Valderrama, who could not repress a gesture of violent indignation, began to play. With the first melancholy strains of the tune, his anger disappeared. His eyes gleamed with the light of madness. His glance strayed over the square, the tumbled kiosk, the old adobe houses, over the mountains in the background, and over the sky, burning like a roof afire. He began to sing. He put such feeling into his voice and such expression into the strings that, as he finished, Demetrio turned his head aside to hide his tears.
But Valderrama fell upon him, embraced him warmly, and with a familiarity he showed everyone at the ap-propriate moment, he whispered: “Drink them! . . . Those are beautiful tears.” Demetrio asked for the bottle, passed it to Valder-rama. Greedily the poet drank half its contents in one gulp; then, showing only the whites of his eyes, he faced the spectators dramatically and, in a highly theatrical voice, cried:
“Here you may witness the blessings of the revolution caught in a single tear.” Then he continued to talk like a madman, but like a madman whose vast prophetic madness encompassed all about him, the dusty weeds, the tumbled kiosk, the gray houses, the lovely hills, and the immeasurable sky.
Juchipila rose in the distance, white, bathed in sun-light, shining in the midst of a thick forest at the foot of a proud, lofty mountain, pleated like a turban.
Some of the soldiers, gazing at the spire of the church, sighed sadly. They marched forward through the canyon, uncertain, unsteady, as blind men walking without a hand to guide them. The bitterness of the exodus pervaded them.
“Is that town Juchipila?” Valderrama asked.
In the first stage of his drunkenness, Valderrama had been counting the crosses scattered along the road, along the trails, in the hollows near the rocks, in the tortuous paths, and along the riverbanks. Crosses of black timber newly varnished, makeshift crosses built out of two logs, crosses of stones piled up and plastered together, crosses whitewashed on crumbling walls, humble crosses drawn with charcoal on the surface of whitish rocks. The traces of the first blood shed by the revolutionists of 1910, murdered by the Government.
Before Juchipila was lost from sight, Valderrama got off his horse, bent down, kneeled, and gravely kissed the ground.
The soldiers passed by without stopping. Some laughed at the crazy man, others jested. Valderrama, deaf to all about him, breathed his unctuous prayer:
“O Juchipila, cradle of the Revolution of 1910, O blessed land, land steeped in the blood of martyrs, blood of dreamers, the only true men . . .”
“Because they had no time to be bad!” an ex-Federal officer interjected as he rode.
Interrupting his prayer, Valderrama frowned, burst into stentorian laughter, reechoed by the rocks, and ran to-ward the officer begging for a swallow of tequila.