one of a pair of long straps used to control a horse
She raised up and passed the
reins over the horse’s head and put her foot in the stirrup and stood up into the saddle and turned the horse and rode down the bay and out the door.
moving quickly and lightly
Rawlins executed a
nimble ninestep stomp on the old board floor and stood grinning in the dust he’d raised.
make stronger or defensible
The old adobe hall was
buttressed along its outer walls with piers not all of which had been a part of its design and there were no windows and the walls were swagged and cracked.
burn slowly and without a flame
Along the foot of the stage were lights set in fruitcans among colored crepe that
smoldered throughout the night.
make a characteristic sound, of a horse
When he untied his horse the other two tossed their heads and
whinnied softly to go.
excuse or free from blame
Yet every mare could be pled for on the basis of what they came to call la unica cosa and that one thing—which could
absolve them of any but the grossest defect—was an interest in cattle.
produced or growing in extreme abundance
For he’d broken the more promising mares to ride and he’d take them upcountry through the cilnaga pasture where the cows and calves stood in the
lush grass along the edge of the marshlands and he would show them the cows and let them move among them.
low-lying wet land with grassy vegetation
For he’d broken the more promising mares to ride and he’d take them upcountry through the cilnaga pasture where the cows and calves stood in the lush grass along the edge of the marshlands and he would show them the cows and let them move among them.
coils of worsted yarn
Skeins of light off the water played upon the black hide of the horse.
He bent and made a stirrup of his laced fingers and she put her boot into his hands and he lifted her and she swung up onto the stallion’s back and looked down at him and then booted the horse forward and went
loping out up the track along the edge of the lake and was lost to view.
The Duen A Alfonsa was both grandaunt and godmother to the girl and her life at the hacienda invested it with oldworld ties and with
antiquity and tradition.
a fine coating of oxide on the surface of a metal
The most antique of the several oil portraits in the parlor with its dark
patina crazed like an old porcelain glazing was of her great-grandfather and dated from Toledo in seventeen ninety-seven.
break open or apart suddenly and forcefully
The right barrel
made to seem smaller or less, especially in worth
The polished wood of the table held a round shape of breath where they’d stood that
diminished from the edges in and vanished.
that which is perceived to have its own distinct existence
The names of the
entities that have power to constrain us change with time.
out of fashion
What Alejandra dismisses as a matter of mere appearance or
lacking orderly continuity
The wire that had burned out of the fenceposts lay in
garbled shapes about the ground and coils of it stood in the fire and coils of it pulsed red hot deep in the coals.
having a smooth, gleaming surface reflecting light
The horses had come in out of the darkness and stood at the edge of the firelight in the falling rain dark and
sleek with their red eyes burning in the night.
of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor
She looked up at him and her face was pale and
austere in the uplight and her eyes lost in their darkly shadowed hollows save only for the glint of them and he could see her throat move in the light and he saw in her face and in her figure something he’d not seen before and the name of that thing was sorrow.
elegant sitting room where guests are received
The hacendado folded shut the books and pushed back his chair and rose and he followed him out down the hall and through the
salon and through the library to the paneled double doors at the far end of the room.
marked by complexity and richness of detail
He pulled a tasseled chain and lit an
ornate tin chandelier suspended from the ceiling.
skillful in physical movements; especially of the hands
He broke the balls and they played straight pool and the hacendado beat him easily, walking about the table and chalking his cue with a
deft rotary motion and announcing the shots in Spanish.
shaped into alternating parallel grooves and ridges
They rode out through the north end of the town and they halted before an adobe building with a
corrugated tin roof and an empty mud bellcot above it.
relating to an elaborately ornamented style of art and music
An old seed-company calendar from Monterrey was nailed to the wall above them and in the corner stood an empty wire birdcage hung from a floorpedestal like some
having an oblique or slanting direction or position
John Grady looked at the little square of light in the door and at the
skew of it on the wall above the old man’s head where he sat.
hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough
They had about them a
perfunctory air, like men accustomed to caring for livestock.
the act of providing a means of subsistence or survival
He said there was no
sustenance in it for them.
heal or recover
They drove down the street past the last house and the last of the corrals and mud pens and crossed a shallow ford where the slow water shone like oil in its colors and
mended itself behind them before the run-off from the trucktires had even finished draining back.
undeveloped but potentially useful
An hour later they left the road altogether, the truck laboring over a dirt track across rolling fields, a great and
fallow baldfos such as was common to that country where feral cattle the color of candle-wax come up out of the arroyos to feed at night like alien principals.
wild and menacing
An hour later they left the road altogether, the truck laboring over a dirt track across rolling fields, a great and fallow baldfos such as was common to that country where
feral cattle the color of candle-wax come up out of the arroyos to feed at night like alien principals.
a pauper who lives by begging
The guard uncuffed their wrists and left them and they squatted and leaned against the wall with their blankets about their shoulders like
dangerous to health
A sense of some brooding and
malignant life slumbering in the darkened cages they passed.
one of two or more layers one atop another
Here and there along the
tiers of catwalks on the far side of the quadrangle a dull light shaped out the grating of the cells.
causing or able to cause nausea
They slept in iron bunks chained to the walls on thin trocheros or mattress pads that were greasy,
be noisy with activity
The prison was no more than a small walled village and within it occurred a constant
seethe of barter and exchange in everything from radios and blankets down to matches and buttons and shoenails and within this bartering ran a constant struggle for status and position.
favoring social equality
Underpinning all of it like the fiscal standard in commercial societies lay a bedrock of depravity and violence where in an
egalitarian absolute every man was judged by a single standard and that was his readiness to kill.
moving and bending with ease
He was a man about forty with graying hair and moustache,
lithe and trim.
cut off from a whole
The lowest cut was the deepest and it had
severed the outer fascia but it had not gone through into the stomach wall.
a clique that seeks power usually through intrigue
An older man from the state of Yucatin who was outside of the
factions but was treated with respect.
a careless leisurely gait
He moved across the courtyard at a studied
shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
If there was
guile there it was of no sort he could reckon with and he sat in the dirt and pulled off his left boot and reached down into it and took out the small damp sheaf of bills.
sharpen with a whetstone
He was standing on one foot with his leg crossed over his knee
honing the blade against the sole of his boot when he heard someone coming and he folded the knife and slid it into his pocket and turned and went out, passing two men who smirked at him on their way to the vile latrine.
He looked to be
adjuring him to read something writ there but there was nothing to see save the dents and dings occasioned by the ten thousand meals eaten off it.
hang loosely or laxly
John Grady dropped the knifehandle and pushed at the oiled head
lolling against his chest.
a sudden forceful flow
He half wondered if he were not dead and in his despair he felt well up in him a
surge of sorrow like a child beginning to cry but it brought with it such pain that he stopped it cold and began at once his new life and the living of it breath to breath.
tepid, only faintly effervescent, delicious.
giving off bubbles
It was tepid, only faintly
a substance that destroys harmful micro-organisms
He cleaned the sutured wounds with an
antiseptic and taped gauze pads over them and helped him to sit up.
a courteous expression of esteem or regard
The man stood at his bed and took off his hat as though in
deference to some wounded hero.
beyond or deviating from the usual or expected
When they carried him out of there I thought how
peculiar it would of seemed to him if he could of seen it.