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Contemplating the nodding forms of their comrades, they now let out the discouraging fact that these tame Indians, madly afraid of their wild brothers the Chunchos, had been fortifying themselves steadily with brandy and chicha all the way from Marcapata.

He carried, besides the fearful blunder-buss of the night before, a belt full of pistols and hatchets. A short infantry-sword was banging away at his calves, and two long ox-horns rattled at his waist. The interpreters had been partaking of a little complimentary breakfast with the muleteers in whose care the animals had gone off to Marcapata.

Colonel Perez, who never lost occasion to give a sly stab to the mozo, asked, as he peeled a banana, if he was duly authorized to dispose so readily of the property of his uncle: the youth, without losing a particle of his magnificent adolescent courtesy, replied that as nephew and direct heir of the governor of Marcapata it was a right which he exercised in anticipation of inheritance; and that just as Pepe Garcia, the interpreter-in-chief, had regaled the party in his residence, he, Juan of Aragon, proposed to do in the family grange of Sausipata.

I should have gone to meet them at Marcapata, but my uncle the gobernador forbade me to do so for fear of displeasing the priest. Gentlemen, I am Juan the nephew of Aragon. It is by the advice of my uncle that I have come to place myself in your way, and ask if you will admit me to your company as mozo-assistant and interpreter."

Two months after the priest of Marcapata had dismissed with his benediction the party of confident and enthusiastic explorers, he received again his strayed flock, but this time in rags, armed with ammunitionless guns and one poor knife, wasted by hunger, baked by the sun, and tattooed like Polynesians by the briers and insects. The good man could not repress a tear.

Marcoy proposed therefore to continue the march without them, but to set down a heavy account of bastinadoes to their credit when they should turn up again at Marcapata.

On the mountain-flanks, as the last landmark of Christian civilization, nestled the village of Marcapata, whose square, thatched belfry faded gradually from sight, reminding the travelers of the ghostly ministrations of the padre and the secular protection of the gobernador. Neither priest nor edile would they encounter until their return to the same church-tower.

The interpreter was away, Juan of Aragon was away, the muleteers had returned, according to instructions received over-night, to Marcapata with the animals, and the peons were found dead-drunk behind the mud wall of the last house in the village.

The priest, who had recommended Pepe Garcia, had made mention of that person's fine voice, with which the church of Marcapata was edified every Sunday. The gobernador, while putting in a word for his nephew, and particularizing the beauty of his execution on the guitar, had insinuated doubts of the baritone favored by the padre.

Often a peon would appear in the market-place of Marcapata wrapped merely in a banana leaf, which, cracking in the sun, reduced all pretence of decent covering to an irony.