The Plumed Serpent [NOOK Book]


It was the Sunday after Easter, and the last bull-fight of the
season in Mexico City. Four special...
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The Plumed Serpent

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It was the Sunday after Easter, and the last bull-fight of the
season in Mexico City. Four special bulls had been brought over
from Spain for the occasion, since Spanish bulls are more fiery
than Mexican. Perhaps it is the altitude, perhaps just the spirit
of the western Continent which is to blame for the lack of 'pep',
as Owen put it, in the native animal.

Although Owen, who was a great socialist, disapproved of bull-
fights, 'We have never seen one. We shall have to go,' he said.

'Oh yes, I think we must see it,' said Kate.

'And it's our last chance,' said Owen.

Away he rushed to the place where they sold tickets, to book seats,
and Kate went with him. As she came into the street, her heart
sank. It was as if some little person inside her were sulking and
resisting. Neither she nor Owen spoke much Spanish, there was a
fluster at the ticket place, and an unpleasant individual came
forward to talk American for them.

It was obvious they ought to buy tickets for the 'Shade.' But they
wanted to economize, and Owen said he preferred to sit among the
crowd, therefore, against the resistance of the ticket man and the
onlookers, they bought reserved seats in the 'Sun.'

The show was on Sunday afternoon. All the tram-cars and the
frightful little Ford omnibuses called camions were labelled
Torero, and were surging away towards Chapultepec. Kate felt that
sudden dark feeling, that she didn't want to go.

'I'm not very keen on going,' she said to Owen.

'Oh, but why not? I don't believe in them on principle, but we've
never seen one, so we shall HAVE to go.'

Owen was an American, Kate was Irish. 'Never having seen one'
meant 'having to go.' But it was American logic rather than Irish,
and Kate only let herself be overcome.

Villiers of course was keen. But then he too was American, and he
too had never seen one, and being younger, more than anybody he HAD
to go.

They got into a Ford taxi and went. The busted car careered away
down the wide dismal street of asphalt and stone and Sunday
dreariness. Stone buildings in Mexico have a peculiar hard, dry

The taxi drew up in a side street under the big iron scaffolding of
the stadium. In the gutters, rather lousy men were selling pulque
and sweets, cakes, fruit, and greasy food. Crazy motorcars rushed
up and hobbled away. Little soldiers in washed-out cotton
uniforms, pinky drab, hung around an entrance. Above all loomed
the network iron frame of the huge, ugly stadium.

Kate felt she was going to prison. But Owen excitedly surged to
the entrance that corresponded to his ticket. In the depths of
him, he too didn't want to go. But he was a born American, and if
anything was on show, he had to see it. That was 'Life.'

The man who took the tickets at the entrance, suddenly, as they
were passing in, stood in front of Owen, put both his hands on
Owen's chest, and pawed down the front of Owen's body. Owen
started, bridled, transfixed for a moment. The fellow stood aside.
Kate remained petrified.

Then Owen jerked into a smiling composure as the man waved them on.
'Feeling for fire-arms!' he said, rolling his eyes with pleased
excitement at Kate.

But she had not got over the shock of horror, fearing the fellow
might paw her.

They emerged out of a tunnel in the hollow of the concrete-and-iron
amphitheatre. A real gutter-lout came to look at their counterslips,
to see which seats they had booked. He jerked his head downwards,
and slouched off. Now Kate knew she was in a trap--a big concrete
beetle trap.

They dropped down the concrete steps till they were only three
tiers from the bottom. That was their row. They were to sit on
the concrete, with a loop of thick iron between each numbered seat.
This was a reserved place in the 'Sun.'

Kate sat gingerly between her two iron loops, and looked vaguely

'I think it's thrilling!' she said.

Like most modern people, she had a will-to-happiness.

'Isn't it thrilling?' cried Owen, whose will-to-happiness was
almost a mania. 'Don't you think so, Bud?'

'Why, yes, I think it may be,' said Villiers, non-committal.

But then Villiers was young, he was only over twenty, while Owen
was over forty. The younger generation calculates its 'happiness'
in a more business-like fashion. Villiers was out after a thrill,
but he wasn't going to say he'd got one till he'd got it. Kate and
Owen--Kate was also nearly forty--must enthuse a thrill, out of a
sort of politeness to the great Show-man, Providence.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013693227
  • Publisher: WDS Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/20/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,292,567
  • File size: 435 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2001

    For All Revolutionaries and Dreamers in the World

    The Plumed Serpent is a novel about an expatriate Irish woman named Kate, who travels to Mexico in order to escape the pain of losing her husband and the confusion of western culture, which spiritually lost because of industry, politics, corrupt religion,and lack of identity. Kate becomes the observer of a culture that has retained its pagan mystery and savegery despite centuries of colonial conquest. On the shores of a lake sacred to Quetzocoatel she meets a the revolutionary named Ramon and his general Don Cipriano. These individuals revitilize the old gods of Mexico and government in a social and spiritual revolution that awakens the dying soul of an oppressed people. Lawrence almost creates a religon in itself by explaining a relationship between men and women that makes them godlike heirs to the philosophical dualisms of the cosmos in the presence of dark, mysterious creator. Amid songs that rouse the new order, man and woman discover that individual deity comes from a union of spiritual and sexual equality. The book may be criticised as a perceived threat to feminism, modern racial concepts and religon, but it is more a peeling away of culture to its innocence- a retroversion to the ethos of reconciled origins and Edenic harmony before the fall. The novel itself is broad and sweeping as the language purges and pulses with a wildness that gives form to the exotic landscape. This is a novel that is physically felt, a masterpiece that threatens and overwhelms the reader with identity, mysticism and the elusive dream for a mortal and immortal destiny. From descriptions of 'the dark races', the Indian natives who possess both an energy that is drawn from the earth and a destrutiveness that comes from lost purpose, to dances around fires and drums, bright sunlight,and a sacred lake, The Plumed Serpent is a celebration of primal truths in a world lacking a unifying mythos.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 27, 2012

    It might be a great novel, but the format in which it's offered

    It might be a great novel, but the format in which it's offered makes it almost impossible to read. It looks like it was typed on somebody's old manual typewriter with a worn-out ribbon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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