THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ

 

BOOK SIX:  THE FIRST of the BOOKS of CHANGE

 

CHAPTER FORTY ONE

 

          Two days later, Ignacio Bravo entered Akbal alone on horseback, encountering a somewhat surprised but worried Major Macias who, since the destruction of the telegraph at Santa Cruz, earlier in the week, had fretted over the future of Quintana Roo. He knew of Rivera's coming and of Bravo's intent to oppose this General, but it was Boleaga who had been given the instructions he was to pass on to José to arrange for one of the smugglers of the Captain's acquaintance to have Bravo, Boleaga, El Chacol and the money carried over the sea to a safe Caribbean port, where they could wait out the rest of the Madero presidency... which certainly would be as short a thing as was the man himself.

          "Truly no sign of my Corporal?" Bravo asked for what seemed the twentieth time in the space of two hours since his arrival and not a week since Manuel Rivera's entry into Santa Cruz.

          José shook his head. "So," Bravo said, "I am not only a General without a command, I am a pauper, too, until I find the Jackal in Veracruz. He has certificates which can be redeemed for millions of pesos in the German, American and British banks, which I will deliver to Felix Diaz. With these funds, we'll have Mexico City at our feet by Christmas. If he is successful," the General added, warily... "I would have no cause for alarm were his uncle involved, but I do not think that don Porfirio will ever return. So if we fail, I die a pauper."

          "It's happened to the best of us," José replied. "All over Mexico, proud men have had their lands confiscated or sold to the foreign banks in anticipation of their loss. Nothing has come of this revolution, except that some who were rich are poor, now, and others of the rich are richer still. Under Diaz we had peace... thirty four years of it."

          "Yes and, in Santa Cruz, twelve years. Peace which will not long endure for Rivera's a fool, a fool with good intentions... which is that most dangerous of men. He will have the indians believe they can be rich, too, and their leaders shall not be able to prevent them from turning upon Mexico and upon each other. Finally the army, too, will turn upon itself. God may have cause to fault this arrangement I made but no Mexican, whether white, ladino nor indian, may do the same unless he is prepared to better it. Some other may do this, but it will not be Manuel Rivera, nor Madero, nor is it likely one I shall survive to see."

          "Nonsense. You will return to the capital a hero. Madero would not dare charge the hero of Quintana Roo on the word of Manuel Rivera. Besides, he is not long for this world, nor for his office. Don't you sense it, too? There's an Englishman with a boat who's been hanging around Vigia Chico, he'll take us to Jamaica. From there, it will be only a matter of weeks before Felix Diaz begins his revolt. Huerta won't fire on him and Madero has no other Generals... only his clerks in uniform, like Beltran, Garibaldi, men like that. We'll enter Mexico City behind don Felix."

          "I suppose. Who else would have us... Villa? Zapata?"

          "Villa's with Huerta now, though I hear that it isn't working out well between them. Zapata... at least he's a man."

          "So you think that you still might become a revolutionary, eh?" Bravo asked with a smile.

          The Major shrugged. "If it were to aid the cause of Yucatan's independence, why not? All that I know is that I must follow the trail of steel and blood... the smell of gunpowder and horse, even this abominable coffee. Do you remember there was an old man, I've forgotten his name, who boiled coffee in his hat?"

          "Why yes," Bravo remembered, "and also his beans and fish, anything he could catch."

          "In a free, independent Yucatan, miserable bankers would think twice about calling in those notes they hold on my father's estanción. I'm no farmer but, at Idznacab, I could raise children of my own." If he noticed Bravo's starting at the mention of children, he did not show it. "Well, we had better be going."

 

 

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