a convert's ardour, Capitan Carlos
hovers round his ancient home, knowing no second fane, and clinging to the saint whose name he bears.
To him, and to such rags and tatters of his tribe as yet remain alive, San Carlos
is a mighty chief, his porch an entrance to the land of souls.
This Indian patriarch claims to be a hundred and twenty-five years old. Such claims are not uncommon in this zone.
In every ranch you hear of centenarians, and in many convent registers you read of folk having lived to six-score years.
Such tales and records are not always false.
The air is mild, the eating good, the life unvexed.
No burning summers parch the skin, no freezing winters chill the blood.
From month to month the seasons come and go in one soft round of spring.
In winter it is May, in summer it is only June.
A native piques himself on length of days; a big chief wearing his crown of age like one of the big trees.
From his appearance, no one could pretend to guess the patriarch's age; for though his eye is quick, his scalp is bare and black, his cheeks are hollowed into cups, his skin hangs down his face in flaps.
Life seems to hold him only by a thread.