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Page 397

CHAPTER XXIII - Huitzilopochtli's Night

came the procession of Huitzilopochtli, naked save for the black loin-cloths and the paint, and the scarlet feathers of the head-dresses. Cipriano had his face painted with a white jaw, a thin band of green stretched from his mouth, a band of black across his nose, yellow from his eyes, and scarlet on his brow. one green feather rose from his forehead, and behind his head a beautiful head-dress of scarlet feathers. A band of red was painted round his breast, yellow round his middle. The rest was ash-grey.
After him came his guard, their faces red, black, and white, their bodies painted as Cipriano's, and a scarlet feather rising from the back of their head. The hard, dry drum of Huitzilopochtli beat monotonously.
As the Living Huitzilopochtli came near the altar steps, the Living Quetzalcoatl rose and came to meet him. The two saluted, each covering his eyes with his left hand for a moment, then touching fingers with the right hand.
Cipriano stood before the statue of Huitzilopochtli, dipped his hand in a stone bowl, and giving the loud cry or whoop of Huitzilopochtli, lifted up his red hand. His guard uttered the loud cry, and quickly filed past, each man dipping his hand and raising his wet, red fist. The hard drums of Huitzilopochtli rattled like madness in the church, then fell suddenly silent.
Ramon: `Why is your hand red, Huitzolopochtli, my brother?'
Cipriano: `It is the blood of the treacherous, Oh Quetzal coatl.'
Ramon: `What have they betrayed?'
Cipriano: `The yellow sun and the heart of darkness; the hearts of men, and the buds of women. While they lived, the Morning Star could not be seen.'
Ramon: `And are they verily dead?'
Cipriano: `Verily dead, my Lord.'
Ramon: `Their blood is shed?'
Cipriano: `Yes, my Lord, save that the grey dogs shed no blood. Two died the bloodless death of the grey dogs, three died in blood.'
Ramon: `Give me the blood of the three, my brother Huitzilopochtli, to sprinkle the fire.'
Cipriano brought the stone bowl, and the little bunch of

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