Books > Old Books > The Plumed Serpent (1926)


Page 334

CHAPTER XX - Marriage by Quetzalcoatl

They came to the broken pla.Za, with sun-decayed church and ragged palm trees. Emptiness, sun, sun-decay, sun-dilapidation. One man on a dainty Arab horse trotting lightly over the stones, gun behind, big hat making a dark face. For the rest, the waste space of the centre of life. Curious how dainty the horse looked, and the horseman sitting erect, amid the sunroasted ruin.
They came to a big building. A few soldiers were drawn up at the entrance. They saluted Cipriano as if they were transfixed, rolling their dark eyes.
Cipriano was down from his horse in a moment. Emitting the dark rays of dangerous power, he found the Jefe all obsequious; a fat man in dirty white clothes. They put their wills entirely in his power.
He asked for a room where his esposa could rest. Kate was pale and all her will had left her. He was carrying her on his will.
He accepted a large room with a brick-tiled floor and a large, new brass bed with a coloured cotton cover thrown over it, and with two chairs. The strange, dry, stark emptiness, that looked almost cold in the heat.
`The sun makes you pale. Lie down and rest. I will close the windows,' he said.
He closed the shutters till only a darkness remained.
Then in the darkness, suddenly, softly he touched her, stroking her hip.
`I said you were my wife,' he said, in his small, soft Indian voice. `It is true, isn't it?'
She trembled, and her limbs seemed to fuse like metal melting down. She fused into a molten unconsciousness, her will, her very self gone, leaving her lying in molten life, like a lake of still fire, unconscious of everything save the eternality of the fire in which she was gone. Gone in the fadeless fire, which has no death. Only the fire can leave us, and we can die.
And Cipriano the master of fire. The Living Huitzilopochtli, he had called himself. The living firemaster. The god in the flame; the salamander.
One cannot have one's own way, and the way of the gods. It has to be one or the other.
When she went out into the next room, he was sitting alone,

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