|Your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your
acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm,
as if they were irresistable. Finally, you fear blood more and
more. Blood and time. - Paul Valéry.
Epigram at beginning of novel.
|It is not thought that the life of darkness is sunk in misery
and lost as if in sorrowing. There is no sorrowing. For sorrow
is a thing that is swallowed up in death, and death and dying
are the very life of the darkness. - Jacob Boehme
Epigram at beginning of novel.
|See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged
linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire.
Opening lines of novel, Chapter 1, Page
|God made the world, but he didnt make it to suit everybody,
Old hermit to the kid, Chapter 2, Page
|A man's at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he
has to know it with.
Old hermit to the kid, Chapter 2, Page
|Distant thunderheads reared quivering against the electric
sky and were sucked away in the blackness again.
Chapter 2, Page 19.
|Five days later on the dead man's horse he followed the riders
and wagons through the plaza and out of the town on the road
The kid sets forth with the filibusters
towards Mexico, Opening lines of Chapter 4, Page 42.
|Already you could see through the dust on the ponies' hides
the painted chevrons and the hands and rising suns and birds
and fish of every device like the shade of old work through
sizing on a canvas and now too you could hear above the pounding
of the unshod hooves the piping of the quena, flutes made from
human bones, and some among the company had begun to saw back
on their mounts and some to mill in confusion when up from the
offside of those ponies there rose a fabled horde of mounted
lancers and archers bearing shields bedight with bits of broken
mirrorglass that cast a thousand unpieced suns against the eyes
of their enemies. A legion of horribles, hundreds in number,
half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed
out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery
and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior
owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry
jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and
one in white stockings and a bloodstained wedding-veil and some
in headgear of cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the
horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn
backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a spanish
conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with
the old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men
whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced
up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the
ground and their horses' ears and tails worked with bits of
brightly colored cloth and one whose horse's whole head was
painted crimson red and all the horsemen's faces gaudy and grotesque
with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hillarious,
all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them
like a horde from a hell more horrible yet that the brimstone
land of christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed
in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right
knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.
Attacked by the Comanches, Chapter 4, Page
|With darkness one soul rose wondrously from among the new
slain dead and stole away in the moonlight.
When the indians leave after massacring
the soldiers, the kid slips away on foot. Opening lines of Chapter
5, Page 55.
|When the lambs is lost in the mountain, he said. They is cry.
Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf.
Leader of group of horsemen to the kid
and Sproule, Chapter 5, Page 65.
|On to the edge of the city by the old stone aqueduct where
the governor gave them his blessing and drank their health and
their fortune in a simple ceremonial and they took the road
The kid, Toadvine and the Kentuckian ride
out with the Glanton Gang, Chapter 6, Page 80.
|Now a member of the company seated there seemed to weigh the
judge's words and some turned to look at the black. He stood
an uneasy honoree and at length he stepped back from the firelight
and the juggler rose and made a motion with the cards, sweeping
them in a fan before him and then proceeding along the perimeter
past the boots of the men with the cards outheld as if they
would find their own subject.
At the Glanton Gang camp, the juggler moves
on to the black Jackson to tell his fortune with the cards,
Chapter 7, Page 93.
|They paused without the cantina and pooled their coins and
Toadvine pushed aside the dried cowhide that hung for a door
and they entered a place where all was darkness and without
The kid, Toadvine and Bathcat to go a cantina,
Opening lines of Chapter 8, Page 100.
|The Americans might have traded for some of the meat but they
carried no tantamount goods and the disposition to exchange
was foreign to them. And so these parties divided upon that
midnight plain, each passing back the way the other had come,
pursuing as all travelers must inversions wiothout end upon
other men's journeys.
The Americans are not traders, but mercenaries
hired by the state to fight a genocidal war. Closing lines of
Chapter 9, Page 121.
|And the answer, said the judge. If God meant to interfere
in the degeneracy of mankind would he not have done so by now?
Wolves cull themselves, man. What other creature could? And
is the race of man not more predacious yet? The way of the world
is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men
there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the
onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement.
His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his
day. He loves games? Let him play for stakes. This you see here,
these ruins wondered at by tribes of savages, do you not think
that this will be again? Aye. And again. With other people,
with other sons.
The judge looked about him. He was sat before the fire naked
save for his breeches and his hands rested palm down upon his
knees. His eyes were empty slots. None among the company harbored
any notion as to what this attitude implied, yet so like an
icon was he in his sitting that they grew cautious and spoke
with circumspection among themselves as if they would not waken
something that had better been left sleeping.
Judge Holden argues that children should
be raised by subjecting them to historical law, Chapter 11,
|For the next two weeks they would ride by night, they would
make no fire. They had struck the shoes from their horses and
filled the nailholes in with clay and those who still had tobacco
used their pouches to spit in and they slept in caves and on
bare stone. They rode through the tracks of their dismounting
and they buried their stool like cats and they barely spoke
Chapter 12, Page 151.
|Notions of chance and fate are the preoccupation of men engaged
in rash undertakings.
Chapter 12, Page 153.
|The judge placed his hands on the ground. He looked
at his inquisitor. This is my claim, he said. And yet everywhere
upon it are pockets of autonomous life. Autonomous. In order
for it to be mine nothing must be permitted to occur upon it
save by my dispensation.
Toadvine sat with his boots crossed before the fire. No man
can acquaint himself with everything on this earth, he said.
The judge tilted his great head. The man who believes that the
secrets of this world are forever hidden lives in mystery and
fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the
deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of
singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the
decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only
by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the
terms of his own fate.
I'll see you around.
Judge Holden and Toadvine argue, the Judge
stating that things that exist without his knowledge do not
have his permission, Chapter 14, Page 199.
|It was a lone tree burning on the desert. A heraldic tree
that the passing storm had left afire.
Chapter 15, Page 215.
|He watched the fire and if he saw portents there it was much
the same to him He would live to look upon the western sea and
he was equal to whatever might follow for he was complete at
every hour. Whether his history should run concomitant with
men and nations, whether it should cease. He'd long forsworn
all weighing of consequence and allowing as he did that men's
destinies are ever given yet he usurped to contain within him
all that he would ever be in the world and all that the world
would be to him and be his charter written in the urstone itself
he claimed agency and said so and he'd drive the remorseless
sun on to its final endarkenment as if he'd ordered it all ages
since, before there were paths anywhere, before there were men
or suns to go upon them.
Chapter 17, Page 243.
|It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge.
War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was
always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate
trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it
was and will be....
War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of
the unity of existence. War is god.
Judge Holden, Chapter 17, Page 248.
|Men are born for games . . . Games of chance require awager
to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve theskill and
strength of the opponents and the humiliation ofdefeat and the
pride of victory are in themselves sufficientstake because they
inhere in the worth of the principals anddefine them. But trial
of chance or trial of worth all gamesaspire to the condition
of war for here that which is wageredswallows up game, player,
Judge Holden, Chapter 17, Page 249.
Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement
of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts
it at every turn.
Judge Holden tells this to Glanton's
men, Chapter 17, Page 250.
|When they entered Glanton's chamber he lurched upright and
glared wildly about him. The small clay room he occupied was
entirely filled with a brass bed he'd appropriated from some
migrating family and he sat in it like a debauched feudal baron
while his weapons hung in a rich array from the finials. Caballo
en Pelo mounted into the actual bed with him and stood there
while one of the attending tribunal handed him at his right
side a common axe the hickory helve of which was carved with
pagan motifs and tasseled with the feathers of predatory birds.
Hack away you mean red nigger, he said, and the old man raised
the axe and split the head of John Joel Glanton to the thrapple.
Yuma chief kills John Joe Glanton in his
bedroom, Chapter 19, Page 275.
|Toadvine and the kid fought a running engagement upriver through
the shore bracken with arrows clattering through the cane all
Opening lines of Chapter 20, Page 277.
|The kid rose and looked about at this desolate scene and then
he saw alone and upright in a small niche in the rocks an old
woman kneeling in faded rebozo with eyes cast down
He made his way among thge corpses and stood before her ...
She did not look up ... He spoke to her in a low voice. He told
her that he was an American and that he was a long way from
the country of his birth and that he had no family and that
he had traveled much and seen many things and had been at war
and endured hardships. He told her that he would convey her
to a safe place, some party of her countrypeople who would welcome
her and that she should join them for he could not leave her
in the place or she would surely die.
He knelt on one knee, resting the rifle before him like a staff.
Abuelita, he said. No puedes eschucharme? (Little grandmother,
can you not hear me?)
He reached into the little cove and touched her arm. She moved
slightly, her whole body, light and rigid. She weighed nothing.
She was just a dried shell, and she had been dead in that place
The kid's encounter with the penitants
he finds butchered in a canyon and his attempts to speak with
one of them, Chapter 22, Page 315.
|In that sleep and in sleeps to follow the judge did visit.
Who would come other? A great shambling mutant, silent and serene.
Whatever his antecedents, he was something wholly other than
their sum, nor was there system by which to divide him back
into his origins for he would not go. Whoever would seek out
his history through what unraveling of loins and ledgerbooks
must stand at last darkened and dumb at the shore of a void
without terminus or origin and whatever science he might bring
to bear upon the dusty primal matter blowing down out of the
millennia will discover no trace of ultimate atavistic egg by
which to reckon his commencing.
Chapter 23, Page 309.
|The judge was seated upon the closet. He was naked and rose
up smiling and gathered him in his arms against his immense
and terrible flesh and shot the wooden barlatch home behind
Chapter 23, Page 333.