Eight musicians, playing wind instruments, interrupted their labors at Cervantes’ command. Their faces were round and red as suns, their eyes popping, for they had been blowing on their brass instruments since dawn.
“General,” Luis said pushing his way through the men on horseback, “a messenger has arrived with orders to proceed immediately to the pursuit and capture of Orozco and his men.”
Faces that had been dark and gloomy were now il-lumined with joy.
“To Jalisco, boys!” cried Blondie, pounding on the counter.
“Make ready, all you darling Jalisco girls of my heart, for I’m coming along too!” Quail shouted, twisting back the brim of his hat.
The enthusiasm and rejoicing were general. Demetrio’s friends, in the excitement of drunkenness, offered their services. Demetrio was so happy that he could scarcely speak. They were going to fight Orozco and his men! At last, they would pit themselves against real men! At last they would stop shooting down the Federals like so many rabbits or wild turkeys.
“If I could get hold of Orozco alive,” Blondie said, “I’d rip off the soles of his feet and make him walk twenty-four hours over the sierra!”
“Was that the guy who killed Madero?” asked Meco.
“No,” Blondie replied solemnly, “but once when I was a waiter at ‘El Monico,’ up in Chihuahua, he hit me in the face!”
“Give Camilla the roan mare,” Demetrio ordered Pan-cracio, who was already saddling the horses.
“Camilla can’t go!” said War Paint promptly.
“Who in hell asked for your opinion?” Demetrio re-torted angrily.
“It’s true, isn’t it, Camilla? You were sore all over, weren’t you? And you’ve got a fever right now?”
“Well—anything Demetrio says.”
“Don’t be a fool! say ‘No,’ come on, say ‘No,"’ War Paint whispered nervously into Camilla’s ear.
“I’ll tell you, War Paint. . . . It’s funny, but I’m be-ginning to fall for him. . . . Would you believe it!” Ca-milla whispered back.
War Paint turned purple, her cheeks swelled. Without a word she went out to get her horse that Blondie was saddling.
A whirlwind of dust, scorching down the road, sud-denly broke into violent diffuse masses; and Demetrio’s army emerged, a chaos of horses, broad chests, tangled manes, dilated nostrils, oval, wide eyes, hoofs flying in the air, legs stiffened from endless galloping; and of men with bronze faces, ivory teeth, and flashing eyes, their rifles in their hands or slung across the saddles.
Demetrio and Camilla brought up the rear. She was still nervous, white-lipped and parched; he was angry at their futile maneuver. For there had been battles, no followers of Orozco’s to be seen. A handful of Federals, routed. A poor devil of a priest left dangling from a mesquite; a few dead, scattered over the field, who had once been united under the archaic slogan, rights and religion, with, on their breasts, the red cloth insignia: Halt! The Sacred Heart of Jesus is with me!