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And as we draw nearer, the white slowly resolves into a broken, whitewashed wall. But when I suddenly laugh at the absurdity, he also gives a sudden broken yelp of laughter. It was nearing midday. At last we got into a shady lane, in which were puddles of escaped irrigation-water. The ragged semi-squalor of a half-tropical lane, with naked trees sprouting into spiky scarlet flowers, and bushes with biggish yellow flowers, sitting rather wearily on their stems, led to the village.

We were entering Huayapa. Ia Calle de las Minas , said an old notice. Ia Calle de las Minas , said a new, brand-new notice, as if in confirmation. First Street of the Mines. And every street had the same old and brand-new notice: But the First Street of the Mines was just a track between the stiff living fence of organ cactus, with poinsettia trees holding up scarlet mops of flowers, and mango trees, tall and black, stonily drooping the strings of unripe fruit. The Street of the Magnolia was a rocky stream-gutter, disappearing to nowhere from nowhere, between cactus and bushes.

The Street of the Vasquez was a stony stream-bed, emerging out of tall, wildly tall reeds. Not a soul anywhere. Through the fences, half deserted gardens of trees and banana plants, each enclosure with a half-hidden hut of black adobe bricks crowned with a few old tiles for a roof, and perhaps a new wing made of twigs.

Everything hidden, secret, silent. A sense of darkness among the silent mango trees, a sense of lurking, of unwillingness. Then actually some half-bold curs barking at us across the stile of one garden, a forked bough over which one must step to enter the chicken-bitten enclosure. And actually a man crossing the proudly labelled: Fifth Street of the Independence.

If there were no churches to mark a point in these villages, there would be nowhere at all to make for. The sense of nowhere is intense, between the dumb and repellent living fence of cactus. But the Spaniards, in the midst of these black, mud-brick huts, have inevitably reared the white twin-towered magnificence of a big and lonely, hopeless church; and where there is a church there will be a plaza. Even though the wheel does not go round, a hub is still a hub. Like the old Forum. So we stray diffidently on, in the maze of streets which are only straight tracks between cactuses, till we see Reforma, and at the end of Reforma , the great church.

In front of the church is a rocky plaza leaking with grass, with water rushing into two big, oblong stone basins. The great church stands rather ragged, in a dense forlornness, for all the world like some big white human being, in rags, held captive in a world of ants.

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Mornings in Mexico by D H Lawrence

On the uphill side of the plaza , a long low white building with a shed in front, and under the shed crowding, all the short-statured men of the pueblo , in their white cotton clothes and big hats. They are listening to something: They stir like white-clad insects. Rosalino looks sideways at them, and sheers away. Even we lower our voices to ask what is going on. Rosalino replies, sotto voce , that they are making asuntos. The dark faces of the little men under the big hats look round at us suspiciously, like dark gaps in the atmosphere.

Our alien presence in this vacuous village, is like the sound of a drum in a churchyard. We stray across the forlorn yard into the church. Thursday was the day of the Virgin of the Soledad, so the church is littered with flowers, sprays of wild yellow flowers trailing on the floor. There is a great Gulliver's Travels fresco picture of an angel having a joy-ride on the back of a Goliath.

On the left, near the altar steps, is seated a life-size Christ--undersized; seated upon a little table, wearing a pair of woman's frilled knickers, a little mantle of purple silk dangling from His back, and His face bent forward gazing fatuously at His naked knee, which emerges from the needlework frill of the drawers. Across from Him a living woman is half-hidden behind a buttress, mending something, sewing.

We sit silent, motionless, in the whitewashed church ornamented with royal blue and bits of gilt. A barefoot Indian with a high-domed head comes in and kneels with his legs close together, his back stiff, at once very humble and resistant. His cotton jacket and trousers are long-unwashed rag, the colour of dry earth, and torn, so that one sees smooth pieces of brown thigh, and brown back. He kneels in a sort of intense fervour for a minute, then gets up and childishly, almost idiotically, begins to take the pieces of candle from the candlesticks. He is the Verger. Outside, the gang of men is still pressing under the shed.

We insist on knowing what is going on. Rosalino, looking sideways at them, plucks up courage to say plainly that the two men at the table are canvassing for votes: The farce of it! Already on the wall of the low building, on which one sees, in blue letters, the word Justizia , there are pasted the late political posters, with the loud announcement: Vote For This Mark -.

My dear fellow, this is when democracy becomes real fun. You vote for one red ring inside another red ring and you get a Julio Echegaray. You vote for a blue dot inside a blue ring, and you get a Socrate Ezequiel Tos. Heaven knows what you get for the two little red circles on top of one another Suppose we vote, and try. There's all sorts in the lucky bag. There might come a name like Peregrino Zenon Cocotilla.

We all live in the Calle de la Reforma, in Mexico. On the bottom of the plaza is a shop. We want some fruit. No hay means there isn't any , and it's the most regular sound made by the dumb-bells of the land. There are, as a matter of fact, candles, soap, dead and withered chiles, a few dried grasshoppers, dust, and stark, bare wooden pigeon-holes. Next-door is another little hole of a shop. Tepache is a fermented drink of pineapple rinds and brown sugar: There is probably mescal too, to get brutally drunk on. The village is exhausted in resource.

But we insist on fruit. Where, where can I buy oranges and bananas? I see oranges on the trees, I see banana plants. She has got rid of us. We descend the black rocky steps to the stream, and up the other side, past the high reeds. There is a yard with heaps of maize in a shed, and tethered bullocks: We hear a drum and a whistle. It is down a rocky black track that calls itself The Street of Benito Juarez: A yard with shade round. Women kneading the maize dough, masa , for tortillas.

And a little boy beating a kettledrum sideways, and a big man playing a little reedy wooden whistle, rapidly, endlessly, disguising the tune of La Cucuracha. They won't play a tune unless they can render it almost unrecognizable. My God, a feast! That weary masa , a millstone in the belly. And for the rest, the blank, heavy, dark-grey barrenness, like an adobe brick. The drum-boy rolls his big Indian eyes at us, and beats on, though filled with consternation. The flute man glances, is half appalled and half resentful, so he blows harder.

The lounging man comes and mutters to Rosalino, and Rosalino mutters back, four words. He means, presumably, that there are dialect differences. Anyhow, he asserts his bit of Spanish, and says Hay frutas? It was like a posada. It was like the Holy Virgin on Christmas Eve, wandering from door to door looking for a lodging in which to bear her child: Is there a room here? The same with us. We went down every straight ant-run of that blessed village. But at last we pinned a good-natured woman. We see them on the trees. We want them to eat. Yes, he has oranges, and he sells them.

From black hut to black hut went we, till at last we got to the house of Valentino Ruiz. And to I it was the yard with the fiesta. The lounging man was peeping out of the gateless gateway, as we came, at us. We had wandered so long, and asked so often, that the masa was made into tortillas , the tortillas were baked, and a group of people were sitting in a ring on the ground, eating them. It was the fiesta.

At my question up jumped a youngish man, and a woman as if they had been sitting on a scorpion each. But pass this way. We pass up to the garden, past the pink roses, to a little orange-tree, with a few yellowish-green oranges. These, we found later, were almost insipidly sweet. Even then, I can only get three of the big, thick-skinned, greenish oranges. But I spy sweet limes, and insist on having five or six of these. He charges me three cents apiece for the oranges: It is one o'clock.

Let us get out of the village, where the water will be safe, and eat lunch. In the plaza , the men are just dispersing, one gang coming down the hill. They watch us as if we were a coyote, a zopilote , and a white she-bear walking together in the street.

The water rushes downhill in a stone gutter beside the road. We climb up the hill, up the Street of the Camomile, alongside the rushing water. At one point it crosses the road unchannelled, and we wade through it. It is the village drinking supply. At the juncture of the roads, where the water crosses, another silent white gang of men.

We must get above the village to be able to drink the water without developing typhoid. At last, the last house, the naked hills. We follow the water across a dry maize-field, then up along a bank. Below is a quite deep gully. Across is an orchard, and some women with baskets of fruit. Shall we go clown into the gully into the shade? No; someone is bathing among the reeds below, and the aqueduct water rushes along in the gutter here above.

On, on, till we spy a wild guava tree over the channel of water. At last we can sit down and eat and drink, on a bank of dry grass, under the wild guava tree. We put the bottle of lemonade in the aqueduct to cool.

Mornings in Mexico

I scoop out a big half-orange, the thick rind of which makes a cup. Over the brink of the water-channel is the gully, and a noise--chock, chock! I go to look. It is a woman, naked to the hips, standing washing her other garments upon a stone. She has a beautiful full back, of a deep orange colour, and her wet hair is divided and piled. In the water a few yards up-stream two men are sitting naked, their brown-orange giving off a glow in the shadow, also washing their clothes.

Their wet hair seems to steam blue-blackness. Just above them is a sort of bridge, where the water divides, the channel-water taken from the little river, and led along the top of the bank. We sit under the wild guava tree in silence, and eat. The old woman of the fruit, with naked breast and coffee-brown naked arms, her under-garment fastened on one shoulder, round her waist an old striped sarape for a skirt, and on her head a blue rebozo piled against the sun, comes marching down the aqueduct with black bare feet, holding three or four chirimoyas to her bosom.

Chirimoyas are green custard-apples. The other, below, is for washing. This, you drink, and you don't wash in it. The other, you wash in, and you don't drink it. You don't pay me. I bring you these, and may you eat well. But the chirimoyas are not ripe: Now, they are not. In two or three days they will be. You can't eat them yet. But I make a gift of them to you, and may you eat well. Rosalino waited to catch my eye. Then he opened his mouth and showed his pink tongue and swelled out his throat like a cobra, in a silent laugh after the old woman.

When we carne to eat them, three days later, the custard-apples all had worms in them, and hardly any white meat. However, she had got her bottle. When we had drunk the lemonade, we sent Rosalino to give her the empty wine-bottle, and she made him another sententious little speech. But to her the bottle was a treasure. And I, going round the little hummock behind the wild guava tree to throw away the papers of the picnic, came upon a golden-brown young man with his shirt just coming down over his head, but over no more of him. Hastily retreating, I thought again what beautiful, suave, rich skins these people have; a sort of richness of the flesh.

It goes, perhaps, with the complete absence of what we call 'spirit'. We lay still for a time, looking at the tiny guavas and the perfect, soft, high blue sky overhead, where the hawks and the ragged-winged zopilotes sway and diminish. A long, hot way home. Tomorrow is another day. And even the next five minutes are far enough away, in Mexico, on a Sunday afternoon.

Rosalino really goes with the house, though he has been in service here only two months. When we went to look at the place, we saw him lurking in the patio , and glancing furtively under his brows. He is not one of the erect, bantam little Indians that stare with a black, incomprehensible, but somewhat defiant stare. It may be Rosalino has a distant strain of other Indian blood, not Zapotec.

Or it may be he is only a bit different. The difference lies in a certain sensitiveness and aloneness, as if he were a mother's boy. The way he drops his head and looks sideways under his black lashes, apprehensive, apprehending, feeling his way, as it were.

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Not the bold male glare of most of the Indians, who seem as if they had never, never had mothers at all. The Aztec gods and goddesses are, as far as we have known anything about them, an unlovely and unlovable lot. In their myths there is no grace or charm, no poetry.

Only this perpetual grudge, grudge, grudging, one god grudging another, the gods grudging men their existence, and men grudging the animals. The goddess of love is a goddess of dirt and prostitution, a dirt-eater, a horror, without a touch of tenderness. If the god wants to make love to her, she has to sprawl down in front of him, blatant and accessible. And then, after all, when she conceives and brings forth, what is it she produces? What is the infant-god she tenderly bears?

Guess, all ye people, joyful and triumphant! It is a razor-edged knife of blackish-green flint, the knife of all knives, the veritable Paraclete of knives. It is the sacrificial knife with which the priest makes a gash in his victim's breast, before he tears out the heart, to hold it smoking to the sun. And the Sun, the Sun behind the sun, is supposed to suck the smoking heart greedily with insatiable appetite. This, then, is a pretty Christmas Eve. Lo, the goddess is gone to bed, to bring forth her child.

The child is born. Unto us a son is given. Bring him forth, lay him on a tender cushion. Show him, then, to all the people. See him upon the cushion, tenderly new-born and reposing! Oh, what a nice, blackish, smooth, keen stone knife! And to this day, most of the Mexican Indian women seem to bring forth stone knives. Look at them, these sons of incomprehensible mothers, with their black eyes like flints, and their stiff little bodies as taut and as keen as knives of obsidian.

Take care they don't rip you up. Our Rosalino is an exception. He drops his shoulders just a little. He is a bit bigger, also, than the average Indian down here. He must be about five feet four inches. And he hasn't got the big, obsidian, glaring eyes. His eyes are smaller, blacker, like the quick black eyes of the lizard. They don't look at one with the obsidian stare. They are just a bit aware that there is another being, unknown, at the other end of the glance. Hence he drops his head with a little apprehension, screening himself as if he were vulnerable.

Usually, these people have no correspondence with one at all. To them a white man or white woman is a sort of phenomenon; just as a monkey is a sort of phenomenon; something to watch, and wonder at, and laugh at, but not to be taken on one's own plane. Now the white man is a sort of extraordinary white monkey that, by cunning, has learnt lots of semi-magical secrets of the universe, and made himself boss of the show. Imagine a race of big white monkeys got up in fantastic clothes, and able to kill a man by hissing at him; able to leap through the air in great hops, covering a mile in each leap; able to transmit his thoughts by a moment's effort of concentration to some great white monkey or monkeyess, a thousand miles away: The white monkey has curious tricks.

He knows, for example, the time. Now to a Mexican, and an Indian, time is a vague, foggy reality. There are only three times: There is even no midday, and no evening. But to the white monkey, horrible to relate, there are exact spots of time, such as five o'clock, half past nine. The day is a horrible puzzle of exact spots of time. The same with distance: To the Indians, there is near and far, and very near and very far. There is two days or one day. But two miles are as good as twenty to him, for he goes entirely by his feeling.

If a certain two miles feels far to him, then it is far, it is muy lejos! But if a certain twenty miles feels near and familiar, then it is not far. Oh, no, it is just a little distance. And he will let you set off in the evening, for night to overtake you in the wilderness, without a qualm. It is not far. But the white man has a horrible, truly horrible, monkey-like passion for invisible exactitudes.

There are no fixed points in life, save birth, and death, and the fiestas. The fixed points of birth and death evaporate spontaneously into vagueness. And the priests fix the fiestas. From time immemorial priests have fixed the fiestas , the festivals of the gods, and men have had no more to do with time. What should men have to do with time? The same with money. These centavos and these pesos , what do they mean, after all? Little discs that have no charm. The natives insist on reckoning in invisible coins, coins that don't exist here, like reales or pesetas.

If you buy two eggs for a real , you have to pay twelve and a half centavos. Since also half a centavo doesn't exist, you or the vendor forfeit the non-existent. The same with honesty, the meum and the tuum. The white man has a horrible way of remembering, even to a centavo , even to a thimbleful of mescal. The Indian, it seems to me, is not naturally dishonest.

He is not naturally avaricious, has not even any innate cupidity. In this he is unlike the old people of the Mediterranean, to whom possessions have a mystic meaning, and a silver coin a mystic white halo, a lueur of magic. To the real Mexican, no! He doesn't even like keeping money. His deep instinct is to spend it at once, so that he needn't have it. He doesn't really want to keep anything, not even his wife and children.

Nothing that he has to be responsible for. Strip, strip, strip away the past and the future, leave the naked moment of the present disentangled. Strip away memory, strip away forethought and care; leave the moment, stark and sharp and without consciousness, like the obsidian knife. The before and the after are the stuff of consciousness. The instant moment is for ever keen with a razor-edge of oblivion, like the knife of sacrifice.

But the great white monkey has got hold of the keys of the world, and the black-eyed Mexican has to serve the great white monkey, in order to live. He has to learn the tricks of the white monkey-show: A whole existence of monkey-tricks and monkey-virtues. The strange monkey-virtue of charity, the white monkeys nosing round to help , to save! Could any trick be more unnatural? Yet it is one of the tricks of the great white monkey. If an Indian is poor, he says to another: I have no food; give me to eat. Then the other hands the hungry one a couple of tortillas.

But when the white monkey comes round, they peer at the house, at the woman, at the children. Your child is sick. What have you done for it-- Nothing. What is to be done? I will show you how. Well, it was very amusing, this making hot dough to dab on the baby. Like plastering a house with mud. But why do it twice? Twice is not amusing. The child will die.

Well, then, it will be in Paradise. How nice for it! That's just what God wants of it, that it shall be a cheerful little angel among the roses of Paradise. What could be better? How tedious of the white monkey coming with the trick of salvation, to rub oil on the baby, and put poultices on it, and make you give it medicine in a spoon at morning, noon, and night. Why morning and noon and night? Why not just anytime, anywhen?

It will die tomorrow if you don't do these things today! But tomorrow is another day, and it is not dead now, so if it dies at another time, it must be because the other times are out of hand. Oh, the tedious, exacting white monkeys, with their yesterdays and todays and tomorrows!

Tomorrow is always another day, and yesterday is part of the encircling never. Why think outside the moment? And inside the moment one does not think. So why pretend to think? It is one of the white-monkey-tricks. He is a clever monkey. But he is ugly, and he has nasty, white flesh. We are not ugly, with screwed-up faces, and we have good warm-brown flesh. If we have to work for the white monkey, we don't care.

His tricks are half-amusing. And one may as well amuse oneself that way as any other. So long as one is amused. So long as the devil does not rouse in us, seeing the white monkeys for ever mechanically bossing, with their incessant tick-tack of work. Seeing them get the work out of us, the sweat, the money, and then taking the very land from us, the very oil and metal out of our soil.

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They do it all the time. Because they can't help it. Because grasshoppers can but hop, and ants can carry little sticks, and white monkeys can go tick-tack, tick-tack, do this, do that, time to work, time to eat, time to drink, time to sleep, time to walk, time to ride, time to wash, time to look dirty, tick-tack, tick-tack, time, time, time! Oh, cut off his nose and make him swallow it.

For the moment is as changeless as an obsidian knife, and the heart of the Indian is keen as the moment that divides past from future, and sacrifices them both. To Rosalino, too, the white monkey-tricks are amusing. He is ready to work for the white monkeys, to learn some of their tricks, their monkey-speech of Spanish, their tick-tack ways. He works for four pesos a month, and his food: Four pesos are two American dollars: He owns two cotton shirts, two pairs of calico pantaloons, two blouses, one of pink cotton, one of darkish flannelette, and a pair of sandals.

Also, his straw hat that he has curled up to look very jaunty, and a rather old, factory-made, rather cheap shawl, or plaid rug with fringe.


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His duty is to rise in the morning and sweep the street in front of the house, and water it. Then he sweeps and waters the broad, brick-tiled verandas, and flicks the chairs with a sort of duster made of fluffy reeds. Returned from the market, he sweeps the whole of the patio , gathers up the leaves and refuse, fills the pannier-basket, hitches it up on to his shoulders, and holds it by a band across his forehead, and thus, a beast of burden, goes out to deposit the garbage at the side of one of the little roads leading out of the city.


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Every little road leaves the town between heaps of garbage, an avenue of garbage blistering in the sun. Returning, Rosalino waters the whole of the garden and sprinkles the whole of the patio. This takes most of the morning. In the afternoon, he sits without much to do. If the wind has blown or the day is hot, he starts again at about three o'clock, sweeping up leaves, and sprinkling everywhere with an old watering-can. In one corner is a low wooden bench about four feet long and eighteen inches wide.

On this he screws up and sleeps, in his clothes as he is, wrapped in the old sarape. But this is anticipating. He can read a bit, and write a bit. He filled a large sheet of foolscap with writing: But I found out that what he had written was a Spanish poem, a love-poem, with no puedo olvidar and voy a cortar --the rose, of course.

He had written the thing straight ahead, without verse-lines or capitals or punctuation at all, just a vast string of words, a whole foolscap sheet full. When I read a few lines aloud, he writhed and laughed in an agony of confused feelings. And of what he had written he understood a small, small amount, parrot-wise, from the top of his head. Actually, it meant just words, sound, noise, to him: Exactly like a parrot. From seven to eight he goes to the night-school, to cover a bit more of the foolscap. He has been going for two years. If he goes two years more he will perhaps really be able to read and write six intelligible sentences: Then if he can speak his quantum of Spanish, and read it and write it to a very uncertain extent, he will return to his village two days' journey on foot into the hills, and then, in time, he may even rise to be an alcalde , or headman of the village, responsible to the Government.

If he were alcalde he would get a little salary. But far more important to him is the glory: Whoever gets into the house or patio must get through these big doors. There is no other entrance, not even a needle's eye. The windows to the street are heavily barred.

Each house is its own small fortress. Ours is a double square, the trees and flowers in the first square, with the two wings of the house. And in the second patio , the chickens, pigeons, guinea-pigs, and the big heavy earthenware dish or tub, called an apaxtle , in which all the servants can bathe themselves, like chickens in a saucer. By half past nine at night Rosalino is lying on his little bench, screwed up, wrapped in his shawl, his sandals, called huaraches , on the floor.

Usually he takes off his huaraches when he goes to bed. That is all his preparation. In another corner, wrapped up, head and all, like a mummy in his thin old blanket, the paisano , another lad of about twenty, lies asleep on the cold stones. And at an altitude of five thousand feet, the nights can be cold. Usually everybody is in by half past nine in our very quiet house. If not, you may thunder at the big doors.

It is hard to wake Rosalino. You have to go close to him, and call. That will wake him. But don't touch him. That would startle him terribly. No one is touched unawares, except to be robbed or murdered. At last there starts up a strange, glaring, utterly lost Rosa-lino. Perhaps he just has enough wit to pull the door-catch. One wonders where he was, and what he was, in his sleep, he starts up so strange and wild and lost.

The first time he had anything to do for me was when the van was come to carry the bit of furniture to the house. There was Aurelio, the dwarf mozo of our friends and Rosalino, and the man who drove the wagon. But there should have been also a cargador --a porter. The fellow, I thought to myself, is a fool. He thinks it's not his job, and perhaps he is afraid of smashing the furniture. Nothing to be done but to leave him alone. We settled in, and Rosalino seemed to like doing things for us.

He liked learning his monkey-tricks from the white monkeys. And since we started feeding him from our own meals, and for the first time in his life he had real soups, meat-stews, or a fried egg, he loved to do things in the kitchen. He would come with sparkling black eyes: Came the day when we walked to Huayapa, on the Sunday, and he was very thrilled.

But at night, in the evening when we got home, he lay mute on his bench--not that he was really tired. The Indian gloom, which settles on them like a black marsh-fog, had settled on him. He did not bring in the water--let me carry it by myself. Monday morning, the same black, reptilian gloom, and a sense of hatred. This was a bit flabbergasting, because he had been so thrilled and happy the day before. But the revulsion had come. He didn't forgive himself for having felt free and happy with us. He had eaten what we had eaten, hard-boiled eggs and sardine sandwiches and cheese; he had drunk out of the orange-peel taza , which delighted him so much.

He had had a bottle of gaseosa , fizz, with us, on the way home, in San Felipe. And now, the reaction. He had been happy, therefore we were scheming to take another advantage of him. We had some devilish white monkey-trick up our sleeve; we wanted to get at his soul , no doubt, and do it the white monkey's damage. We wanted to get at his heart, did we? But his heart was an obsidian knife.

He hated us, and gave off a black steam of hate, that filled the patio and made one feel sick. He did not come to the kitchen, he did not carry the water. At lunch-time on Monday he said he wanted to leave. He said he wanted to go back to his village. He sat motionless on his bench all the afternoon, in the Indian stupor of gloom and profound hate.

In the evening, he cheered up a little and said he would stay on, at least till Easter. More stupor and gloom and hate. He wanted to go back to his village at once. No one wanted to keep him against his will. Another mozo would be found at once. He went off in the numb stupor of gloom and hate, a very potent hate that could affect one in the pit of one's stomach with nausea.

Wednesday, therefore, we would go to market, the Nina--that is the mistress--myself, and Rosalino with the basket. He loved to go to market with the patrones. We would give him money and send him off to bargain for oranges, pitahayas , potatoes, eggs, a chicken, and so forth. This he simply loved to do. It put him into a temper to see us buying without bargaining, and paying ghastly prices.

He bargained away, silent almost, muttering darkly. It took him a long time, but he had far greater success than even Natividad, the cook. And he came back in triumph, with much stuff and little money spent. The Indians of the hills have a heavy, intense sort of attachment to their villages; Rosalino had not been out of the little city for two years. Suddenly finding himself in Huayapa, a real Indian hill-village, the black Indian gloom of nostalgia must have made a crack in his spirits.

But he had been perfectly cheerful--perhaps too cheerful--till we got home. They are all crazy to have their photographs taken. I had given him an envelope and a stamp, to send a photograph to his mother. Because in his village he had a widow mother, a brother, and a married sister. The family owned a bit of land, with orange-trees. The best oranges come from the hills, where it is cooler. Seeing the photographs, the mother, who had completely forgotten her son, as far as any keen remembering goes, suddenly, like a cracker going off inside her, wanted him: So she sent an urgent message.

But already it was Wednesday afternoon. Arrived a little fellow in white clothes, smiling hard. It was the brother from the hills. Now, we thought, Rosalino will have someone to walk back with. On Friday, after the fiesta , he would go. Thursday, he escorted us with the basket to the fiesta.

He bargained for flowers, and for a sarape which he didn't get, for a carved jicara which he did get, and for a number of toys. The basket grew heavy. The brother appeared, to carry the hen and the extra things. He was perfectly happy again. He didn't want to go on Friday; he didn't want to go at all. He wanted to stay with us and come with us to England when we went home.

So, another trip to the friend, the Mexican, who had found us the other mozo. Now to put off the other boy again: And the Mexican, who had known Rosalino when he first carne down from the hills and could speak no Spanish, told us another thing about him.

In the last revolution--a year ago--the revolutionaries of the winning side wanted more soldiers from the hills. The alcalde of the hill-village was told to pick out young men and send them down to the barracks in the city. Rosalino was among the chosen. But Rosalino refused, said again No quiero! He is one of those, like myself, who have a horror of serving in a mass of men, or even f being mixed up with a mass of men. He obstinately refused, Whereupon the recruiting soldiers heat him with the butts of their rifles till he lay unconscious, apparently dead.

Then, because they wanted him at once, and he would now be no good for some time, with his injured back, they left him, to get the revolution over without him. Yet that little Aurelio, the friend's mozo , who is not above four feet six in height, a tiny fellow, fared even worse, He, too, is from the hills. In this village, a cousin of his gave some information to the losing side in the revolution. The cousin wisely disappeared. But in the city, the winning side seized Aurelio, since he was the cousin of the delinquent.

In spite of the fact that he was the faithful mozo of a foreign resident, he was flung into prison. Prisoners in prison are not fed. Either friends or relatives bring them food, or they go very, very thin. Aurelio had a married sister in town, but she was afraid to go to the prison lest she and her husband should be seized. The master, then, sent his new mozo twice a day to the prison with a basket; the huge, huge prison, for this little town of a few thousands.

Meanwhile the master struggled and struggled with the 'authorities'--friends of the people--for Aurelio's release. Nothing to be done. One day the new mozo arrived at the prison with the basket, to find no Aurelio. A friendly soldier gave the message Aurelio had left. The master rushed to the train: Months later, Aurelio reappeared. He was in rags, haggard, and his dark throat was swollen up to the ears. He had been taken off, two hundred miles into Vera Cruz State. He had been hung up by the neck, with a fixed knot, and left hanging for hours.

To make the cousin come and save his relative: To make the absolutely innocent fellow confess: Everybody knew he was innocent. At any rate, to teach everybody better next time. Aurelio escaped, and took to the mountains. Sturdy little dwarf of a fellow, he made his way back, begging tortillas at the villages, and arrived, haggard, with a great swollen neck, to find his master waiting, and another 'party' in power. More friends of the people. The master nursed Aurelio well, and Aurelio is a strong, if tiny, fellow, with big, brilliant black eyes that for the moment will trust a foreigner, but none of his own people.

A dwarf in stature, but perfectly made, and very strong. And very intelligent, far more quick and intelligent than Rosalino. Not to be caught! It must have been the prevailing motive of Indian-Mexico life since long before Montezuma marched his prisoners to sacrifice. This is the last Saturday before Christmas. The next year will be momentous, one feels. This year is nearly gone. Dawn was windy, shaking the leaves, and the rising sun shone under a gap of yellow cloud.

But at once it touched the yellow flowers that rise above the patio wall, and the swaying, glowing magenta of the bougainvillea, and the fierce red outbursts of the poinsettia. The poinsettia is very splendid, the flowers very big, and of a sure stainless red.

They call them Noche Buenas, flowers of Christmas Eve. These tufts throw out their scarlet sharply, like red birds ruffling in the wind of dawn as if going to bathe, all their feathers alert. This for Christmas, instead of holly-berries. Christmas seems to need a red herald. The yucca is tall, higher than the house. It is, too, in flower, hanging an arm's-length of soft creamy bells, like a yard-long grape-cluster of foam. And the waxy bells break on their stems in the wind, fall noiselessly from the long creamy bunch, that hardly sways. The coffee-berries are turning red.

The hibiscus flowers, rose-coloured, sway at the tips of the thin branches, in rosettes of soft red. In the second patio , there is a tall tree of the flimsy acacia sort. Above itself it puts up whitish fingers of flowers, naked on the blue sky. And in the wind these fingers of flowers in the bare blue sky, sway, sway with the reeling, roundward motion of tree-tips in a wind. A restless morning, with clouds lower down, moving also with a larger roundward motion. Best to go out in motion too, the slow roundward motion like the hawks. Everything seems slowly to circle and hover towards a central point, the clouds, the mountains round the valley, the dust that rises, the big, beautiful, white-barred hawks, gabilanes , and even the snow-white flakes of flowers upon the dim palo-blanco tree.

Even the organ cactus, rising in stock-straight clumps, and the candelabrum cactus, seem to be slowly wheeling and pivoting upon a centre, close upon it. Strange that we should think in straight lines, when there are none, and talk of straight courses, when every course, sooner or later, is seen to be making the sweep round, swooping upon the centre.

When space is curved, and the cosmos is sphere within sphere, and the way from any point to any other point is round the bend of the inevitable, that turns as the tips of the broad wings of the hawk turn upwards, leaning upon the air like the invisible half of the ellipse. If I have a way to go, it will be round the swoop of a bend impinging centripetal towards the centre.

The straight course is hacked out in wounds, against the will of the world. Yet the dust advances like a ghost along the road, down the valley plain. The dry turf of the valley-bed gleams like soft skin, sunlit and pinkish ochre, spreading wide between the mountains that seem to emit their own darkness, a dark-blue vapour translucent, sombring them from the humped crests downwards. The many-pleated, noiseless mountains of Mexico. And away on the footslope lie the white specks of Huayapa, among its lake of trees. It is Saturday, and the white dots of men are threading down the trail over the bare humps to the plain, following the dark twinkle-movement of asses, the dark nodding of the woman's head as she rides between the baskets.

Saturday and market-day, and morning, so the white specks of men, like sea-gulls on plough-land, come ebbing like sparks from the palo-blanco , over the fawn undulating of the valley slope. They are dressed in snow-white cotton, and they lift their knees in the Indian trot, following the ass where the woman sits perched between the huge baskets, her child tight in the rebozo , at the brown breast.

And girls in long, full, soiled cotton skirts running, trotting, ebbing along after the twinkle-movement of the ass. Down they come in families, in clusters, in solitary ones, threading with ebbing, running, barefoot movement noiseless towards the town, that blows the bubbles of its church-domes above the stagnant green of trees, away under the opposite fawn-skin hills. But down the valley middle comes the big road, almost straight.

You will know it by the tall walking of the dust, that hastens also towards the town, overtaking, overpassing everybody. Overpassing all the dark little figures and the white specks that thread tinily, in a sort of underworld, to the town. From the valley villages and from the mountains the peasants and the Indians are coming in with supplies, the road is like a pilgrimage, with the dust in greatest haste, dashing for town.

Dark-eared asses and running men, running women, running girls, running lads, twinkling donkeys ambling on fine little feet, under twin baskets with tomatoes and gourds, twin great nets of bubble-shaped jars, twin bundles of neat-cut faggots of wood, neat as bunches of cigarettes, and twin net-sacks of charcoal. Donkeys, mules, on they come, pannier baskets making a rhythm under the perched woman, great bundles bouncing against the sides of the slim-footed animals. A baby donkey trotting naked after its piled-up dam, a white, sandal-footed man following with the silent Indian haste, and a girl running again on light feet.

Onwards, on a strange current of haste. And slowly rowing among the, foot-travel, the ox-wagons rolling solid wheels below the high net of the body. Slow oxen, with heads pressed down nosing to the earth, swaying, swaying their great horns as a snake sways itself, the shovel-shaped collar of solid wood pressing down on their necks like a scoop. On, on between the burnt-up turf and the solid, monumental green of the organ cactus.

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