do not come out of their homes, but Big Joe Portagee had spent the day under a boat on the beach. He finally crawls out and heads for Danny’s house when there is a break in the rain.
Before he gets there, however, the heavens open and the rain pours down. He darts into the nearest house, where he finds Tia Ignacia, a forty-five-year-old widow. She is known to have a great deal of Indian blood, more than is considered “decent.”
She had just opened a gallon of wine when Joe entered. She tries to hide it, but Joe immediately sees it. She invites him to sit down and dry himself off, offering him a glass of wine, which of course Joe accepts.
Joe drinks four glasses of wine before he says anything to the woman. He says that this is not Torrelli’s wine, and she confesses that she received it from an Italian friend of hers. She tries to get Joe to take off his wet coat, but he refuses, positioning himself stubbornly in his chair.
Joe makes no move to be friendly, which irritates Tia Ignacia. She thinks he is a dirty animal. It would have been better to bring a cow into the house. She asks Joe if he feels friendly, and he says that he does. Tia Ignacia blows out the lamp and the two sit in the dark. She hears Joe’s chair stop creaking, and she prepares herself to repel him if he approaches her, but nothing happens.
She tells Joe that he is with a friend rather than out in the cold and the wet, but Joe says nothing. She tells him that her friend, Cornelia Ruiz, has some of her own “friends” come out of the rain and then comforts them.
She hears a crash as Joe drops his glass. She lights the lamp, thinking that he is ill, but finds that he has fallen asleep. She is furious that he makes no attempt to get “friendly” and so she picks up a stick and begins to beat him. He awakens abruptly and darts from the house, followed by Tia Ignacia, who continues to beat him. He holds her in his arms to stop her and discovers that he has fallen in love.
The policeman, Jake Lake, comes upon them. Joe tells him that since he is going to take them to jail anyway, he could wait a minute until they finish. Jake warns them to get out of the road before someone runs over them and drives off.