My new friend, Juan Carlos, is a shy, quiet, keep-to-himself fellow, but I managed to find a picture of him to share:
I met Juan Carlos during the first day of my ill-fated enrollment in Miss Whitaker's Academy for Young Ladies in San Francisco. I didn't want to be there at all, but when Aunt Rebecca told me the school had a few horses, I decided to make the best of it. I went to check out the stables, and this very nice young man was worried sick over a mare about to deliver a foal. I stayed and helped and we became friends . . . sort of. Juan told me we couldn't be real friends because I was a student at the school and he was only a "lowly" stable boy.
It's sad because his grandfather was a don, a Spanish landowner with wealth and power. But the Americans managed to take over his family's holdings, his father and grandfather died, and now it's up to Juan Carlos to work hard to support his mother and sisters in the city. Juan remembers happier days as a little boy on his grandfather's hacienda. But those times are over for him.
Juan Carlos is an excellent horseman and teaches me a few things about riding that I didn't know. He shows himself to be a good friend when Jenny and I need help with a risky plan to rescue our little friend, Lin Mei, from her cruel "uncle" (really her master).