Maria Teresa writes,
"I asked Minerva why she was doing such a dangerous thing. And then, she said the strangest thing. She wanted me to grow up in a free country.
"'And it isn't that already?' I asked. My chest was getting all tight. I felt one of my asthma attacks coming on.
"Minerva didn't answer me. I supposed she could see that I was already upset enough. She took both my hands in hers as if we were getting ready to jump together into a deep spot in the lagoon of Ojo de Agua. 'Breathe slowly and deeply,' she intoned, 'slowly and deeply.'
"I pictured myself on a hot day falling, slowly and deeply, into those cold layers of water. I held on tight to my sister's hands, no longer afraid of anything but that she might let go".
The account from which the above quote is taken is in Maria Teresa's diary entry on Sunday, February 24 in Chapter 3. The girls are at boarding school, and Maria Teresa is only ten years old. Minerva, who is nine years older than her little sister, is already getting involved in the Revolutionary movement with some of the other students at Inmaculada Concepcion. She has been attending secret meetings at the home of Don Horacio, an old man "who is in trouble with the police because he won't do things he's supposed to, like hang a picture of (the) president in his house". Maria Teresa learns of her older sister's activities, and asks her why she would do such a thing, triggering the conversation recounted above.
Through the influence of Minerva, Maria Teresa begins to look at things differently than she had before. She begins to question and doubt what she has been taught about the president and government of her homeland, paving the way for her own foray into the ranks of the revolutionaries (Chapter 3).