You, spirit of the earth, seem close to mine:
I look and feel my powers growing,
As
if I'd drunk new wine I'm glowing,
I feel sudden courage, and should dare
To plunge into the world, to
bear
All earthly grief, all earthly joy - compare
With gales my strength, face shipwreck without care.
- Goethe, Faust, part
II
ONE
NIGHT
in the warm spring of
1917,
Rosalie Evans fell asleep on
the porch of her San Antonio home and had a dream unlike any she
had known. She saw herself lying still and chatting idly with her
husband Harry, "saying things I would say." Toward dawn, she awoke to find
the moon shining bright and full upon her, the spot on the bed where Harry had
been vacant but still warm. "Something left it as I waked," she wrote excitedly to
her sister. "A palpable form moved slowly off. I knew I could have held it but did
not. I was too surprised?' The spirit faded into the moonlight.2
The dream was extraordinary, for at that time Harry Evans was some
800
miles away, in the heart of war-tom Mexico. His objective was simple yet peril-
ous: to snatch valuable farmland - a hacienda known as San Pedro Coxtocan-
from the jaws of revolution.
The revolution had erupted in
1910
with an ugly political upheaval that had
escalated and deepened steadily, plunging the Mexican countryside into pro-
longed and desperate violence. The Evanses had been forced to abandon their
hacienda that year and spent the next several years in the relative safety of the
large cities or in exile in Europe and the United States. Their hacienda, along
with the neighboring haciendas, had been invaded and parceled out by local
villagers led by a one-armed peasant general named Domingo Arenas.
By the start of
1917,
however, there were some encouraging signs. Mexico at
last had a government to reckon with, one that had written a new constitution
and appeared well on its way to dominating all rival factions. Landowners of the
Evanses' region - the Puebla-Tlaxcala Valley of central Mexico - had begun
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