If on one hand the Government newspapers vied with each other in noisy proclamation of Federal victory after victory, why then had a paymaster on his way from Guadalajara started the rumor that President Huerta’s friends and relatives were abandoning the capi-tal and scuttling away to the nearest port? Was Huerta’s, “I shall have peace, at no matter what cost,” a meaningless growl? Well, it looked as though the revolutionists or bandits, call them what you will, were going to depose the Government. Tomorrow would there-fore belong wholly to them. A man must consequently be on their side, only on their side.
“No,” he said to himself almost aloud, “I don’t think I’ve made a mistake this time.”
“What did you say?” Camilla asked. “I thought you’d lost your tongue. . . . I thought the mice had eaten it up!”
Luis Cervantes frowned and cast a hostile glance at this little plump monkey with her bronzed complexion, her ivory teeth, and her thick square toes.
“Look here, Tenderfoot, you know how to tell fairy stories, don’t you?”
For all answer, Luis made an impatient gesture and moved off, the girl’s ecstatic glance following his re-treating figure until it was lost on the river path. So profound was her absorption that she shuddered in nerv-ous surprise as she heard the voice of her neighbor, one-eyed Maria Antonia, who had been spying from her hut, shouting:
“Hey, you there: give him some love powder. Then he might fall for you.”
“That’s what you’d do, all right!”
“Oh, you think so, do you? Well, you’re quite wrong! Faugh! I despise a tenderfoot, and don’t forget it! Ho there, Remigia, lend me some eggs, will you? My chicken has been hatching since morning. There’s some gentlemen here, come to eat.”
Her neighbor’s eyes blinked as the bright sunlight poured into the shadowy hut, darker than usual, even, as dense clouds of smoke rose from the stove. After a few minutes, she began to make out the contour of the various objects inside, and recognized the wounded man’s stretcher, which lay in one corner, close to the ashy-gray galvanized iron roof.
She sat down beside Remigia Indian-fashion, and, glancing furtively toward where Demetrio rested, asked in a low voice:
“How’s the patient, better? That’s fine. Oh, how young he is! But he’s still pale, don’t you think? So the wound’s not closed up yet. Well, Remigia, don’t you think we’d better try and do something about it?”
Remigia, naked from the waist up, stretched her thin muscular arms over the corn grinder, pounding the corn with a stone bar she held in her hands.
“Oh, I don’t know; they might not like it,” she an-swered, breathing heavily as she continued her rude task. “They’ve got their own doctor, you know, so—”
“Hallo, there, Remigia,” another neighbor said as she came in, bowing her bony back to pass through the open-ing, “haven’t you any laurel leaves? We want to make a potion for Maria Antonia who’s not so well today, what with her bellyache.”