Blood Meridian, Chapter Fourteen: “Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.”

quicksilver burrosINTRODUCTION

There are three major events in this chapter: (1) the group’s visit to the small stone town of Jesús María; (2) the group’s visit to Ures, the capital of the state of Sonora (curious, I looked on a map, and Jesús María is about 1570 kilometers, or (by my rough guesstimation) approximately 981 miles away, through hard, mountainous territory); and (3) a really, really bad day to be a mule or a muleteer in between.  At the end of Chapter 13, Glanton’s gang has killed and scalped Mexican soldiers, burned their uniforms, buried their bodies, and turned the scalps in for bounty.  There is a very vivid image of the group re-entering the city “haggard and filthy and reeking with the blood of the citizenry for whose protection they had contracted.” (p. 185).  Perhaps not surprisingly, they leave the City of Chihuahua in somewhat of a hurry, going north as if headed for El Paso.  But before they are even out of sight, they turn west “toward the red demise of that day.” (Id.).  There are repeated inferences that the group is “cursed.”  Cursed or no, they are certainly a curse to everyone they encounter.

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Blood Meridian, Chapter Nine: “[I]nversions without end upon other men’s journeys.”

As suspected, there is another indian attack, mercifully less gratuitous.  It never gets hand-to-hand; they just take shots at each other from some distance, and the indians move on.  Toadvine hits one of them though, and they come upon him dead.  The Judge seems particularly interested in some of the items the Apache is carrying, a tigre-skin warbag (especially the “inward part of some beast” inside the bag, which he pockets), and a small skin bag the indian was carrying inside his drawers (which the Judge also keeps; the bag, not the drawers).  Are these relics of spiritual power?  Magic?  Voodoo?  Some other mystery? Continue reading