Macias smiled, his eyes shining.
“Will it be all right if we go with Natera?”
“Not only all right,” Venancio said insinuatingly, “but I think it absolutely necessary.”
“Now Chief,” Cervantes pursued, “I took a fancy to you the first time I laid eyes on you and I like you more and more every day because I realize what you are worth. Please let me be utterly frank. You do not yet realize your lofty noble function. You are a modest man without ambitions, you do not wish to realize the ex-ceedingly important role you are destined to play in the revolution. It is not true that you took up arms simply be-cause of Senor Monico. You are under arms to protest against the evils of all the caciques who are overrunning the whole nation. We are the elements of a social move-ment which will not rest until it has enlarged the destinies of our motherland. We are the tools Destiny makes use of to reclaim the sacred rights of the people. We are not fighting to dethrone a miserable murderer, we are fight-ing against tyranny itself. What moves us is what men call ideals; our action is what men call fighting for a prin-ciple. A principle! That’s why Villa and Natera and Car-ranza are fighting; that’s why we, every man of us, are fighting.”
“Yes ... yes ... exactly what I’ve been thinking my-self,” said Venancio in a climax of enthusiasm.
“Hey, there, Pancracio,” Macias called, “pull down two more beers.”
“You ought to see how clear that fellow can make things, Compadre,” Demetrio said. All morning long he had been pondering as much of Luis Cervantes’ speech as he had understood.
“I heard him too,” Anastasio answered. “People who can read and write get things clear, all right; nothing was ever truer. But what I can’t make out is how you’re going to go and meet Natera with as few men as we have.”
“That’s nothing. We’re going to do things different now. They tell me that as soon as Crispin Robles enters a town he gets hold of all the horses and guns in the place; then he goes to the jail and lets all the jailbirds out, and, before you know it, he’s got plenty of men, all right. You’ll see. You know I’m beginning to feel that we haven’t done things right so far. It don’t seem right somehow that this city guy should be able to tell us what to do.”
“Ain’t it wonderful to be able to read and write!”
They both sighed, sadly. Luis Cervantes came in with several others to find out the day of their departure.
“We’re leaving no later than tomorrow,” said Demetrio without hesitation.
Quail suggested that musicians be summoned from the neighboring hamlet and that a farewell dance be given. His idea met with enthusiasm on all sides.
“We’ll go, then,” Pancracio shouted, “but I’m certainly going in good company this time. My sweetheart’s coming along with me!”