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Page 172

CHAPTER X - Don Ramon and Dona Carlota

`Yes. Better not to bring you.'
`No, Nina! I like to come, very much!'
The tall windmill fan for drawing up water from the lake was spinning gaily. A little valley came down from the niche in the hills, and at the bottom a little water running. Towards the lake, where this valley flattened out, was a grove of bananaplants, screened a little from the lake breeze by a vivid row of willow-trees. And on the top of the slope, where the road ran into the shade of mango-trees, were the two rows of adobe huts, like a village, set a little back from the road.
Women were coming up between the trees, on the patch from the lake, with jars of water on their shoulders; children were playing around the doors, squatting with little naked posteriors in deep dust; and here and there a goat was tethered. Men in soiled white clothes were lounging, with folded arms and one leg crossed in front of the other, against the corner of a house, or crouching under the walls. Not by any means dolce far niente. They seemed to be waiting, eternally waiting for something.
`That way, Senorita!' called the man with the basket, running to her side and indicating the smoother road sloping down between some big trees, towards the white gate of the bacienda. `We are here!'
Always he spoke with pleased delight, as if the place were a wonder-place to him.
The big doors of the !Zaguan, the entrance, stood open, and in the shade of the entrance-way a couple of little soldiers were seated. Across the cleared, straw-littered space in front of the gates two peons were trotting, each with a big bunch of bananas on his head. The soldiers said something, and the two peons halted in their trotting, and slowly turned under their yellow-green load, to look back at Kate and Juana and the man Martin, approaching down the road. Then they turned again and trotted into the courtyard, barefoot.
The soldiers stood up. Martin, trotting at Kate's side again, ushered her into the arched entrance, where the ox-wagons rumbling through had worn deep ruts. Juana came behind, making a humble nose.
Kate found herself in a big, barren yard, that seemed empty. There were high walls on the three sides, with sheds and

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