“In the name of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” Remigia said, blessing the room and making the sign of the cross; next, with infinite dexterity, she placed the warm bleed-ing portions of the pigeon upon Demetrio’s abdomen.
“You’ll see: you’ll feel much better now.”
Obeying Remigia’s instructions, Demetrio lay motion-less, crumpled up on one side.
Then Fortunata gave vent to her sorrows. She liked these gentlemen of the revolution, all right, that she did —for, three months ago, you know, the Government sol-diers had run away with her only daughter. This had broken her heart, Yes, and driven her all but crazy.
As she began, Anastasio Montanez and Quail lay on the floor near the stretcher, their mouths gaping, all ears to the story. But Fortunata’s wealth of detail by the time she had told half of it bored Quail and he left the hut to scratch himself out in the sun. By the time Fortunata had at last concluded with a solemn “I pray God and the Blessed Virgin Mary that you are not sparing the life of a single one of those Federals from hell,” Demetrio, face to wall, felt greatly relieved by the stomach cure, and was busy thinking of the best route by which to proceed to Durango. Anastasio Mon-tanez was snoring like a trombone.
“Why don’t you call in the tenderfoot to treat you, Compadre Demetrio,” Anastasio Montanez asked his chief, who had been complaining daily of chills and fever. “You ought to see him; no one has laid a hand to him but himself, and now he’s so fit that he doesn’t limp a step.”
But Venancio, standing by with his tins of lard and his dirty string rags ready, protested:
“All right, if anybody lays a hand on Demetrio, I won’t be responsible.”
“Nonsense! Rot! What kind of doctor do you think you are? You’re no doctor at all. I’ll wager you’ve al-ready forgotten why you ever joined us,” said Quail.
“Well, I remember why you joined us, Quail,” Ve-nancio replied angrily. “Perhaps you’ll deny it was be-cause you had stolen a watch and some diamond rings.”
“Ha, ha, ha! That’s rich! But you’re worse, my lad; you ran away from your hometown because you poi-soned your sweetheart.”
“You’re a Goddamned liar!”
“Yes you did! And don’t try and deny it! You fed her Spanish fly and . . .”
Venancio’s shout of protest was drowned out in the loud laughter of the others. Demetrio, looking pale and sallow, motioned for silence. Then, plaintively:
“That’ll do. Bring in the student.”
Luis Cervantes entered. He uncovered Demetrio’s wound, examined it carefully, and shook his head. The ligaments had made a furrow in the skin. The leg, badly swollen, seemed about to burst. At every move he made, Demetrio stifled a moan. Luis Cervantes cut the liga-ments, soaked the wound in water, covered the leg with large clean rags and bound it up. Demetrio was able to sleep all afternoon and all night. On the morrow he woke up happy.