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Quetzalcoatl and The Plumed Serpent

The importance of the early version [Quetzalcoatl] of Lawrence's Mexican novel [The Plumed Serpent] lies mainly in his treatment of the heroine, so different from his treatment of the heroine of The Plumed Serpent. In the early version Kate Burns, Irish widow of a failed Irish patriot, is a woman of tenacious independence and strong individuality who has lost faith in political revolutions. As the Mexican revolution, based on an effort to revive the Aztec gods, develops in the novel, Kate watches its growth with a mixture of fascination, revulsion, and sympathy. But in the end she does not agree to join the movement, quite unlike the heroine of The Plumed Serpent, who reluctantly accedes to all the demands of the two revolutionary leaders Don Ramon and General Cipriano. In the final version Don Ramon is the dominant figure, through his sermons, prophecies, and poems, while in the early version Kate emerges as the filtering consciousness that dominates the book with her doubts and her strongly maintained independence. The Plumed Serpent, we might say, is a book of prophecy in the Biblical sense, while the early version presents the story of a European consciousness witnessing and almost participating in an attempt to revive the pagan gods. Quetzalcoatl was the title that Lawrence wanted to give his novel, but his publisher objected to the strange name of the Aztec god, and so, for the final version published in 1926, Lawrcncc accepted the translation, The Plumed Serpent, with the name Quetzalcoatl placed in brackets below.


Back now in Mexico, at Oaxaca, in the fall of 1924, [Lawrence] ... felt much more strongly what he had felt before coming to America: his conviction that only a new religious revival could bring life again to the Western world a life that might arise from the native soil of America and burst through the imported crust of European modes of life and thought, to create a new era of human existence. And so, as he made his final revision, he added the long scrmons of Ramon, leader of the new religious movement, prophet and "manifestation" of the Aztec fertility god, Quetzalcoatl sermons composed in the style of the biblical prophets. He increased the number and length of the songs and hymns of Quetzalcoatl. He expanded the rituals and symbols of this religious movement. He added long conversations and disquisitions on philosophical, theological, political, and even biological themes. Through these additions, and through many paragraphs and pages of his own ruminations, Lawrence attempted to create a complete mythology for his new religion, combining the sensual and the spiritual, the sexual and the divine, the religious and the political, in a mass-movement led by an inspired, indomitable religious Ieader, accompanied by a powerful military figure the "manifestation" of the Aztec war-god, Huitzilopochtli.

This is a movement that salutes its leader by raising the right arm straight up toward the sky, palm level with the ground: not quite either the Fascist or the Communist gesture, but close enough to be menacing to readers of our time. Yet Lawrence was writing in 1923-25; he knew nothing of Hitler. He knew, however, what was happening in Russia, and he knew at first hand what was happening in Italy, for he had been living there in the early 1920s, and he did not like what he saw. ...

Why, then, did he create this mass-movement under Don Ramon? Lawrence had apparently sensed in Europe a despair that would lead to the acceptance or the welcoming of a hypnotic Leader as a last resort. His prophetic sense was to this extent true; he saw as well the potential danger in the cult of the Leader accompanied by a General, for he makes both figures express fierce anger, bitter hatred, and an urge toward violent destruction tendencies that are held under control by the religious faith of Don Ramon, as we can see from their conversations in both versions of the novel. But Quetzalcoatl provides a much more powerful questioning of this mass-movement by filtering the account of its rise through the central consciousness of the heroine, Kate Burns, Irish widow of a failed Irish patriot, a woman of strong individuality who has lost faith in political revolutions. She watches with a mixture of fascination, revulsion, and sympathy as this religious movement takes shape, but she does not agree-to do the three things that she docs in The Plumed Serpent: she does not agree to marry General Cipriano Viedma; she does not agree to become the manifestation of the rain-goddess, Malintzi (or "Malinchl," as she is called in chapter XIII of Quetzalcoatl); and, most important, she does not agree to stay in Mexico. In the final version, despite her many doubts and disagreements, in the end she reluctantly submits to "manhood": she marries the general, accepts the role of Malintzi, and ends the novel by pleading with the general: "You won't let me go."


WRITTEN HYMNS OF QUETZALCOATL

I sat up, and the stone went rolling, crashing down the gulfs of space. " I said to myself : I am new man. I am younger than the young and older than the old. Lo! I am unfolded on the stem of time like a flower, I am at the midst of the flower of my manhood. Neither do I ache with desire, to tear, to burst the bud; neither do I yearn away like a seed that floats into heaven. The cup of my flowering is unfolded, in its middle the stars float balanced with array. My stem is in the air, my roots are in all the dark, the sun is no more than a cupful within me. Lo! I am neither young nor old, I am the flower unfolded, I am new. " So I rose and stretched my limbs and looked around. The sun was below me in a daze of heat, like a hot humming-bird hovering at mid-day over the worlds. And his beak was long and very sharp, he was like a dragon. And a faint star was hesitating wearily, waiting to pass. I called aloud, saying Who is that?

My name is Jesus, I am Mary's son.
I am coming home.
My mother the Moon is dark.

Brother, Quetzalcoatl,
Hold back the wild hot sun.
Bind him with shadow while I pass.
Let me come home.

I caught the sun and held him and in my shade the faint star slipped past, going sIowIy into the dark reaches beyond the burning of the sun. Then on the slope of silence he sat down and took off his sandals, and I put them on. How do they wear the wings of love, Jesus, the Mexican people? The souls of the Mexican people are heavy for the wings of love, they have swallowed the stone of despair.' Where is your Lady Mother in the mantle of blue, she with comfort in her lap?" "Her mantle faded in the dust of the world, she was weary without sleep, for the voices of people cried night and day, and the knives of the Mexican people were sharper than the pinions of love, and their stubbornness was stronger than hope. Lo ! the fountain of tears dries up in the eyes of the old, and the lap of the aged is comfortless, they look for rest. Quetzalcoatl, Sir, my mother went even before me, to her still white bed in the moon.' ' She is gone, and thou are gone, Jesus, the Crucified. Then what of Mexico? ' "I The images stand in their churches, Oh Quetzalcoati, they don't know that I and my Mother have departed. They ar,e angry souls, Brother, my Lord ! They vent their anger. They broke my Churches, they stolc my strength they withered the lips of the Virgin. They drove us away, and we crept away like a tottering old man and a woman, tearless and bent double with age. So we fled while they were not looking. And we seek but rest, to forget forever the children of men who have swallowed the stone of despairs.' "Then said I : It is good, pass on. I, Quetzalcoatl, will go down. Sleep thou the sleep without dreams. Farewell at the cross-roads, Brother Jesus. "He said : Oh, Quetzalcoatl! They have forgotten thee. The feathered snake ! The serpent-silent bird ! They are asking for none of thee. "I said : Go thy way, for the dust of earth is in thy eyes and on thy lips. For me the serpent of middle-earth sleeps in my loins and my belly, the bird of the outer air perches on my brow and sweeps her bill across my breast. But I, I am lord of two ways. I am master of up and down. I am as a man who is a new man, with new limbs and life, and the light of the Morning Star in his eyes. Lo! I am I! The lord of both ways. Thou wert lord of the one way. Now it leads thee to the sleep. Farewell ! So Jesus went on towards the sleep. And Mary the Mother of Sorrows lay down on the bed of the white moon, weary beyond any more tears. "And I, I am on the threshold. I am stepping across the border. I am Quetzalcoatl lord of both ways, star between day and the dark."


Frieda and Lawrence in Chapala 1923

AUTO DA FE

The day of Corpus Christi came, with high mass and the church full to the doors with kneeling peons, from dawn till noon. Then a feeble little procession of children within the church, because the law forbids religious processions outside. But all, somehow, for nothing. Just so that the people could call it a fiesta, and so have an excuse to be more slack, more slosby and uncontrolled than ever. The one Mexican desire; to let themselves go in sloppy inertia. And this was the all-in-all of the religion. Instead of doing as it should, collecting the soul into its own strength and integrity, the religious day left it all the more decomposed and degenerate. However, the weeks passed, the crowd in the church seemed the same as ever. But the crowd in the church one hour was the crowd of Quetzalcoatl the next hour. Just a sensation. Till the more socialistic Readers mingled a little anficlerical bitterness in their reading. And all the peons began to say : was El Sehor a gringo, and the Santisima, was she nothing but a gringita? This provoked retaliation on the part of the priests, first inere admonitions, then at last the loud denunciations and threat of that sermon. Which meant war. Everybody waited for Saturday. Saturday came, and the church remained shut. Saturday night, the church was dark and closed. Sunday, the church was silent and the doors blank fastened. Something like consternation spread through the market host. They bad nowhere to go -But among the consternation was a piqued curiosity. Perhaps something exciting was going to happen. Things had happened before. In the revolutions, many of the churches in Mexico have been used for stables and for barracks. And churches are turned into schools, and concert halls, and cinematograph theatres. The convents and the monasteries are most of them barracks for the rag-tag-andbobtail soldiers. The world changes, is bound to change. The second Saturday of the closed church was, as it happened, a big market. Much fruit and stuff had come up the lake, from the south frtim far distances, even froni Colima. There were men with lacquer wooden bowls, and women with glazed pottery. And as usual, men crouching in guard over twenty centavos worth of nauseous tropical plums, or chiles, or mangoes, in tiny pyramids along the roadway. A crowded market, with the much and the little of the Indians. And the church doors shut and locked, the church bells silent, even the clock stopped. True, the clbck was always stopping. But not with such a final arrest. No mass, no confession, no little orgy of incense and slack emotion I The low rumble of murmuring tones, the quick, apprehensive glances around. Vendors by the causeway squatted tight, as if to make themselves dense and small, squatting down on their haunches with their knees up to their shoulders, like the Aztec idols. And soldiers in twos and threes sprinkled everywhere. And Sefioras and Sefioritas, in their black gauze scarves or mantillas, tripping to the church for mass and shrilling round the gateway of the church, all a bubble and a froth of chatter; though they had known quite well the church was shut. But it was Sunday morning, and something was due to happen. At about half-past ten, a boat appeared, and men in snowwhite clothes got out, one carrying a drum. They marched quickly through the people, under the old trees on the sand, across to the church. They passed through the broken iron gates into the stone courtyard in front of the church. At the church doors, which were still shut, they took off their blouses, and stood in a ring, with dark naked shoulders and the blue-and-black sashes of Quetzalcoatl round their waists.

The drum began to beat, with a powerful, pounding note, as the men stood bare-headed and bare-breasted in a circle )utside the church doors; a strange ring of lustrous, blueyack heads and dark shoulders, above the snowy white ,'pantaloons. Monotonously the drum beat, on and on. Then the little clay flute with the husky sound wheezed a clear melody. The whole market pressed densely towards the gateways of the church. But there, soldiers stood guard. And on the inside of the stone yard in front of the church, soldiers quietly guarded the low walls, letting nobody mount. So that outside, under the old willow and pepper trees, in the hot morning sun, the dense crowd stood gazing at the church doors. They were mostly men in big hats; bat some townsmen were there, and some won-ten, and Kate with a parasol lined with dark blue. A close, silent, tense throng under the spangled shade, pressing round the trunks of tfie palm trees, climbing on the roots of the pepper trees. And behind were the camions and the motor-cars drawn up. The drum shuddered and went still, and the earthen flute was silent. The lake could be heard lapping, and a clink of glasses and a sound of chauffeurs' voices at the little cantina-booth. For the rest, the silent breathing of the crowd. Soldiers were quickly distributing a few leaflets among the crowd. A strong, far-carrying male voice began to sing to the softened thud of the drum.

Jesus' Farewell.

Farewell, Farewell, Despedida!
The last of my days is gone.
To-morrow Jesus and Holy Mary
Will be bone.

It is a long, long way
From Mexico to the Pool of Heaven
Look back the last time,
Mary Mother
Let us call the eleven.

James, and John, and Mark,
Felipe and San Cristobal,
All my saints, and Anna, Teresa,
Guadalupe whose face is oval

Come then, now, it is finished for all of us.
Let us all be gone.
Follow me now up the ladders of sparks,
Every one.

Joaquin, Francis, and Anthony
And many-named Maria,
Purisima, Refugia and
Soledad Follow here.

Ho! all my saints and my
Virgins Troop out of your shrines,
After your master, the Crucified;
Bring all your signs.

Run up the flames, and with feet on the sparks
Troop into the sky.
Once more following the Master,
Back again now, on high.

Farewell, let all be forgotten
In Mexico.
To the pool of peace and forgetting in beaven
We go.

While this was singing, another boat bad arrived, and soldiers made way through the crowd for Ramon, in his, white sarape with the blue edges and scarlet fringe, and a young priest of the church in a black cassock, and six men in dark sarapes with the blue borders of Quetzalcoatl. This strange procession marched through the crowd and through the gateways of the yard. As they approached, the ring of men round the drum opened, and spread into a crescent. Ramón stood tall behind the drum, the six men in dark sarapes divided and went to the wings of the crescent, the young, slim priest in a black cassock stood alone, in front of the crescent, facing the crowd. He lifted his hand; Ramon took off his hat; all the men in the crowd took off their hats. The priest turned, met Ramón at the centre of the crescent, and, across the drum, handed him the key of the church. Then the priest waited.

Ramón unlocked the church doors and flung them open. The men in front of the crowd kneeled down suddenly, seeing the church dark like a cavern, but a trembling blaze of 'many candles, away, seemingly far down the mysterious darkness, shuddering with dark, rippling flame, like the Presence of the burning bush. The crowd swayed and rustled, and subsided, kneeling. Only here and there a Tabourer, a chauffeur or a railway man stood erect. The priest raised his hand a little higher, re-turning ,towards the people. 11 My children," he said; and as he spoke the lake seemed to rustle; " God the Almighty has called home His Son, and the Holy Mother of the Son. Their days are over in Mexico. They go back to the Father.

Jesus, the Son of God, bids you farewell.
Mary, the Mother of God, bids you farewell.
For the last time they bless you, as they leave you.
Answer Adios! Say Adios! my children.

The men in the circle said a deep Adios! And from the soldiers, and from the kneeling crowd, a ragged, muttered, Btrange repeating of Adios! again and again, like a sort of storm. Suddenly, in a blast, down the darkness of the church into which the kneeling people were staring, the burning bugh of candles was gone, there was only darkness. Across the sunshine, lit here and there by a trail light of a taper, was a cave of darkness. Men in the crowd exclaimed and groaned. Then the drum softly touched, and two men in the crescent began to sing, in magnificent, terrible voices, the Farewell Hymn again. They were men whom Ramon, or bis followers, had found in low drinking dens in Mexico City, men with trained and amazing voices, the powerful Alexican tenor that seemed to tear the earth open. Men whom the 11 times 11 bave reduced to singing in low city dives. And now they sang with all the terrible, desperation that was in them, the hopeless, demonish recklessness.

When they finished, the priest again lifted his hand, and gave the benediction; adding in a quiet voice : " And now, with all the saints, let Me go, saith Jesus. For I go back to my Father which is in heaven, and I lead my Mother in my right hand, home to peace." He turned and went into the church. Ramon followed. Then slowly, all the men of the crescent. Overhead the church bell rang a little while, on the deathly silence. It ceased. And in a moment, from the depths of the church sounded a drum, with a remote, fearsome thud, and a slow monotony. The priest, in his white vestments with rich lace, appeared in the doorway of the church, bearing a tall crucifix. He hesitated, then came into the sun. The kneeling people clasped their hands. Candles in the dark church were clustering towards the door, lonely flames. Don Ramón came out of the dark, naked to the waist, his sarape over one shoulder, bearing the front pole of the great bier whereon lies, within a glass case, the lifelike, terrible dead Christ of Holy Week. A tall, dark man, naked to the waist, held the other end of the pole on his shoulder. The crowd moaned and crossed themselves. The lifelike Dead Christ seemed really dead, as he passed the gates. As He entered the crowd, kneeling men and women lifted sightless fitces and flung their arms wide apart, and so remained, arms rigid and outflung, in an unspeakable ecstasy of fear, supplication, acknowledgement of death. After the bier of the Dead Christ, a slow procession of men naked to the waist, carrying litter after litter. First the terrible scourged Christ, with naked body striped like a tiger with blood. Then the image of the Saviour of the Sacred Heart, the well-known figure from the side altar, with long hair and outstretched hands. Then the image of Jesus of Nazareth, with a crown of Thorns. Then the Virgin with the blue mantle and lace, and the golden crown. The women began to moan as she emerged rather trashily into the blazing sunlight. Behind her, in the church, the candles were one by one going out. Then came brown Saint Anthony of Padua, with a ebild in his arms. Then Saint Francis, looking strangely at a cross in his hand. Then Saint Anna. And last, Saint Joaquin. And as he emerged, the last candles in the dark church went out, there were only open doors upon a darkness. The images on the shoulders of the brown-skinned men rode rather childishly out through the blazing sun, into the shadow of trees. The drum followed last, slowly thuddinL7. On the glass case of the big Dead Christ the sun flashed with startling flashes, as the powerful men carrying it turned towards the water. The crowd murmured and swayed on its knees. Women cried: Purisima! Purisimal Don't leave us! and some men ejaculated in strangled anguish, over and over again : Senor! Senorl Senorl But the strange procession made its way slowly under the trees, to the coarse sands, and descended again into the great light towards the lake. There was a little breeze under a blaze of sun. Folded sarapes on naked, soft shoulders swung unevenly, the images rocked and tottered a little. But onwards to the edge of the water went the tall crucifix, then the flashing glass box. And after, came Jesus in a red silk robe, fluttering, then a wooden Jesus all paint and streaks, then Jesus in white with a purple mantle that blew like a kerchief, Mary in lace that fluttered upon stiff white and blue satin. But the saints were only painted; painted wood. The slim, lace-smocked priest staggered down the sand under the heavy crucifix, which had a white Christ Crucified stretched aloft, facing the lake. By the little wall was a large black canoa, sailing boat, with a broad plank gangway up to her stern. Two bare-legged, white-clad men walked by the slim priest, whose white sleeves blew like flags as be slowly climbed the gangway to the ship. Men helped him on board, and he walked away to the prow, where at length he stood the big crucifix, with the Christ still facing outwards. The ship was open, without deck or hatches, but with fixed tables for the images. Slowly Ramon ascended and descended into the boat, the great glass case was laid down on its rest, the two men could wipe their wet brows and their hot, black hair. Ramón put on his blanket and his bat, against the sun. The boat heaved very slightly. The wind was from the west. The lake was pale and unreal, sunblinded.

One after another the images rose over the stem of the boat, against the sky, then descended into the vessel, to be set down on their rests, where they rose above the black sides of the canoa, in view of the throng on the shore. It was a strange and tawdry collection of images. And yet, each image had a certain pathos of its own, and a certain touch of horror, as they were grouped together for their last ride, upon the trestle-supports within the vessel. By each image stood the bearers, in bats and sarapes, keeping a steady hand on the poles. There was a little line of soldiers on the shore, and three motor-boats with soldiers waited by the big canoa. The shore was covered with a mass of people. Many row-boats came rowing inquisitively round, like fishes. But none came too near. Bare-legged sailors began to pole the ship from the shore. They leaned heavily on the poles, and walked along the rims of the vessel. Slowly she began to move upon the waters, in the shallows. Slowly, she was leaving the shore. and the throng. Two other sailors swiftly began to hoist the huge, square white sail. Quickly, yet heavily it rose in the air, and took the wind. It had the great sign of Quetzalcoatl, the circling blue snake and the blue eagle upon a yellow field, at the centre, like a great eye. The wind came from the west, but the boat was steering south-east, for the little Island of the Scorpions, which rose like a small dim hummock from the haze of the lake. So the sail reached out,'and the great eye seemed to be glancing back, at the village with the green willows and the empty white church, the throng on the shore. Motor-boats circled the buge, slow canoe, small boats like insects followed and ranged round at a distance, never coming too close. The running water clucked and spoke, the men by the images steadied the poles with one hand, their hati with the other, the great eye on the sail ever looked back at the land, the sweep of the white canvas sweeping low above the glass case of death, the Christ caked with gore, the images in their fluttering mantles. On the shore, the people wandered away, or sat on the sands waiting and watching in a sort of dumb patience that was half indifference. The canoe grew smaller, more inconspicuous, lapsing into-the light, the little boats circled around it like mere dots. The lake tired the eyes with its light. Away under the trees, '.n a half silence, a half vacancy, a woman bought a dark water-melon, smashed it open on a stone, and gave the big pinky fragments to her children. In silence, men sprinkled salt on the thick slice of cucumber sold by the woman under the tree. In silence they wandered into the church, past the soldiers on guard at the door. The church was absolutely dark, save for the light that entered the doorway, and absolutely bare; walls, floor. altar, transepts, all stark bare and empty. The people wandered away again, in silence. It was noon, and a hot day. The canoa slowlv raneed to the small hummock of the island amid the waters, where lived one family of Indians-fishers, with a few goats and one dry little place where they grew a few beans and heads of maize. For the rest, the island was all d,ry rock and thorny bushes, and scorpions. The vessel was poled round to the one rocky bay. Slowly she drew near the island. The motor-boats and the little boats hurried ahead. Already brown, naked men were bathing aniong the rocks. The great sail sank, the canoa edged up to the rocky shore, men sprang from her into the water, the images were lowered and slowly carried on to the rocks. There they waited for the bearers. Slowly the procession went again up the bank of the dishevelled island, past the couple of huts, where a red cock was crowing among the litter, and over to rocks, beyond the bushes, on the far side. The side facing Sayula was all rock, naked and painful to tread on. In a rocky hollow at the waters' edge, tall stones had been put up on end, with iron bars across the top, like a grill. Underneath, a pile of faggots ready; and at the side, a pile of faggots. The images, the glass box of the great Dead Christ, were laid on the iron bars of the grill, in a pathetic cluster all together. The crucifix was leaned against them. It was noon, the heat and the light were fierce and erect. But already down the lake clouds were pushing up fantastically. Beyond the water, beyond the glare, the village looked like a mirage, with its trees and villages and white church towers. Men who had come in boats crowded on the rocks of the little amphitheatre. In silence, Ramon kindled shreds of cane and ocote, with a burning glass. Little hasty flames like young snakes arose in the solid sunlight, with vapor of smoke. He set fire to the carefully-arranged pyramid of faggots beneath the grill-table of the images. There was a crackling, and a puffing of whitish smoke, the sweet scent of ocote, and orange-red tongues of -halfsubstantial flame were leaping up in the hot white air. Hot breaths blew suddenly, sudden flames gushed up, and the ocote, full of sweet resin, began to roar. The glass of th6 great box emitted strange, painful yelps as it splintered and fell tinkling. Between the iron bars, brownish flames pushed up among the images, which at once went black. The little vestments of silk and satin withered in a moment to blackness, the caked wounds of paint bubbled black. The young priest took off his linen vestment, his stole and his chasuble, and with flushed face flung them in the flame. Then he stripped off his black cassock, and emerged in the white cotton of the men of Quetzalcoatl, his white drawers rolled up to the knee. He threw his cassock in the fire. Someone handed him a big hat, and a white sarape with blue ends. There was a smell of burning paint, and wool, and ocote. The fire rushed in a dusky mass upon the blackened, flickering images, till nothing was to be seen but a coni used bush of smoke and brown-red flames, puthering, reeking, roaring. The flaming crucifix slipped aside, and fell. A man seized it and pushed it into the fire, under the images. Men in a sort of ecstasy threw on more of the heavy, resinous wood, that almost exploded into flame. Rocks cracked and exploded like guns. Everybody drew back from that roaring tree of flame, which rose ever higher and higher, its dark smoke and its sparks unfolding into heaven. One of the supporting stones burst with a bang, bars of iron and blazing stumps of images tumbled in a confused roar. The glass case had disappeared, but ribbons of iron waved, then curled over red, into the torrent -f the sudden fire. Strange rods of iron appeared out of nowhere, protruding from solid red coals.

And soon, all that was left was a fierce glow of red coals of wood, with a medley of half-fused iron. Ramón stood aside and watched in silence, his dark brow quite expressionless. Then, when only the last bluish flames flickered out of a tumble of red fire, from the eminence above, rockets began to shoot into the air with a swish, exploding high in the sightless hot blue, with a glimmer of bluish showers, and of gold. The people from the shore had seen the tree of smoke with its trunk of flame. Now they heard the heavy firing of the rockets, they looked again, exclaiming, half in dismay, half in the joyful lust of destruction : " Sehor! Senor! La Purisima! La Santisima ! The flame and the smoke and the rockets melted as if by miracle, into nothingness, leaving the hot air unblemished. The coals of fire were shovelled and dropped down a steep hole. As the canoa saued back, the side of the lake, through filmy air, looked brownish and changeless. A cloud was rising in the south-west, from behind the dry, silent moun tains, like a vast white tail, like the vast white fleecy taij of some squirrel, that had just dived out of sight behind the mountains. This wild white tail fleeced up and up, to the zenith, straight at the sun. And as the canoa spread her sail to tack back, already a delicate film of shadow was over the chalk-white lake. Only on the low end of the isle of Scorpions, hot air still quivered. Ramón returned in one of the motor-boats. Slowly the sky was clouding for the thunder and the rain. The canoa, unable to make ber way across, was sailing for Tuliapan. The little boats hurried in silence. They landed before the wind rose. Ramón went and locked the doors of the church. The crowd scattered in the wind, rebozos waving wildly, leaves torn, dust racing. Sayula was empty of God, and, at heart, they were glad.