Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Kate Leslie is the widow of an Irish patriot. Restless after her husband’s death, she moves to Mexico with Owen Rhys, her American cousin. Mexico, however, oppresses Kate. Dark and secretive, the arid land weighs upon her spirit like a sense of doom. She sees it as a country of poverty, brutality, and bloodshed.
Owen and one of his friends take her to a bullfight. It is a distressing experience, for to her the ritual of death is like modern Mexico, vulgar and cruel, without muster or passion. She is unable to endure the spectacle and the reek of warm blood and announces that she is returning alone to the hotel. A downpour of rain begins as she is leaving the arena, and she is forced to wait in the exit tunnel with a crowd whose speech and gestures fill her with alarm. She is rescued from her predicament by a small, authoritative man in uniform who introduces himself as General Cipriano Viedma. A Mexican Indian, he is impassive and withdrawn yet vitally alert. They talk while waiting for the automobile he had summoned to take Kate to her hotel, and she feels unaccountably drawn to him.
Mrs. Norris, the widow of a former English ambassador, invites Kate and Owen to her house for tea the next day. The general and his friend, Don Ramón Carrasco, are among the guests. Don Ramón is a landowner and a distinguished scholar. There are reports of a strange happening near his estate at Sayula. A naked man is supposed to have risen from the Lake of...
(The entire section is 1202 words.)
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