Read Mexico for Free Online

Book: Read Mexico for Free Online
Authors: James A. Michener
Tags: Bestseller
photograph you in your triumph."
    Always alert to the value of publicity, he called: "Father!
    Chucho! Diego! Over here to assist Don Norman," and with a practiced eye he directed his father, white-haired Veneno, to stand to his left, his brother Chucho slightly to the right, and handsome Diego on a somewhat lower level in front between him and his father. It was a more effective tableau than I could have arranged, and the four men kept their poses, even improving on them as I finished a roll of film with my high-speed camera.
    At the conclusion I yelled: "Hey, Chucho! Make like you're emptying the car."
    Obediently Chucho took the keys from the driver and whipped open the trunk. The other three came around him and I got a fine shot of the men and the car. Then I shouted, "Chucho, we need a little action. Can you be handing him something?"
    Immediately Chucho grabbed a bag and started to hand it to Victoriano, but the matador, obviously the star of the troupe, had had enough. Turning suddenly on his heel, he strode toward me, his lithe body almost snakelike in its grace. Grabbing me by the shoulder, he said, 'Take no more pictures, Clay! It's pointless. I'm not going to have a disaster in Toledo!"
    "Victoriano!" shouted the white-haired old man, leaping around the car to grab the younger man, and hissed: "Son, never rough up a newspaperman!"
    Victoriano repeated: "No more pictures. He's a ghoul, hoping I'll be gored so the pictures will make his story more interesting."
    A crowd had gathered, captivated by the excitement of the scene. A husky young workman shouted, "By God, it's Victoriano!" And instantly this fellow had the young man on his shoulders. Immediately others rushed forward to support the figure thus held aloft, and I returned to my camera, but before I could snap the shutter, the crowd had moved across the road and onto the terrace of the hotel.
    "Victoriano!" I shouted.
    He turned and smiled professionally, knowing that this would be a favorite shot. His two young companions, always mindful that effective photography can make a matador, moved in quickly and took their places by the husky young workman who carried him, and the white-haired old man assumed a pose that showed his craggy profile.
    They formed a magnificent pyramid there in the dusk, the godlike young matador, his two rugged assistants and their white-haired father resembling a centaur with a wreath of flowers about his head. I knew I had an extraordinary shot, and so did Victoriano, who twisted his head so that I could catch a more favorable profile.
    "Two more!" I pleaded, and the onlookers elbowed in, hoping that I would take their picture as they mingled with the four Leals.
    When I finished, the man carrying Victoriano set him carefully down on the steps of the hotel, and the crowd swirled into the hotel. I rewound my film and reloaded my camera. The first of the duelists had arrived, the delicate fencer, but the rowdy swordsman who thrashed about with his saber was still to come. And from his plinth, the little Indian who had started it all, Ixmiq of thirteen hundred years ago, gazed down approvingly.

    Chapter 2.
    VICTORIANO LEAL, SLIM-HIPPED and twenty-seven, was considered by many the best matador in Mexico and possibly the world. He was handsome, graceful and a joy to the eye as he led the bull past his chest, and I had come to Mexico to see him duel a stubborn, awkward little Indian, perhaps to the death.
    In this contest, which would be taking place in my hometown, I could not be neutral. Victoriano I had known for some years, Gomez I had only spoken to, and that briefly. But each had made himself into a serious matador, worthy of respect and the attention my magazine was willing to focus on them.
    I had abandoned Toledo in my voluntary exile long before Victoriano burst onto the taurine scene, but I'd heard rumors of his successes in Mexico so that when I was sent to Spain to write an in-depth article about who might succeed

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