“Now let’s get those city fellows!”
On the day General Natera began his advance against the town of Zacatecas, Demetrio with a hundred men went to meet him at Fresnillo.
The leader received him cordially.
“I know who you are and the sort of men you bring. I heard about the beatings you gave the Federals from Tepic to Durango.”
Natera shook hands with Demetrio effusively while Luis Cervantes said:
“With men like General Natera and Colonel Demetrio Macias, we’ll cover our country with glory.”
Demetrio understood the purpose of those words, after Natera had repeatedly addressed him as “Colonel.”
Wine and beer were served; Demetrio and Natera drank many a toast. Luis Cervantes proposed: “The tri-umph of our cause, which is the sublime triumph of Jus-tice, because our ideal—to free the noble, long-suffering people of Mexico—is about to be realized and because those men who have watered the earth with their blood and tears will reap the harvest which is rightfully theirs.”
Natera fixed his cruel gaze on the orator, then turned his back on him to talk to Demetrio. Presently, one of Na-tera’s officers, a young man with a frank open face, drew up to the table and stared insistently at Cervantes.
“Are you Luis Cervantes?”
“Yes. You’re Solis, eh?”
“The moment you entered I thought I recognized you. Well, well, even now I can hardly believe my eyes!”
“It’s true enough!”
“Well, but . . . look here, let’s have a drink, come along.” Then:
“Hm,” Solis went on, offering Cervantes a chair, “since when have you turned rebel?”
“I’ve been a rebel the last two months!”
“Oh, I see! That’s why you speak with such faith and enthusiasm about things we all felt when we joined the revolution.”
“Have you lost your faith or enthusiasm?”
“Look here, man, don’t be surprised if I confide in you right off. I am so anxious to find someone intelligent among this crowd, that as soon as I get hold of a man like you I clutch at him as eagerly as I would at a glass of water, after walking mile after mile through a parched desert. But frankly, I think you should do the explaining first. I can’t understand how a man who was correspond-ent of a Government newspaper during the Madero re-gime, and later editorial writer on a Conservative jour-nal, who denounced us as bandits in the most fiery ar-ticles, is now fighting on our side.”
“I tell you honestly: I have been converted,” Cervantes answered.
“Are you absolutely convinced?”
Solis sighed, filled the glasses; they drank.
“What about you? Are you tired of the revolution?” asked Cervantes sharply.
“Tired? My dear fellow, I’m twenty-five years old and I’m fit as a fiddle! But am I disappointed? Perhaps!”