I witnessed his execution, and what follows is an account of the way
he went to his death.
The young man's friends could not be present,
for it was impossible for them to show themselves in that crowd and
that place with wisdom or without distress, and I like to think that,
although Rodriguez could not know it, there was one person present
when he died who felt keenly for him, and who was a sympathetic
though unwilling spectator.
There had been a full moon the night preceding the execution, and
when the squad of soldiers marched from town it was still shining
brightly through the mists. It lighted a plain two miles in extent,
broken by ridges and gullies and covered with thick, high grass, and
with bunches of cactus and palmetto. In the hollow of the ridges the
mist lay like broad lakes of water, and on one side of the plain
stood the walls of the old town. On the other rose hills covered
with royal palms that showed white in the moonlight, like hundreds of
marble columns. A line of tiny camp-fires that the sentries had
built during the night stretched between the forts at regular
intervals and burned clearly.
But as the light grew stronger and the moonlight faded these were
stamped out, and when the soldiers came in force the moon was a white
ball in the sky, without radiance, the fires had sunk to ashes, and
the sun had not yet risen.
Enter page number
Page 2 of 202
Words from 289 to 549