Albert Blair

From the New Edition of In the Shadow of the Angel:

The American engineer, Albert Blair, was stocky, blond and loquacious.  He was filled with wonder at Mexico…

Blair (center) joins a victorious revolutionary procession in Mexico City

His picture of a Mexican as a brown-skinned fellow with a sombrero sleeping beside a cactus plant had been dissolved on this trip…

A blast of warm air blew up the aisle of the coach car as the conductor stuck his head in and shouted, “San Antonio.  San Antonio!”

Albert checked his watch: 7:30 a.m.  He cleared a patch of dust from the window and looked down the platform as the train pulled into the station.  Julio!  Albert grabbed his valise and hat and jumped off before the train had come to a full stop.  The old roommates met halfway and pounded each other on the back.  Albert felt new, hard muscle in the backslap, and Texas boots made Julio look taller.

“You came.  Thanks, Julio.  Where’s Raúl?”

“Down the line, fighting with Villa.”

“Pancho Villa?”

“Of course.”

“I bought ‘The Examiner’ in Los Angeles, and it said Francisco was wounded in a place called Casas Grandes, and that he had shown real leadership and courage in battle, went right on fighting.  What have you heard?  Is he all right?”

“Almost recovered.  We got word by courier last night.  Villa’s giving them hell now.”  Julio pointed to the valise.  “Is that all you brought?”

“I figured all I’d need is some drawers and a couple of shirts.  Why aren’t you in uniform?”

“We don’t wear them in San Antonio.  This is the United States, you know.”

“I thought it was a rose plucked from your family’s back yard,” Albert teased and picked up his valise.  Well, do I report to headquarters or go direct to training camp?  Look here, Julio, I’ve got to tell you the truth.  I’ve never fired a gun,” he said sheepishly.

Julio laughed.  “In this man’s army, uniforms and bullets are expensive.  If you want a little target practice, you do it on your own, out of town behind some mesquite tree where the police won’t hear you.  Come on, we can talk at the hotel.”

To know the full story of Albert Blair’s participation in the 1910 revolution and his doomed romance with Antonieta, get the book here.