Alicia: Myscal's "Spanish Wife"
Myscal Taylor at the time of his coerced enlistment into the Union Army (October 1863) has been married to Alicia for 8 years. They have three children.
The reader grasps very quickly into the novel "Arise from the Dust" that this hardy Western frontiersman has a deep, loving marriage with Alicia. He admires her, perhaps more importantly, he respects her. She, their children, lie at the core of his life. During his "buck and gagging" punishment after he tried to leave Camp Tippecanoe, his thoughts return again and again to her. The young men he shares his tent with pester him frequently to talk to them about his "Spanish wife." She is a sacred topic to Myscal; he keeps his frequent thoughts and emotions about her to himself. He fears that he might never return to hold her again; that this terrible war could tear his life away from hers.
Alicia grew up in then Mexican town of Santa Fe. Myscal's father and brother became friends with the Serna family shortly after General Stephen Watts Kearny's Army of the West took possession of the city in 1846 during the War with Mexico. The Serna family had lived in Santa Fe for nearly 300 years following the Spanish conquest of the Southwest. Myscal met Alicia several years later when he traveled with his family on a business trip from Utah Territory to Santa Fe.
From the novel "Arise from the Dust":
... After nearly two weeks on the trail, they entered Santa Fe. For Myscal, it was an exotic sight compared to the dry Salt Lake Valley. Joseph expressed amazement over the growth of the town in the past six years. Apparently the military occupation during the Mexican War and later official establishment of the Territory had done much to prosper the citizens.
The two men soon located their way to the Serna family home on the outskirts of the city. The home presented itself exactly to Myscal as his father had described it: sunny colors, neat, prosperous looking. They knocked on the heavy wooden door.
It was answered after a few moments by a stunning young woman. At the precise moment she opened the door, the light reflecting back from the entrance hall lit up her hair and face. It produced a thin sliver of glowing halo light around her.
Her thick black eyebrows arched over a pair of eyes surprisingly blue-green hazel with small flecks of gold, a shade of color not normally seen among the Castilian Spanish in the mesa country. The thin nose rounded pleasantly. A pair of luscious lips opened to frame a dazzling smile of white, even teeth. She was unusually tall, perhaps 5'7 or 5'8 which reached up comfortably to the father and son height of six feet.
"Si?" she said in a pleasant, melodious voice. A small mischievous smile glinted at the corners of her mouth. The two men in front of her looked harmless but very travel-worn, heavy beard stubble covering their faces.
Myscal felt overwhelmed, slammed like a jack rabbit dropped from a soaring eagle.
He had never encountered such a fetching creature before. His father looked at him with a sideways glance, smirked a little, then asked in English for Don Serna. She nodded, asked for their names in halting English. Her eyes opened wide at the mention of their names. She ran for Don Serna calling out his name....