About three in the afternoon, a horseman, dressed in the Mexican costume, was galloping along the banks of a stream, an affluent of the Gila, whose capricious windings compelled him to make countless detours. This man, while constantly keeping his hand on his weapons, and watching for every event, urged his horse on by shouts and spur, as if anxious to reach his journey's end.
The wind blew fiercely, the heat was oppressive, the grasshoppers uttered their discordant cries under the herbage that sheltered them; the birds slowly described wide circles in the air, uttering shrill notes at intervals: coppery clouds were incessantly passing athwart the sun, whose pale, sickly beams possessed no strength; in short, all presaged a terrible storm.
The traveller seemed to notice nought of this; bowed over his horse's neck, with his eyes fixed ahead, he increased his speed, without noticing the heavy drops of rain that already fell, and the hoarse rolling of distant thunder which began to be heard.
Still this man, had he wished it, could easily have sheltered himself under the thick shade of the aged trees in the virgin forest which he had been skirting for more than an hour, and thus let the heaviest part of the storm pass; but a weightier interest, doubtless, urged him on, for, while increasing his speed, he did not think of drawing his zarapé over his shoulders to protect him from the rain, but contented himself, as each gust of wind howled past him, with drawing his hat a little tighter on his head, while repeating to his horse, in a sharp tone:
In the meanwhile, the stream, whose banks the traveller was following, grew gradually narrower, and at a certain spot the bank was completely obstructed by an undergrowth of shrubs and interlaced creepers, which completely prevented any approach. On reaching this point the traveller stopped; he dismounted, carefully inspected the vicinity, took his horse by the bridle, and led it into a copse, where he concealed it; attaching it with his lasso to the trunk of a large tree, after removing the bozal to let it browse at liberty.