on the French Atlantic lines for making an artificial horizon

time:2023-12-02 01:14:15 source:Accumulated network author:news

Late in the afternoon old Nuflo returned, but did not say where he had been; and shortly afterwards Rima reappeared, demure as usual, in her faded cotton dress, her cloud of hair confined in two long plaits. My curiosity was more excited than ever, and I resolved to get to the bottom of the mystery of her life. The girl had not shown herself responsive, but now that Nuflo was back I was treated to as much talk as I cared to hear. He talked of many things, only omitting those which I desired to hear about; but his pet subject appeared to be the divine government of the world--"God's politics"--and its manifest imperfections, or, in other words, the manifold abuses which from time to time had been allowed to creep into it. The old man was pious, but like many of his class in my country, he permitted himself to indulge in very free criticisms of the powers above, from the King of Heaven down to the smallest saint whose name figures in the calendar.

on the French Atlantic lines for making an artificial horizon

"These things, senor," he said, "are not properly managed. Consider my position. Here am I compelled for my sins to inhabit this wilderness with my poor granddaughter--"

on the French Atlantic lines for making an artificial horizon

"She is not your granddaughter!" I suddenly interrupted, thinking to surprise him into an admission.

on the French Atlantic lines for making an artificial horizon

But he took his time to answer. "Senor, we are never sure of anything in this world. Not absolutely sure. Thus, it may come to pass that you will one day marry, and that your wife will in due time present you with a son--one that will inherit your fortune and transmit your name to posterity. And yet, sir, in this world, you will never know to a certainty that he is your son."

"Proceed with what you were saying," I returned, with some dignity.

"Here we are," he continued, "compelled to inhabit this land and do not meet with proper protection from the infidel. Now, sir, this is a crying evil, and it is only becoming in one who has the true faith, and is a loyal subject of the All-Powerful, to point out with due humility that He is growing very remiss in His affairs, and is losing a good deal of His prestige. And what, senor, is at the bottom of it? Favoritism. We know that the Supreme cannot Himself be everywhere, attending to each little trick-track that arises in the world--matters altogether beneath His notice; and that He must, like the President of Venezuela or the Emperor of Brazil, appoint men--angels if you like--to conduct His affairs and watch over each district. And it is manifest that for this country of Guayana the proper person has not been appointed. Every evil is done and there is no remedy, and the Christian has no more consideration shown him than the infidel. Now, senor, in a town near the Orinoco I once saw on a church the archangel Michael, made of stone, and twice as tall as a man, with one foot on a monster shaped like a cayman, but with bat's wings, and a head and neck like a serpent. Into this monster he was thrusting his spear. That is the kind of person that should be sent to rule these latitudes--a person of firmness and resolution, with strength in his wrist. And yet it is probable that this very man- -this St. Michael--is hanging about the palace, twirling his thumbs, waiting for an appointment, while other weaker men, and--Heaven forgive me for saying it--not above a bribe, perhaps, are sent out to rule over this province."

On this string he would harp by the hour; it was a lofty subject on which he had pondered much in his solitary life, and he was glad of an opportunity of ventilating his grievance and expounding his views. At first it was a pure pleasure to hear Spanish again, and the old man, albeit ignorant of letters, spoke well; but this, I may say, is a common thing in our country, where the peasant's quickness of intelligence and poetic feeling often compensate for want of instruction. His views also amused me, although they were not novel. But after a while I grew tired of listening, yet I listened still, agreeing with him, and leading him on to let him have his fill of talk, always hoping that he would come at last to speak of personal matters and give me an account of his history and of Rima's origin. But the hope proved vain; not a word to enlighten me would he drop, however cunningly I tempted him.

"So be it," thought I; "but if you are cunning, old man, I shall be cunning too--and patient; for all things come to him who waits."


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