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IX
CAYBIGAN

WHEN Sergeant Blount's detachment marched into San Juan, and in the centre of the plaza grounded arms with a crash that ran along the stone flagging in vibrating menace, the little pueblo cowered in a completeness of fear and abject surrender never reached before. Like lizards a few brown beings here and there slid out of sight; and the big blue-shirted men, grouped there beneath the white sunlight, found themselves as in a vacuum of heat and silence. But they had an uneasy sensation of eyes, eyes timorous and hostile, shifting and malevolent, from behind closed shutters and torn nipa walls peering upon them in tremulous distrust. In her stall at the head of the street, Eustefania, hundred-year-old, wrinkled, black, toothless, was hastily gathering up her store—two mangoes, a cluster of bananas, a dozen rice cakes, five twine-wrapped cheroots—into her pañuelo with trembling hands. And Pedro Lasco, crouching upon the stone steps of the church, a cigarette between his fingers, found his simple and complex soul filled with a new and inexplicable tumult.

For from the man standing there at the head of the little troop there radiated Mastery. Pedro, in his blind, dark way, tried to analyse the impression, to find how this particular being differed from other tall, gaunt, brutal Americans that he had met in the past, before whom he had quailed physically, but never morally; but immediately he was submerged in that feeling he so hated—of confusion, blackness, bewilderment—which invariably seized him whenever he, man of a primitive race, sought to penetrate his own soul, obscure with complications beyond his power to read. This alone he could tell:—that this man, among his six-footers, towered by half a head, that his shoulders were broad, that his hair was golden like that of the Santa Madre seen once, long ago, in the cathedral at Lipa. Later, by patience of eye and obstinacy of contemplation he discovered other facts:—that the campaign hat of the Sergeant was wider-brimmed and more rakishly set than those of his fellow; that his belt hung down loose along the right thigh, to the weight of a huge, silver-mounted six-shooter which was not the regulation Colt's; that, when he walked, his feet tinkled with long, rotary spurs, and that a red bandana, knotted negligently about the neck, flamed up the blue and khaki with splendour.

The men stood at ease in the centre of the plaza. The Sergeant took from his breast pocket a cake of tobacco, bit off a piece with a slight swagger, then looked about him carefully. His eyes met those of Pedro. "Alica, caybigan—come here, friend!" he shouted with cavalier amicability.

"Caybigan—friend!" The obscure emotions in Pedro's breast surged suddenly into something almost definite, something big and soft that was sweet and compelled. Slowly he came down the steps in feline grace of movement and stood gravely before the big man, one foot slightly in front of the other, his right hand upon his pliable waist. The Sergeant looked down upon him, pulling at his blonde mustache. He smiled. The smile passed over Pedro in a shadow of indefinite discomfort; unconsciously he stiffened up, a little defiant.

"You take us to the best house here, caybigan," said the Sergeant.

The smile had gone, and that other sensation, of sweetness and good will, again possessed Pedro. "Opo," he answered simply.

And this was the beginning of the bond. Pedro showed the Sergeant the house best suited for cuartel, the natural spot for a horse-corral, the watering place at the river. That night, after he had been dismissed and had eaten his rice and fish, Pedro squatted long upon the bamboo floor of his little hut, pondering in his rudimentary way over the day's events. It was a poor hut, small, astonishingly bare; for Pedro's wealth was below, beneath the high, post-elevated floor. There, laid crosswise upon sustaining poles, were his hunting spears, harpoons, and paddles; keel-up upon the ground his banca, long, sharp-prowed, reptilian, and, hanging from post to post in heavy folds, ensilvered with fish-scales, his great dragnet. But his mind was not upon his riches; what he tried to read within him was dark and shifting; this only he could draw plainly from it:—a passionate desire to serve that big, golden-haired man with the jingling spurs, the red bandana, the rakish sombrero, to serve, blindly, unquestioning, like a dog, with fatigue of body, and outpouring of sweat, and tongue-licking of boots. But even this feeling was not clear like a simple flame; athwart it there leaped a contradictory shadow. The smile; it was the smile. Pedro tried to consider it squarely, but that bewilderment which possessed him always when he attempted to read his soul, complicated with complications of which he had not the key, seized him with acute distress; and with an impatient gesture he brushed away the obsession, as he would a fly buzzing importunately before his eyes. He lingered long upon the clearer impulse, the idea of service, of devotion. "Caybigan," he murmured softly; "caybigan"—and in the balmy silence of the night the drawled syllables hung long with lingering sweetness.

Early the next morning he was about the cuartel, and when the Sergeant emerged, splendid in the rising sun, he was standing before him, alert of body, grave of eyes. "Hello, caybigan," shouted the Sergeant gaily; "going to help me, eh?" He pulled at his golden moustache; he smiled. A vague discomfort possessed Pedro; unconsciously he drew back one step in deer-like movement. But as the smile disappeared and the Sergeant stood there, pensive with the day's plans, the impulse to serve this being, to toil, suffer for him, again swelled within his heart in choking longing. They were together all that day. Pedro took the Sergeant over the whole pueblo, pointed out the natural points of defense, of vulnerability, showed him where the outposts should be placed, took him to the ford, circled wide about the huddle of huts, discovering all the hidden trails radiating out to the plains, the hills, toward the lairs of the Insurrectos.

"Good-night, caybigan," said the Sergeant as they parted that evening.

"Paalan, caybigan," answered Pedro.

All day he had longed to slip that word "caybigan," and now he stood still a moment, tremulous like a wild thing, noting the effect. But the Sergeant seemed to accept. He turned on his heel with a gesture of the hand and tinkled into the cuartel, while Pedro sped to his hut, his heart in tumult. There he squatted long in the anguish of obscure analysis. It was the smile again, that almost imperceptible twitch of the corners of the mouth which the Sergeant had always as he looked down upon Pedro. Pedro tried to picture it there, in the darkness; but it eluded him mockingly, vivid before him for the time of a spark, then gone before he could pounce upon it, seize it in interpretation. It was a torturing game.

That day was only the first passed in a service that as time went on, grew increasingly closer, more exacting from the one, more sacrificing from the other. It was in the midst of the Bell campaign. Dragging the country like a net, there marched ceaselessly large bodies of men. Behind them nipa roared; black volutes of smoke rose heavily to the sky, broke against the turquoise lid and, rebounding, filled the air with acrid haze. At night the horizon glowed as with phosphorescence; great, scorched trees threw their thousand arms in hysterical gesture to a lurid heaven. The country took on a bleached, tortured, convulsive aspect. The rivers ran pink with the blood of slaughtered cattle. And night and day, along the highways, the awed populations passed, women with babies astride their hips, upon their heads pañuelos knotted about a few handfuls of rice; men limp-armed, empty-handed; barefooted they pattered along the roads in thousands, toward the reconcentration camps, noiseless, speechless, stupefied, sullen-eyed and half mad. But up in the hills grim Malvar, starving, still hung on; though some of his men began to trickle down, famished, enfevered, without volition, sucked down by the void of desolation made about them.

And the great cry, reiterated incessantly from headquarters, athrill in men's mouths, on telegraph and telephone, was a ceaseless "Get the guns; get the guns; get the guns!" And the soldiery, wild with powder, fire, and carnage; that great cry ringing in their enfevered brains like a hallucination, "got guns" by deeds which, in their rare, cooler moments, came back to them as incredible nightmares. It was in this work that Sergeant Blount, athirst for praise and splendour of fame, threw himself with his ferocious energy and that Pedro proved the invaluable helpmate. He had been a great hunter; he could track like an Apache; and to this he united a singular faculty for obtaining information among his people. To the two caybigans the slightest starting point sufficed—a rumour, for instance, that a man with a gun had passed a certain place at a certain time. Instantly they had saddled and were off, and from the spot Pedro trailed like a hound, leaping from sign to sign. Often the trail led into the bosom of the hills and regretfully they had to stop before the probability of disappearing into an insurrecto stronghold. But often also the trail, circling, doubled back to one of the few pueblos, such as San Juan, kept here and there like oases in the desert of desolation, as baits, as constant, hypnotising promise of ease, of rest, of plenty to the outlaws starving, desperate, in the hills. And then Pedro's more subtle faculty came to the fore. He questioned, threatened, cajoled, bluffed, pleaded, leaped from induction to induction, till he had settled upon the man, the treacherous "amigo" in league with the enemy. Sometimes even there Pedro's persuasive powers were enough; more often Blount then began to act—and there were scenes better left undescribed. So, little by little, the cuartel filled with a strange captured arsenal, and Blount's soul with satisfaction. Sometimes it was a Mauser, oiled, polished, pretty as a toy; more often a rusty Remington or German needle-gun; but also there were pathetic makeshifts—a piece of water-pipe tied to a rough-hewn block of wood, loaded by the muzzle and set off by the hot butt of a cigarette.

So Pedro rode, slept, ate, toiled with the Sergeant, and by the whole pueblo, soldier and native, he was called "Caybigan"; by all except Eustefania, crouching day after day like a mahogany sculpture upon the latticed floor of her little tienda. The old woman was jealous. One day when the soldiers, in wild hilarity, had seized upon her basket of embryo ducks cooked in the shell and were hurling them at each others' heads, Blount had interfered. And now, whenever he passed, splendid, along the street, the old woman, like a statue coming to life, descended tremulously from her pedestal and, running in front of him, bowed low and tried to kiss his hand.

And yet in this service, in this renunciation, Pedro did not find the complete satisfaction that he craved. A heavy uneasiness was with him always, in rest or work, in peace or peril; a dull irritation, an obscure anguish that he could not fathom, but which each day became more oppressive, more insistent. It was the smile of his caybigan. At night he faced the distress of mental analysis, hour after hour, contemplating fixedly that smile. In its presence a strange weakness, a subtle debility, possessed him; to resist this he dwelt upon his past achievements. He had been a great hunter of hill and water. At the deer runs he was always leading ginete, galloped madly after the tremulous game, hour after hour, over mountain, down precipice, till he had worn it down, rode flank to flank with it and, seizing the moment, plunged his long lance into the throbbing spot behind the shoulder. And once when a caiman had snatched his goat off the bank of the river, he had plunged into the black pool; seeking the saurian into the oozy depths where sullenly it lay like a rock upon its prey, he had twined about it his big net and, springing back to the surface, with his friends had triumphantly dragged it out to earth. Loud had been sung his praises during the fiesta that followed, while the viscous thief, corralled with bamboo poles, both eyes gouged out, died slowly beneath the sun, upon the baking strand. Yes, he was a big man; even his caybigan, with hair of gold and tinkling spurs, could he have done better? But before the smile, malign there in the dark, all this, all these deeds, this valour seemed bleached of colour and meaning. A heavy discouragement weighed upon him.

One night, at last, he came to a conclusion. And it expressed itself in one word, short and electric.

"Patay!" he said; "patay—kill!"

He would kill the smile.

He climbed down the bamboo ladder and, beneath the floor, went directly to the big net, hanging from post to post. From one of the flaccid folds he drew an object. In three leaps he was up again, and in the faint light of his little tin lamp, for a while he acted like a child with a doll. He crouched down, the thing upon his knee, spoke to it with tender accent, stroked it with long, gentle caress. But it was not a doll; it was a gun, a dainty Mauser carbine. It was oiled and polished, and beautiful, but he spent two hours over it, cleaning, oiling, snapping the delicate machinery. Then, with a sigh of satisfaction, he went down again and laid the precious toy among the secretive folds of the net.

The following evening, as in the moonlight the Sergeant rode out to inspect the outposts, a shot rang near and a bullet wailed overhead. Pedro, through the bush screening him, saw the great horse shy and rear, saw the Sergeant's graceful, almost lazy recover. Then man and beast stood still, black, statuesque in the sheen of moon, the horse with ears cocked forward, trembling beneath the compelling reining hand, the man erect and proud on the high-pommelled saddle. There was a silence long as infinity. The horse champed resoundingly at the heavy Mexican bit. Pedro panted. Slowly the Sergeant turned his head, from the thicket to the right, to the golden ribbon of road ahead, then smoothly, in imperceptible movement, to the left. His eyes were upon Pedro; they seemed to pierce the screen of brush to halt penetratingly upon the assassin. And upon the face, clear in the moonlight, appeared the smile.

A sense of immense helplessness whelmed Pedro; he crouched lower; his hands, flaccid, dropped their hold upon the gun which sank softly in the high cogon. There was a long, throbbing silence. Then the tinkle of spur rang out in silvery note. With an elastic bound the horse leaped forward, immediately to be checked by the powerful guiding hand; and slowly they moved down the moonlit road, horse and man, huge, black, granite-hewn—unconquerable.

But Pedro, sneaking back, low behind the thicket, pressed both hands to his breast as if to hold there the germ of an idea he felt within; and with feverish haste hiding his gun, he crouched down at his accustomed place to face it. It was a dolorous process. The thing sparked, flamed, wavered, went out completely, sparked anew. He contemplated it fixedly, encouraged it, fanned it; and finally for a moment it blazed, vivid, calm, unforgettable.

"Alipusta!" he shouted triumphantly; "alipusta—contempt!" "Alipusta," he repeated slowly, contemplatively, the triumph of discovery sinking into the ashes of realisation. Yes, that was it; it was contempt, that smile, the smile of his caybigan; contempt, thorough, tranquil, absolute.


II

During the following days, Pedro worked with renewed frenzy. There was some rumour of the presence of an Insurrecto camp near the pueblo somewhere. Pedro went about the taos, cajoled, threatened, flattered, begged, cross-questioned, menaced in the full exercise of his singular gift, progressing from rumour to probability, from probability to certainty, and then he searched the country like a hound, along subterranean trails, springing from trace to trace, hour after hour closer. But all the time he shot sly side glances at his big caybigan, in ambush for the smile, the smile of contempt which, as he worked more and more feverishly, nearer and nearer success, came to the Sergeant's lips with growing frequency, with less and less restraint, with increasing insolence. And at his heart a desire gnawed, a black, obscure desire for something, something—he could not tell what—something he could not determine, but which now was indispensable to him, without which he could not live; something that tasted like water to his thirst, but was not water. He wished no more to kill; the new longing overwhelmed the other more primitive impulse. It was something bigger, grander, more magnificent; it tore at his bowels, a want, vague, unnamable, but of corrosive violence. On the third day they located the camp; travelling sinuously along a trace of trail they saw at last, through the bamboo thicket, the pointed roof of the Insurrecto cuartel—a nipa hut in the centre of a clearing. They stopped a moment in consultation; then Pedro slid smoothly through the cogon toward the camp. Half-an-hour later he was back, sprang up suddenly as from the earth at the feet of the Sergeant.

"Tacbo—gone," he said.

The Sergeant was accustomed to such disappointments. Tilting back his wide-brimmed sombrero in philosophical gesture, he followed Pedro toward the clearing. But as they broke out of the thicket he gripped his guide's arm with iron fingers and with a bound threw himself back into cover. For before the hut human figures sprawled in feigned sleep, their guns stacked behind them, and at the windows shadowy forms lurked. "What the devil——" he began fiercely.

"Tacbo," reiterated Pedro; "manicâ—dolls," he added shortly.

The Sergeant understood, and with a swaggering clink of spurs stepped out again. It was as Pedro had said. The recumbent figures upon the ground were dummies of grass and cloth; the stacked guns were rough wooden counterfeits. They climbed the bamboo ladder into the house. More of the grotesque shapes were there, legs divergent and back-jointed; two leaned at the window, their hollow bellies bent at right angles over the sill, in solemn, peering attitudes. In the breeze their loose white camisas moved softly in undulating shivers; their big straw hats flapped like wings of bats. Hanging from the central rafter was a lamp, smouldering in yellow spark and sooty smoke; and against the harsh downpour of clear sunlight outside this little, soiled flame gave to the whole crew of contorted bodies an aspect of death, of carnage, of decay. The Sergeant caught himself sniffing the air. "Let's get out of this," he said.

They climbed down the rude stairs again, and instinct, more than Pedro's guidance, took the Sergeant to the right, some fifty yards into the bush—and there it was, the trench:—parallel to the trail, broad, deep, and all littered with signs of recent occupancy.

The Sergeant stood still, looking at the hut, at the trench, at the trail. He twirled his moustache pensively; muttered exclamations came to his lips.

It was a pretty arrangement. A detachment, coming along the trail behind the guides and bursting out into this clearing, with its lure of men recumbent upon the ground, of stacked arms, of vague forms at the windows, shadowed forth by the lamplight behind, would immediately charge in attempted surprise. Then from the brush to the right, the trench's enfilading murder—it was pretty indeed.

Again the Sergeant took in all the details, his head turning from point to point, from the hut to the trail, from the trail to the trench, then back again, assuring himself of the perfection of the plan. And Pedro looked at the Sergeant; as if hypnotised he stepped closer, in long, feline strides, coming suddenly at far intervals, his whole lithe body a-quiver. For there, in the eyes of the Sergeant, the caybigan, growing stronger, clearer, more certain every moment, there it shone, his Desire, the form and shape at last of his obscure torturing desire. It was that—that which shone in the eyes of the Sergeant as he contemplated the perfection of the plot—it was that he longed for, thirsted for, that which he must have himself, absolutely, to guard and treasure and cherish. It was there, the torturing want of his entrails, there, but not his, not his yet.

Back in his hut that night, after hours of obscure battling, he named it at last. "Magtaca," he said, with heavy finality; "magtaca—admiration."

And then instantly he leaped to the next step.

"For the enemy, magtaca; for the caybigan, alipusta."

He hissed out the last word like an expectoration.

Yes, that was it:—for the enemy, admiration; for him, the friend, the servitor, the caybigan, contempt.

Pedro slid down to the big net below. And long in the dim light of his little lamp he oiled and cleaned and polished and caressed.

 

III

A mysterious enemy began to vex the little detachment of San Juan with the puerile attacks.

Every night a Mauser bullet came wailing down the Lipa road and passed over the outpost with a resounding hiss. The first time this occurred, the lone sentinel, returning the fire, doubled back prudently upon the guard rushing out to his support. Tense in vigilance the little troops waited for the attack. But it did not come. At regular intervals a lone bullet screeched above their heads, and that was all. Finally they charged along the highway. A few more detached shots met them; then there was silence.

The following night the same thing took place—the wail of the lone bullet, the alarm, the pursuit—and nothing.

A new plan was tried. Four men were placed at the outpost with saddled horses within reach. At the humming approach of the first shot they leaped into their saddles and thundered down the highway; it stretched before them, moon-golden between the black thickets, and deserted. Returning they scouted the brush, the big horses crashing down the thick vegetation. But there was nothing.

A corps of native beaters was added the next night. They searched the bush thoroughly on both sides of the road. The shrill katydids dropped into silence; lizards, snakes, iguanas, loathsome beasts of obscurity rustled off in panic. But that was all.

Caybigan was called to the rescue. For two days he worked upon the inhabitants of the pueblo. But for once his wonderful faculty failed him; he found no trace of the secret enemy.

An ambush was prepared. Ten men at early dawn lay down in the bush near the spot from which it was calculated the bullets came. All day they lay there, low, without a whisper, without a movement. But when night came, it was the other outpost, at the opposite extremity of the pueblo, which was attacked.

After this last effort the thing was accepted as routine. There was a childishness, a puerility about it that made the men smile. They grew rather to like this little excitement, breaking the monotony of long vigils.

But gradually the affair grew more interesting. The man was learning to shoot. Each night the leaden missile screeched a little lower, a little closer. Finally, one night, the guard, when relieved, was found walking his post with his left arm limp along his side, neatly punctured by one of the mysterious bullets.

On the same morning, Blount, walking along the main street, was stopped by old Eustefania.

"Mi capitan," she said, cringing before him, "do you wish to know who shoots your soldiers at night?"

"Who?" asked the Sergeant curtly.

"Caybigan," she said.

From the depths of their caves her eyes glowed at him, fixed, violent.

And to the Sergeant the answer came as the revelation of something long and obscurely felt. Caybigan's absence from the night alarms, his singular failure to track down the sharpshooter, the ridiculous fiasco of the attempted ambuscade—a thousand and one little links suddenly clinked shut at the word in a chain of evidence, of certainty.

The Sergeant turned sharp on his heel; his spurs rang on the stone flagging. In the centre of the plaza Caybigan, in his graceful, elastic pose, half-confident, half-wild, was bandying with three of the blue-shirted soldiers. Blount made straight for the group. When near he began to run, his face convulsed with the rage, half real, half assumed, which experience had taught him invaluable for such moments. With a tiger leap he bore upon Pedro, clutched his throat with his great hands, and threw him to the ground.

Pedro went down without a quiver of resistance, and he lay there a white figure in the gray dust, his arms thrown out in a cross-like attitude of infinite surrender. His brown eyes looked up into the cold green light of the Sergeant's with golden luminosity; he smiled gently. "And this from my caybigan," he said.

"None of your Julius Cæsar on me," snarled the Sergeant, who had a vague acquaintance with the classics. "Your gun; where is it?"

"I have no gun, caybigan."

The Sergeant drew his revolver, and brutally he jammed the handle into the mouth of the prostrate man with a sharp twist that sent the pointed stock up against the palate, jerking the lower jaw down in distorted gap. "Water," he said shortly.

One of the men with whom Pedro had been talking brought a hollow bamboo full of water. Holding it above the prone figure he tilted it carefully. A silvery cascade poured down; it struck the distended nostrils in diamond rebound, streamed into the cavities at each side of the clamped revolver. Immediately Pedro was clutched by an agonising sensation of drowning. He gasped, gurgled; his knees, as if automatically, snapped up to his chin. And the water came down, calmly, steadily, in pretty silver flow, while he drowned, drowned, drowned.

"Wait a moment," said the Sergeant. The man with the tube gave it a slight tilt, the flow ceased. Slowly Pedro emerged from the torturing sensation; an immense weakness dissolved his bones; he trembled.

"Your gun," snarled the Sergeant, shaking him ragefully.

But Pedro, limp, eyes closed, waited for a little strength.

"Your gun," thundered the Sergeant.

And Pedro opened his eyes with a long sigh, like a very sleepy child. "I have no gun, caybigan," he said, very gently, very wearily.

They began again. The water slid down in silver prettiness, splashed upon the face in diamond drops; and Pedro drowned. And each time when they stopped, and he had regained strength, he smiled gently at his caybigan and said, "I have no gun, caybigan."

After a while fury rose like a red foam into the brains of these men, mad with ceaseless, ineffectual carnage, with bitter, unavailing toil, with the sense of their impotence in this eternal war against a vacuum. They threw themselves upon that limp, resistless body, shell of the impalpable soul unconquered within. They beat and kicked and choked.

But Pedro, very weak, very tired, very broken, still smiled gently and said, "I have no gun, caybigan."

Then from this orgy of violence Blount felt himself slowly emerge, white of face, cold in sweat, staggering as if drunk. He snapped up Pedro into his arms and laid him in the shade of a giant mango growing out of the ruins of a crumbled wall near by. An immense discouragement, a poignant disgust made him tremble as with bodily weariness. Down on one knee he bent over Pedro. Pedro felt the warm breath like a caress on his ear. "Caybigan," implored the Sergeant; "caybigan, amigo, friend, tell us, go on, tell us where you keep that gun, tell it to me, for me, for my sake."

Pedro opened his eyes, and they smiled, golden, at the Sergeant.

"I have——" he began.

"No, not that, not that," cried the Sergeant, in frenzied fear of hearing again that answer which maddened him, blurred his brain with red haze. "Tell me, come, tell me; whisper it, low, right there, in my ear; come, caybigan."

"If I tell you, then will we be friends?" asked Pedro wistfully.

"Caybigan," said the Sergeant, "we have worked together, eaten together, hunted together. We are friends. I don't want to hurt you, sure I don't. Tell me, tell me—and I'll love you like a son—like a little, foolish son," he added with sudden access of tenderness.

"Well," began Pedro; "the gun, it is——"

But his eyes, fixed upon the Sergeant, froze suddenly as if before an apparition. The Sergeant was smiling, smiling the smile of yore, the unconscious smile of contempt, fatal, invincible.

"Go on; go on!" whispered the Sergeant breathlessly.

"I have no gun, caybigan," said Pedro monotonously.

The Sergeant sprang to his feet, livid. "Come on, fellows!" he shouted; "we'll hang him!"

They got a rope, noosed it about Pedro's neck, threw the loose end over a projecting branch of the mango and, standing him upon a box, secured it.

In that position they left him for five minutes, to let Fear seep into his stubborn heart. Every minute, in cold, tense accents, the Sergeant asked, "Where is the gun?"

Pedro did not answer. He stood there, very still, calling to himself all the strength left in his miserable racked body, composing himself as for some great and splendid sacrament. Then, as for the fifth time the question was asked, his right arm shot up towards the mountains, dark in the distance.

"Malvar is over there with ten thousand men," he shouted with high, clear voice. "Viva Malvar; the Americans are sons of curs!"

Somebody kicked the box.

But as, the whole earth lurching beneath him, he plunged into the Infinite abyss, he took with him a wild, tumultuous, and exquisite joy. For at his last words of defiance, upon the face of his golden-haired caybigan he had seen—fluttering uncertain at first like the heralding colours of the dawn, then glowing clear, certain, resplendent—the expression he had caught at the lone cuartel in the bosque, the look of esteem, of admiration, full, unreserved, complete, for which he had thirsted so agonizingly, and which now at last had come to him, his beyond the power of Man to take away, at the paltry price of treachery and torture and death.